NEWS
11/06/2017 15:05 EST | Updated 11/06/2017 15:40 EST

Leonard Cohen to be honoured with memorial concert in Montreal tonight

MONTREAL — A memorial concert is being held tonight in Montreal to pay tribute to the late Canadian artist Leonard Cohen.

The concert opened with a performance from Sting singing Cohen's hit song "Dance Me to the End of Love."

The event will feature other stars such as k.d. lang, Elvis Costello and Lana Del Rey.

Feist, Damien Rice, Ron Sexsmith and comedian Seth Rogen are also set to perform tributes to the beloved singer-songwriter and poet.

Cohen's son Adam Cohen has said the planning for the concert began soon after his father's death last November at the age of 82.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard are also expected to attend.

Fans, including many from outside Canada, lined up Monday night outside the Bell Centre ahead the memorial concert.

Friends Marian Ohberg and Nancy Bartlett, who made the trip from Atlanta, showed up in black felt hats that resembled the type Cohen favoured.

They say Cohen’s music has been a theme of their 50-year friendship, prompting them to make their first visit to the city in decades.

"He's a songwriter and a poet who loves women," Bartlett said.

"Who can resist that?" Ohberg added.

Ronald Ferket, who came from Belgium, spent the day before the concert visiting some of the Montreal locations mentioned in Cohen's songs.

Ferket, who has been a fan since 1967, says Cohen's poetry and the messages in his lyrics are even more important than the music.

He says his personal life motto, inspired by Cohen's song "Bird on a wire," is to "try, in my way, to be free."