Kris Kristofferson Salem Oregon 23 February 2019

by Melody J Fisher

I’m sorry this is so long…my friends wanted all the details, so I wrote them down while they were fresh in my mind. I hope you enjoy.

Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers Concert 2/23/2019 Review

 Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers Concert  2/23/2019 Salem, Oregon

I’m writing this for a selfish reason. I don’t want to forget a single moment of February 23rd, 2019. The day Kris Kristofferson and the Strangers played the Elsinore Theatre in Salem Oregon.

It started out as a normal day. I had been strangely calm regarding the upcoming concert. It didn’t seem like it was really going to happen. It had been postponed from January because of Willies big event. I was good with that. I would have hated for Kris to miss being there for his friend. I had put it out of my mind to keep myself sane.

That morning it hit me. The day was finally here. I didn’t need coffee to get me going this day…I was pumped! I got busy…like a teenager preparing for her first date…only I am no teenager. I went through three sets of Whitestrips that day…just in case I got within ten feet of Kris. I attempted to cover my silver highlights…they resisted. Oh well, I am what I am. I silently cursed myself for not sticking to a diet. Sigh.

Just as I pulled myself together, my husband confided that he had been experiencing sharp pains in his chest. No other symptoms. I started to panic.

Not today! I flashed back to that Merle Streep movie Sophie’s Choice. Surely God wouldn’t make me choose between my husband’s health and a Kris concert? I knew in my heart that I would do the right thing…the honorable thing. Kris taught me that much. The chest pains subsided and I recalled the turnovers my husband consumed the night before. By themselves they were rich…but with the melted real butter he slathered on them…heartburn. I held myself back from scolding him, and told him to take some Tums. He was fine. Whew.

Salem Oregon is about fifty miles away from us. A pleasant drive. I was excited and babbling. My husband put in a Kris cd to calm me down (shut me up) My husband uses Kris’s CDs as sort of a weapon. When he cranks one up at home I clean house like a ninja. Being in the car settles me down. I admit I was searching for the tour bus all the way…especially at the rest stops. My husband shook his head. “What would you do if you did spot it? Have me drive three more miles to an exit and backtrack? And what then? Pound on his door until the police show up?” He made a valid point.

We arrived at our destination early. My husband coddled me by driving around in search of the tour bus, even though if we actually found it we wouldn’t know what to do next. I lack stalking skills.

We had a nice dinner. I know this because my husband told me. I had no desire to eat. I was too excited. On the way to the theatre a woman came out of a bar just in front of us. She proclaimed, “A salty margarita and Kristofferson…the perfect evening.” My husband and I chuckled knowingly. He leaned down and whispered “You don’t even need the margarita.” I giggled, he was right.

We didn’t have to wait long before the doors opened. We chatted with other ‘fans’ and talked about our favorite songs and movies. Kris fans tend to be friendly, kind people.

The Elsinore Theatre was built in 1926. It was restored fairly recently, narrowly escaping a wrecking ball. It’s gothic style and absolutely beautiful. I love old architecture, so this venue was an added bonus. The lovely velvet seats were for compact sized people, with short legs. Child sized.  Luckily we had an aisle seat for my tall husband with knee issues. Happy husband, happy wife. We met more nice Kris fans. The atmosphere was like a celebration, full of anticipation

The lights went down. The Strangers took their places. Kris approached the microphone, smiling and waving. Still as ruggedly good looking as ever. The crowd went wild, including us. Dressed in his usual black clothing, threadbare boots (aww) and holding his trusty guitar, he proceeded to mesmerize his audience. Heavenly. Like being home.

We did find ourselves in a little drama on row M. The people with the four seats next to showed up, just as Scott Joss had just started That’s the Way Love Goes. Two people were already seated in two of the seats. While the ushers tried to sort things out, things started to get confrontational. We were literally trapped in the middle, waiting for the time when we would have to extract ourselves from our tiny, form-fitting seats. Things calmed down, and the party people moved in…

Meanwhile, we missed most of Scott’s song in the ruckus. I was worried that when I stood up the whole row of seats would stand up with me! Think of a child’s plastic outdoor chair. Or a suction cup.

