There was a warm feeling of anticipation, excitement and for many of the fans meeting an old friend once again through his own style of Country; Kris Kristofferson stepped onto the stage to an awed hush amongst friends. At 77, Kris Kristofferson is still lean and ruggedly good-looking as his guitar and voice meld into one as he delivers song after song full of meaning firmly corralling this country singer as the first who was influenced by Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen. He bought the spirit of the sixties to the hall with the protest and more than a whiff of a joint being shared among friends. It takes a big act to stand alone on the stage, just a man and his guitar; there can be no doubt that Kris Kristofferson was such a man as his music and caged emotions filled the stage and his skill, love and warmth spread throughout the vaulted auditorium. Everyone had one or more favourite song(s), and he tried not to disappoint; even taking requests from the audience. As he sings the songs his face lights up with memories of love found and lost, of tears and smiles; his rapport with the audience meant that the feeling fed back and forth and more than one person in the packed hall wiped their own tears from their eyes. His songs sound mild especially with his gentle strumming of the guitar, but the words put the grit in your eyes, and pierce your soul as he does not lay out blame but paints a kinder world that could be at peace with itself despite the fact that so many of his songs are about losing rather than finding love reflecting his journey through his broken marriages and relationships.
The highlights for the audience will be varied as the repertoire delivered and for me they were ‘Me and Bobbie McGee’; ‘Nobody Wins’, so bleak and haunting it tears at the very fabric of your being; ‘Help Me through The Night’ and ‘Feeling Mortal’ from his latest album reflecting where he is now in his own words more inclined to laugh than cry as he stares down his own mortality.
What Kris Kristofferson bought to the proceedings was an authenticity, he was humble as he shared the highs and lows of his life as a travelling troubadour; and at the end he did not want to leave the stage to silence as he reached down and shook hands raised up to him, thanking Kris for once again entertaining us with his songs not just tonight but back across the years. St David’s Hall, Cardiff certainly hopes he is back again soon.
All images copyright Liz Aiken