This was something special for me. Special for everyone who attended in fact. His music and acting resume runs deep and long. Starting in Nashville in the 60’s and spanning parts of 6 decades, Kristofferson still carries some swagger and can still pack a house. Time has been good to Kris, with his silver/gray hair, deep voice and rugged good looks. I always considered him to represent the real macho ladies man and cowboy. Some health concerns in recent years may have taken him out of some moments and enjoyment in life.
With the discovery that he had been misdiagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia when really he had Lyme Disease, allowed his doctors to correct his treatment and bring that spark back to the artist. I was so happy to hear this because it meant he would be coming here to perform, and from a personal perspective, it meant I got to photograph a true legend.
When I learned that I was going to be reviewing this show, I immediately got out my Highwayman music, and I listened to that while I prepped for this assignment.
Talk about an intimate show. Just a man, his guitar, a harmonica and a few thousand of his friends. Simply amazing.
The 80 year old Kristifferson glided out onto the stage with his big Gibson acoustic guitar and broke into his opening number and Nailed It! What a smooth performer and when he greeted everyone with “Hello Rama”, the full house at Casino Rama Entertainment Centre showed their appreciation. A loud whoop went up and Mr. Kristofferson was surprised. The evening unfolded well, as he rolled through his song list, pausing occasionally to share a story with his fully engaged audience. Songs like Darby’s Castle and Here Comes That Rainbow were particular favorites of mine. I don’t know how you create a song list when you’ve recorded as many songs as Kris. Or maybe that’s it: there are so many great songs, just pick a bunch and you’re good to go.
We were even treated to a very special moment when Canadian music legend Gordon Lightfoot joined Kris on stage to sing Me & Bobby McGee, and it seemed that Mr. Lightfoot was enjoying it, because he even extended the song by a couple of extra choruses, with the crowd singing right along with them. At one point, nearing the end of one song, Kristofferson quipped about forgetting the outro which brought a good laugh.
And truly nobody cared. It was just that kind of night. You were made to feel like you were part of a very special show and the crowd eagerly awaited each song. Something about the rasp to Kris’ voice, singing his music library with just an acoustic guitar. The sound was crystal clear and everyone hung on every note and every word. Magic.
When the show ended, and Kris thanked the Rama faithful, fans clamoured to the stage where the gracious Kristofferson stayed to shake hands and sign autographs. It seemed nobody wanted the night to end.
I feel fortunate to have been able to cover this show and this man. Truly a great night of music! Thanks to Kris Kristifferson’s team and Casino Rama for hosting Tour Bus Entertainment.
Scott Burns / Scott Burns Images