August 8, 2011

Concert #484 - Kris Kristofferson at the Haugh Performing Arts Center (October 19, 2008)

This was possibly the most emotional concert I've ever attended. This concert gave me goosebumps and made me weep, and all this for two reasons. First, Kris Kristofferson was phenomenally good, and second, I went to the show with a dear friend from the other side of the planet, who decades earlier first introduced me to Kris' music, when I was still living in the music-deprived Old Country.

It was in the early 1970s when my friend Mircea let me have a tape that contained "The Silver Tongued Devil And I", Kris Kristofferson's second and arguably best album. Kris' lyrics were totally impenetrable to me, as my English at that time was less than passable, but the quality of the tunes and Kris' superb delivery were all that was needed to knock me out, and what a knock-out it was. Later in the 70s, life brought me to California, where I've been living happily ever since ... who would have thought that, decades later, Mircea and I would be sitting next to each other, listening to Kris Kristofferson singing many of the very same songs that meant so much to both of us ... well, it happened.

The concert took place at the Haugh  Performing Arts Center on the campus of the Citrus College in the City of Glendora. The theater has 1,440 seats, yet it feels fairly intimate. The place was almost full when Kris took the stage, there were just a few empty seats in the back. The stage was sparse, with just a rug on the floor, a guitar stand with an acoustic guitar, a sheet music stand, a microphone and two monitors, all tell-tale signs that a one-man-show was about to begin.

The stage
Kris opened his show with "Shipwrecked", a lesser known song, but before too long, his famous gems started coming up, and they kept coming one after the other, it was pure magic. Although in his early seventies, Kris sang pretty much with the same voice he had in the seventies (the decade), and even his vocal inflections sounded like the ones from his younger days.

Partial set list 
"Me & Bobby McGee"
"Help Me Make It Through The Night" 
"For The Good Times"
"Jody And The Kid"
"Here Comes That Rainbow Again"
"This Old Road"
"In The News"
"Pilgrim's Progress"
"The Final Attraction"
"Help Me Make It Through The Night"
"Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down"
 "The Silver Tongued Devil And I"
"Loving Her Was Easier Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again"
"Love Is The Way" (encore)
"Why Me, Lord" (encore)

Most of his songs ended with a laconic "Thank you". Occasionally, Kris would introduce the next song, but there wasn't much stage banter - the focus was on his music and there wasn't a single bad song during his almost two-hour long concert. With just a voice and an acoustic guitar, Kris held his audience captive and I'm sure that my eyes weren't the only moist ones in the room.

All-in-all, it was a moving encounter with a musician I've loved for many decades. Also one of the most unforgettable concerts I've ever attended.
My friend Mircea at the Haugh Performing Arts Center
Kris Kristofferson fans filing in
Haugh Performing Arts Center

No comments:

Post a Comment