Belfast Telegraph

Review: Quiet man of country Kris Kristofferson lets brilliant songs speak for themselves

Review: Kris Kristofferson, Waterfront Hall, Belfast

By Alf McCreary

When a global megastar comes to town, the people respond to this rare event, and the Waterfront Hall was jam-packed for the return of Kris Kristofferson, the singer, songwriter and actor.

As soon as he took the stage there was a palpable wave of affection throughout the audience for one of the icons of country music, whose songs will forever be high on the list of this particular genre.

It was not quite 'Sing-along-a-Kris', but most of the audience knew almost every word of the songs, not only his but of other high-profile songwriters, and they made their voices heard.

At the start the enthusiasm was such that Kristofferson could have sung the phone directory to universal approval, but the concert and the crowd settled down, and he displayed his remarkable talent in making the most of the meaning of every word. Kristofferson, just turned 82, has known stronger days with a stronger voice, but his sense of timing and his gravelly delivery showed he is still a poet and philosopher at heart.

His backing trio, especially the fiddle player, had the brilliance to complement and enhance their star turn rather than to drown him out - which so many other celebrated ensembles do.

There was hardly any chat with the audience from Kristofferson, who rightly let the songs speak for themselves.

He performed a wide range of "story-songs", many with their own poignancy and reflection, and there was something truly historic in listening to the man who wrote Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down, Help Me Make It Through The Night, Me And Bobby McGee and other classics, and then singing them again inimitably in very mature years.

At the end he said simply: "Thank You, Belfast." And we all said: "Thank You, Kris."

It was a privilege to be there.

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