I must say, Scott Joss has a rich, smooth voice that is a pleasure… true ear candy. His fiddle playing is as much fun to watch as to listen to. I suspect he was born with a fiddle in his hands. Scott Joss smiles and the entire stage lights up…maybe even the whole auditorium. Charming man.

Back to Kris. He is a delight. He flowed from song to glorious song with ease. He looked and sounded better than ever, and gave us plenty of smiles. We returned them. At one point he was having a little struggle with his harmonica. He said something wasn’t right. Then he chuckled, good-naturedly, and announced “No wonder! It’s upside down!” He led everyone in laughter. He asked for forgiveness…As if he could do any wrong! Everyone cheered him on as he sang another amazing song for us. I hung on every word…words I’ve heard so many times before, embracing each brilliantly structured phrase. Respect.

The Strangers are incredible. Merle passed his gift on to them, to make their own. I could imagine Merle in the wings, watching these men carry on for him.

I could literally see Kris fill with energy from their songs. I think they feed off each other like most creatives do. And we are the winners. We get to enjoy the results. I can’t say enough good things about the show I was blessed to enjoy.

One other funny side note…my seat mates were having one heck of a time. The lady two seats from me probably should have slowed down once the show started. She was screaming, not yelling, screaming, “Kris, Kris, I love you Kris.” Her arms were waving in the air and she was determined to be heard. She was beautiful, and young (compared to me) and uninhibited. At intermission, as she passed me, she looked up at me and said “I need MORE alcohol!” Lord help us all. They did find their way back, after two songs, refueled. Happy.

I admit that I clap loud and long, and I whoop it up with the best of them. At one point I wished I’d brought mittens, or even oven mitts, to soften the blows of my clapping. But I do it at appropriate times, not in the middle of a poignant, heart wrenching song. At one point my ‘neighbor’ was so distracting that Kris looked our direction with a question mark on his face. I so hoped he didn’t think it was me. I would die! Seriously. I felt like pointing to her to avoid being a victim of mistaken identity. I did understand her enthusiasm. Part of me wanted to reach over and pat her arm and say something like, “We all love him, honey. He knows. Now, chill.” A teensy part of me wanted to scream “Back off, Mine!” Just an eensy, teensy, tiny bit…

The show ended. When he started the first line of  “This may be our last good night together…” I teared up, as if  on cue, and tried to savor my last minutes with Kris, at least for now. Thank you, Kris. You made us very happy. And I love you waaaaay more than the beautiful inebriated woman in my row. Since 1970, but who’s counting…

My husband and I have been married over forty years. I finally managed to “drag him to a concert.” He teases me about living in Kris’s shadow, or playing second fiddle to Kris. It’s all in fun, but it meant the world to me that he went and enjoyed. Every time he clapped and whooped I loved him even more. It was the best date night ever. He gets it now. He said we’d go again.

The theatre itself is small, but it holds a lot of people. All of which were packed like sardines in the lobby, surrounding Scott Joss. I stood less than a foot from Scott and got a little taste of what he deals with after a show. Everyone wants him, and no one wants to let him go. There was no line, just people coming at him from every direction. He treated each one as if they were the only ones in the room. He is a gracious gentleman. He must have been exhausted. I could have stayed and met him. I will someday. I didn’t want to add to the chaos. I’m very shy by nature, and only want to show respect and gratitude. They give up a lot to show up for those wonderful shows. Sure, there are rewards, too, but they earn them. I did get his meet his beautiful, sweet wife, Judy. I had messages to relay and she was happy to hear them. Scott chose well, as Kris did.

We listened to our new Scott Joss cd on the way home. I recommend it to anyone who appreciates talent. We talked happily all the way home, reliving a our adventure at the Elsinore Theatre with Kris Kristofferson and The Strangers.

My feet haven’t touched ground since. It takes awhile for the “Kristofferson Effect” to wear off.

A Review by Phil Bausch

Kris Kristofferson Concert

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