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Cork Independent


Kristofferson has audience in palm of his hand for Marquee outing

Monday, 24th June, 2019 12:11pm

You don’t go to a Kris Kristofferson concert for the rock ‘n’ roll, the flashing lights, the large screens, booming sound system, computer synced lighting or beat box rhythms. You go to be in the presence of a legend. A man who comes with layer upon layer of life experience, whose music threads through the fabric of country music of the past six decades, whose song writing and music emanate from the deepest canyons of his rocky life stretching back to his Texan origins. 
From the moment the silver-haired Kristofferson came on stage at 8pm last night at Live At The Marquee, and opened with 'Me and Bobby Magee' he had the thousands of seated fans captured as surely as if they sat in the palm of his hand. There was an immediate warmth and rapport between performer and audience. Kristofferson moved through his extensive song book with the more popular songs live 'Casey’s Last Ride', 'For the Good Times', 'Help Me Make it Through the Night' and 'Jody and the Kid' creating a sing-a-long atmosphere with the crowd. 
The staging was simple. A three piece band backed the singer-songwriter; keyboards, drums, guitar/fiddle. Kristofferson stood on stage right throughout the concert, his silver hair gleaming under the stage lights, his acoustic guitar draped across his shoulders as he picked his way through his set list. There was little or no talking between songs, he just went straight from one song into the next. Very refreshing to let the music do the talking. 
One very endearing aspect of the performance was the interaction between Kristofferson and the leader of his backing band, guitarist and fiddle player, Scott Joss, himself a renowned songwriter and performer, who had previously spent years working with the great Merle Haggard. You could see the kindness and support that Joss was giving to the aging performer in the encouraging gestures, thumbs-up sign after a song and constant smiles of approval. 
While Kristofferson’s songs have simple chord structures and melodies, it is his lyrics that make his songs special. His verses are full of killer lines on the themes of love, loneliness and liquor. Life’s most difficult experiences summed up in a few phrases, vivid pictures painted in words. To write a good country song, it is said all you need are three chords and the truth. Kristofferson has mastered that art. To hear those words fall from the mouth of the artist who wrote them from a few meters away was a truly moving experience. 
After a 15 minute interval, Kristofferson and the band returned to an audience even more willing to sing along to his better known songs. It was. however, when Kristofferson sang 'Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down', that the whole marquee was lifted with the chorus of thousands. Definitely the highlight of the night. You could see Kristofferson and his band were visibly moved by the singing of the Cork crowd and they smiled to each other and gave the thumbs-up to the audience. “You sing great,” Kristofferson repeated after the song was sung. 
You might think a man who turned 83 the day before concert, and who is coping with the debilitating effects of Lyme disease, might be planning to take it easy. Well not in his case. From Cork he went on to Dublin for two nights and has further dates in the UK, US, Australia and New Zealand in coming months. Catch him if you can. To send him on his way, he got a typical Cork encouragement as one lad down in the audience shouted up, “Go on Kristy!”.

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