Live Music Review – Kris Kristofferson and The Strangers

Photo “borrowed” from Kris’ website.

Saenger Theatre, Mobile, Alabama – November 20, 2018


Still crushing it at the age of 82, the legendary singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson delivered two sets of crowd-pleasing compositions from his vast catalog. Backed by the late great Merle Haggard’s band The Strangers, he also threw in more than a few Hag classics.


Somehow it all worked, and if I had to sacrifice “Moment of Forever” for, say, “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink,” it was well worth the two-hour-plus drive to and from downtown Mobile.


The Saenger is a great venue, classy and classic. We saw Bonnie Raitt here a few years ago, and every seat in the house is a good one unless you’re trying to snap photos of the stage from your outdated smartphone.


Anyway, I grew up with Mr. Kristofferson—his wobbly guest hosting gig from the first season of Saturday Night Live is the stuff of legend, and you should dial it up on Hulu—but didn’t really appreciate him as an artist until I heard Broken Freedom Song: Live from San Francisco 15 years ago. One of the best live albums ever.


Mr. Kristofferson gave this crowd what they came for—enduring classic after classic, including “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” and, thank Jesus, “Why Me Lord” and “Here Comes That Rainbow Again.” I hope my singing along didn’t bother the nice folks seated next to me too much.


Unlike the 2003 concert album, this show contained very little, if any, between-song commentary (no politics, no mention of the recent A Star Is Born remake). There was no encore, either—too bad, because there were still about two-dozen songs I would’ve liked to have heard.


Discover more at, and for God’s sake, get off your ass and go see him next time he’s in town.

– Chris Manson
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