Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Kris Kristofferson, Edinburgh Festival Theatre 3 August 2010

Hilary and I first saw Kris Kristofferson about 30 years ago, when he was still performing in a large band with Rita Coolidge. We saw him again in a solo gig a few years ago, and tonight we saw anither solo outing. He's 74: totally grey but well-preserved and still good-looking. OK, he's past his peak now: occasionally he forgets lyrics, or starts a song with the wrong harmonica, but he;s so utterly charming it's easy to overlook it. As you will see from the setlist below, the songs were a mix of the familiar (with a few missing: no The Law Is For Protection Of The People, no Please Don't Tell Me How The Story Ends whose performance from 1980 stays with me to this day) and the more obscure, which is always good to see. Age hasn't put out his fire either: this son of a USAF general poked fun at Messrs Bush and Cheney just after he did Nobody Wins, and he dedicated Shipwrecked in the Eighties (his opening number) to "the veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq, in opposition to the war." There was also a feeling of real anger bubbling underneath his introduction to The Circle. This song's immediate subject is the dissidents in Argentina in the days of Galtieri and the rest of the (US-backed) military dictatorship, who simply disappeared and whose memory was kept alive and very public by their brave female family members. Kris explained however that he wrote it in response to one of Bill Clinton's first acts as President which was to fire two cruise missiles at Baghdad (the USA were not at war with Iraq at the time). Whatever he intended them to hit, what they actually did was kill one of Iraq's foremost artists, Layla Al-Attar, and some of her family. It took Kristofferson some time to discover the name of the artist, so slight was the concern about her murder in the US media. Anyway, he found it, and he wrote the song. I'm guessing he wasn't invited to Chelsea's wedding...... Like so many of his songs, it combines both a world-weary honesty about the evils people do and a heartening faith in the power of love and....I was going say political action, but I suppose what his songs are really about is how faith hope and love can effect change if you work at them.

Here is the song that perhaps best encapsulates that message:

Tonight's setlist, in very rough order:

Shipwrecked In The Eighties
Me and Bobby McGee
The Best of All Possible Worlds
Darby’s Castle
Casey’s Last Ride
Help Me Make It Through The Night
Loving Her Was Easier
A Moment of Forever
Here Comes That Rainbow Again
Why Me?
Nobody Wins
The Circle
Sunday Morning Coming Down
From Here To Forever
The Heart
The Promise
Once More With Feeling
To Beat The Devil
The Silver Tongued Devil and I
Johnny Lobo
The Pilgrim: Chapter 33
Jody and the Kid
Billy Dee
For The Good Times
The Junkie and the Juicehead Minus Me


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