NEWS – Kris Kristofferson @ City Winery, NYC

Kris Kristofferson started off set to dark Sunday night and pretty well kept it there all night. Dissolution, betrayal, lost love. Songs filled with regret. He seemed to struggle through his hoarseness to get the words out, his range more limited than on the old records (which are the only records I know and barely those) and range was never his strength to begin with. His playing was rudimentary. I had no idea how consistently great his lyrics were, how vernacular, how poetic and how tragic. I wonder how much of the material is relatively contemporary.  It all sounds like the last croaks of an 80 year old man who’s had a lot of bad luck (except for the song about living in a gated community). I know nothing about the man. For all I know, it’s all been swimming pools and movie stars. He looked to be in pretty good shape and I hope he keeps performing for another 40 years but the evening had the feel of a swan song. I’ve seen Alberta Hunter, Anita O’Day and Little Jimmy Scott (and more – I can’t remember) in each of their respective last years of performing, when their pipes were gone but their intimacy with their own material, their singularity with it, and the phrasing honed over decades elevated the performance to glorious and heartbreaking both. That’s the file I’m putting Kris in.

Set 1:

  1.  Set 2:
  2. The Pilgrim, Chapter 33
  3. A Moment of Forever
  4.  Encore:

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