Sunday, October 5, 2014

An Evening with Kris Kristofferson: The Pilgrim: Ch 77 Union Chapel, London

2014 – Virgin Records
By Phillip Smith; Oct 4, 2014

Live albums are often times “hit or miss”, for me, for varying reasons such as bad sound, or coaxed audience participation.  This new double album from the legendary Kris Kristofferson, recorded live in London at Union Chapel, September 26, 2013 , steers clear of those self-imposed landmines, and emerges as one of my all-time favorite live albums.  In an intimate setting, Kristofferson plays his songs, stripped down to the most basic of levels, alone on a stage with just his guitar and harmonica.

With almost forty-five years’ worth of material to choose his set-list from, Kristofferson performs a nice blend of both new and old, drawing a lot deeper from his earlier years, playing fourteen songs off his first and second albums from 1970-1971, Kristofferson, and Silver Tongued Devil.  Classic songs, such as “Me and Bobby McGee”, “Help Me Make it Through the Night”, and “Loving Her Was Easier” quickly put a smile on my face.  For a nice little tie-in, while introducing “Casey’s Last Ride”, Kristofferson mentions he wrote it in London about a half a century ago.  From his newer albums, we are treated to title tracks, “Feeling Mortal” (2013), and “Closer to the Bone” (2009) ,

We’re also treated to several selections from his 2003 politically-centric live album, Broken Freedom Song , with songs such as “Broken Freedom Song”, “The Circle”, and “Sky King”.  Another song from that album, which lands in this performance, is one of my favorites, “Here Comes that Rainbow”, a lovely song about paying it forward.

The album just wouldn’t be complete without playing longtime favorite, “Jesus Was a Capricorn”, which Kristofferson masterfully segues in from “You Show Me Yours”.  I’ve never been to London, but when I listen to this album, I feel as though I am transported to the front row of Union Chapel, among the audience, taking everything in. And that is what I absolutely love about An Evening with Kris Kristofferson: The Pilgrim; Ch 77.

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