Local Wire

Kris Kristofferson @ Celebrity Theatre

God bless YouTube for preserving moments of true human passion. Rita Coolidge and Kris Kristofferson divorced in 1980, but not before appearing on English variety show The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1971, singing "Help Me Make It Through the Night" together. As they huddle close around a single microphone, Kristofferson sings "Take that ribbon from your hair, shake it loose, let if fall," a devilish grin on his face. "Come and lay down by my side, 'til the early morning's light" Coolidge responds demurely. "I don't care what's right or wrong," they harmonize, he in his strong, worn tenor, she with a clear, melodic ringing. It's captivating — so raw and intimate that it almost seems they don't know you're watching. The bass player seems to look away, his long hair obscuring his view of the couple. Kristofferson married Lisa Meyers in 1983, and they're still together, but the moment, like his best songs — "Jesus Was a Capricorn," "Border Lord," "Closer to the Bone" — feels eternal, like it's been carved in stone. His voice is the same way, and as he's grown older he's only learned to better rein in the deep gravity of his tone. Kristofferson whispers something into Coolidge's ear at the end of the performance. What does he say? Wouldn't you like to know.

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Jason Woodbury