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In concert: Kris Kristofferson at The Music Center at Strathmore

By Chris Klimek

kristoffersonKris Kristofferson gave a pleasingly stripped-fown performance at Strathmore. (All photos by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

Kris Kristofferson is in no hurry, but he doesn't like to waste time. At the Music Center at Strathmore on Saturday night he marched onstage in his customary regalia of black shirt, black jeans and black boots at 8 p.m., exactly on time, and launched into a generous 30-song solo acoustic revue of his bone-deep body of work.

A hardy 74, he moved lightly from one coiled, economical story-song to the next -- punctuating each tune with an abrupt "Thank you!" or better still, "True story!" rather than allowing the last note to hang in the air, as it can, within Strathmore's sound-abetting walls.

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His tectonic growl would be frightening if it didn't break so freely into laughter or if you couldn't see that beatific smile. He passed along a punning, mildly gross variation on his ballad "Loving Her Was Easier," suggested, he said, by Bob Dylan; and he dedicated "The Promise" to "my kids and their mommas."

For a guy who struggled into his 30s to get his songs heard, and who has had more success as a songwriter and film actor than he ever has performing his own material, Kristofferson's demo-like renditions sounded haunting and definitive, even when he mocked his own prowess as a harmonica player, or reminded us who "sang that song a whole lot better than me." (Artists who've covered his compositions number in the hundreds.)

After a brief intermission, he invited singer-songwriter John Flynn on to play his own "Without You With Me," standing aside while the younger man's performance moved him literally to tears. He was still sniffling a few numbers later when someone shouted, "Cheer up, Kris -- you're killing us!"

"I'm never letting John Flynn sing that song again," he replied.

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By Chris Klimek  | November 15, 2010; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags:  Kris Kristofferson  
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Comments

Dylan gave a great show Sat. nite @ GW, where's the review?

Posted by: StikeDC1 | November 16, 2010 8:43 AM | Report abuse

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