“Leonard Cohen had a small meltdown onstage at the end of his 1972 world tour. Facing the audience at Yad Eliahu Sports Palace in Jerusalem, he only managed to sing the first three words of “Bird on a Wire,” falling silent when the crowd began to applaud.
‘I really, I really enjoy your recognizing the song, but… I’m scared enough as it is up here, and I think something’s wrong every time you begin to applaud. So if you do recognize the song, would you just wave your hand? I would really like to see you all waving your hands if you recognize the song.
I hope you’ll bear with me. These songs are kind of, uh—they become meditations for me, and sometimes, you know, I just don’t get high on it, and I feel that I’m cheating you, so I’ll try it again, okay? And if it doesn’t work, I’ll stop in the middle. There’s no reason why we should mutilate a song just to save face, but here it goes.'”