Four and a half thousand people in Brighton Centre were thinking it. So too was Leonard Cohen. His first words, after skipping on stage as spritely as a man half his age could hope to do, confirmed it.

“I don't know when we'll be back, but tonight we'll give you everything we’ve got.”

The fallacy is that the ticket price is inflated because, well, you never know. Will that rich baritone voice ever rumble across stages in England again? And, whisper it, how long has he got?

The real reason for the expense, £80 a head, is that Cohen employs the best. The technicians are conservatoire-trained virtuosos, professors of music, band leaders in their own right. The gasp when drummer Rafael Gayol dropped a stick during a solo let slip how things roll.

Cohen’s lyrics sing even before they are put to music; with his band they are transformed. So good do the tracks sound live, so unified, the recordings feel locked in time.

Then there is the spidery Canadian, yesterday peering out from beneath trademark trilby, with black suit, grey shirt, two strings of a bola tie tucked under a fitted jacket.

He has that rare ability to sing – and talk – making people feel as if he’s addressing only them.

And, after more than three hours picking randomly from the back catalogue, turning the stage into a jazz club, upping the tempo in front of a blood red curtain with Javier Mas’s Spanish guitar, slowing down for a poignant Bird On A Wire delivered on his knees - “I’ve tried in my way to be free” - he seemed not to tire.

Neither did the crowd. For once no one nipped out for a pee. A stampede to the front for the first of several encores meant that 40 minutes later when he twirled off to Save The Last Dance For Me, the audience were doing exactly that.