Last night I saw Kris Kristofferson. Live. In person. Singing and playing guitar. It was like watching a hero of yours standing right in front you. Slightly surreal and incredibly awesome.
Anyone who knows me knows I love country music. I mean, I REALLY love country music. People will be talking about some new band or hit tune that’s current and I’m like “does he wear a Stetson and play guitar? No? Never heard of ’em”. So seeing Mr Kristofferson play live was something really special. This is the guy who along with Willie, Waylon and Johnny formed the biggest country super group the world will ever know.
He was appearing at the Union Chapel in Islington. Now I have a little bit of an issue with this venue. Yes, it’s beautiful. Yes, the acoustics are amazing. But it’s also still very much a CHURCH. You sit there in pews. There’s no standing. There’s no dancing. And you can’t shake that feeling that maybe you should be apologising to someone for those unspeakable things you did last friday whilst two-thirds into a bottle of tequila… I saw Striking Matches there last year and it just felt flat. There was no atmosphere whatsoever. (Unlike their gig at the Shepherds Bush Empire six months later where people where stompin’ along and raising the roof). This time however, the venue perfectly suited the artist. Afterall we were all there to pay homage to this great man.
It was just Kris, his guitar and a harmonica. And an hour and a half of country hits.
He played song after song after song. Best Of All Possible Worlds. Me And Bobby McGee. Jesus Was A Capricorn. For The Good Times. Sunday Morning Coming Down. Billy Dee. Feeling Mortal. From Here To Forever. To Beat The Devil. Here Comes That Rainbow Again. Help Me Make It Through The Night. The list goes on… I was brought tears more times than I’d like to admit. It was beautiful. It was like listening to your dad tell you a story, give you advice and then tell you he loved you. It touched me in a way that only music can. If you haven’t heard any of his songs I beg you to listen to a few. They are simply magical. They certainly don’t make them like that any more.
Yes he’s getting old now. But he’s still got it. The voice is deep and gravelly and sexy in a way that only comes from wisdom and experience, and many years of late night whiskey drinking. He may be 80 this year but he rocks those cowboy boots and he can pluck a six string better than most. He is a legend and we worshipped him. After each song he thanked us for listening but really we owe him a multitude of thanks. Thanks for the music, the lyrics and the legacy.
“And I thank my lucky stars/From here to eternity/For the artist that you are/And the man you made of me”