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Stage Buzz: Kris Kristofferson at The Chicago Theatre

| November 12, 2019

Kris Kristofferson

It’s like seeing Muddy Waters or Merle Haggard on the back forty of their final farewell tours (even Dylan, The Stones, and Paul McCartney are on those “what if” touring jaunts these days). Kris Kristofferson is a household name, but it may be as much for his film resume as for his music. True music fans know Kristofferson’s career goes back to the salad days of rock and country, where Elvis, Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson took his music to heart and made him known for his songwriting prowess with tunes like “Me and Bobby McGee, “ “Help Me Make it Through The Night” and “For The Good Times.”

“(His) lyrics are literature whether you sing them or read them,” Nelson told The Washington Post in 2007.  “They’re words to live by, and that’s about as much praise as you can say about any writer.”

His Golden Globe award for the 1976 film A Star is Born (co-starring Barbra Streisand) brought him to substantial new audiences, but his music has always been his calling card. He co-founded the Outlaw Country movement with Nelson and Waylon Jennings in the ‘70s. His outlaw roots go back to a difficult childhood, hard-drinking and touring, and his current “senior moments” that come from a scary and continuing bout with Lyme disease – but you’d never know he’s 83 – looking 25 years younger despite the hard living.

His Chicago stories go back (as told to Roger Ebert) to legendary 1970’s clubs and music men on the North Side. “Steve Goodman brought me over to this club in Chicago, the Earl of Old Town. I had heard Stevie, who was great, and now Stevie insisted we get there about the crack of dawn, and here’s [John] Prine sleeping on the goddam floor.”

Kristofferson is joined at The Chicago Theatre on Friday, November 15, by Merle Haggard’s former band The Strangers (as seen at Riot Fest 2015). This 2019 tour is bringing you the best of the man who epitomizes songwriting and living life to the fullest, despite the obstacles – performing not too far from Steve Goodman’s old stomping grounds.

-David Gedge

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