Are you kidding me? That’s the first thought I had when I heard last April or May 2019 that Kris Kristofferson had been added to the Outlaw Country Cruise. I have been a fan of his as long as I can remember.
It really started back in 1980 when my parents took us on our first trip to Kansas City, MO for a summer vacation. This began many a summer trek to see the Kansas City Royals play and started my love for Major League Baseball. I can still vividly remember a lot of that trip.
Another stop on the trip was the theme park Worlds of Fun. Now, I’m like most midwestern kids…I loved theme parks back then, but if you ever went to one of these tourist traps in the summer time (especially in Oklahoma or Missouri), you know the heat you experienced on the asphalt walkways. It was no different at Worlds of Fun. My parents were and are great parents, though, as they persevered through all this and also got us tickets to see Kris Kristofferson in concert at the bandshell in the back of the park. This was some kind of upgrade to the trip. I can remember him being on stage and for some reason his beard stands out in my mind.
Fast forward through the years, and I have seen him in concert many times. Not to mention all of his acting gigs (one of my favorites was Fire Down Below the Steven Seagal Movie). But, all through the years, while his songs influenced me, I never had the chance to meet him. I’ve been very lucky being around the music business and have gotten to meet several of my heroes, but Kriseluded me. I had almost chalked it up to some of the big names that you never meet (Johnny Cash & Waylon Jennings stand out), even though you feel like you know them.
Well, on the cruise, Kris was awesome. His solo show brought me to the verge of tears. With songs like “For the Good Times,” “Me & Bobby McGee,” “Sunday Mornin’ Comin’ Down,” and “Why Me, Lord?” it’s hard not to realize that you are witnessing greatness, as in if you had the chance to see Shakespeare, Whitman, or Twain in person. I was moved beyond being moved. Further, there was an awesome tribute show where various artists on the cruise shared their favorite songs. Jesse Dayton’s“Me & Bobby McGee” was a highlight here.
If that had been it, I would’ve been in starving songwriter heaven. But, then on the last night of the cruise, my wife and i were in the atrium and who do we literally run into? Mr. Kristofferson himself. He stopped and said hi and took a picture with us. It is a great memory that I am beaming about just thinking about right now. Dreams do come true.