Well, dear, sweet, gentle blog readers, last night I witnessed greatness. Not once, mind you, but twice. I saw Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson at the Bass Performance Hall in lovely Fort Worth, Texas. The show was sold out and had been for weeks, as it should have been.
I realize that the genre, musicianship, and singing style may not be in line with the musical palette of everyone, but there is no denying the impact and influence these legends have had on the musical landscape. Both men have had commercial and critical success, survived the business for more than forty years and, most importantly, are still relevant.
The brilliant musical pairing began in 2009 when Merle and Kris performed a few shows in California, which was the first time these icons shared the same stage at the same time in their storied and illustrious careers. The fan reaction was enough for them to contemplate the continuation of the shows. As of this blog, last night’s show was just one of six dates that the boys are doing in 2010.
Kristofferson, who is a much better songwriter than singer, covered his hits such as “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, and “Why Me” to name a few. His voice was grainy, and gruff with just enough of a whisky stain to remind you of the hard living that he crafted in his songs.
Merle played some of his staples such as “Okie from Muskogee”, “The Fightin’ Side of Me”, “Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Star”, “Silver Wings” and “I Think I’ll just Stay Here and Drink”. His voice was just beautiful, the tenor and pitch might have lost a little something over the years, but Father Time takes a little from each of us every day.
It was evident that the two had not rehearsed much; at times they were out of sync, out of tune, and even off key. The sound was raw, gritty, authentic and perfectly fitting for two legends in their seventies who played and sang for two hours.
I can’t imagine that anyone left the show disappointed. For two hours last night, I shared a lifetime of music and history with two musical icons. They have certainly earned the right to be human and less than perfect in their performance. And yet, they were perfect for all of the right and wrong reasons. Last night, I witnessed greatness.
Great music awaits!