Donna is a lifelong Kris Kristofferson fan. She is the webmaster of a fan website that celebrates the life and work of this American icon.
Kris Kristofferson, 5 Feb 2020
The media has feasted on Kris Kristofferson for decades. Journalists have covered the minutiae of his life, work, activism, loves and viewpoints - Kris has actively participated in creating media through his music and acting while it has criticised, censored, celebrated and honoured him throughout his career.
Fans were surprised when the news of Kris' retirement was quietly leaked, but they knew it had to happen sometime and the lack of fanfare was in keeping with what they had come to expect from the humble icon.
It wasn't long before the biggest media platforms caught the news and treated us to some stunning in-depth articles and glossy pictures - But delight turned to frustration as it gradually became obvious that one important detail was, and remains, widely but inaccurately reported (repeated?) even by the biggest and most respected names in entertainment media.
How does this happen, and what else do we read and accept as fact that .... Isn't?
I'm writing this for two reasons.
- To correct information that's available to fans who are interested in the details of Kris Kristofferson's career
- To show how tricky it can be to decide what information on the internet is factual
Partly Truth, Partly Fiction
The time and place of Kris' last pre-retirement full concert might not matter to you in the slightest. The artist has retired, the specifics of the final gig may well seem trivial. I get that. However, we do increasingly rely on the internet for all sorts of information and this example might serve as a timely reminder that not everything posted on the internet is true. We do know this, but I was alarmed by just how difficult it is to tell truth from part truth or even fiction.
In this case, I'm quite sure there was no intention to deceive readers. Rather, it seems that journalists themselves fact check online, so can inadvertently amplify and give weight to inaccurate information simply by repeating it. Mischief minded people and organisations push agendas in the same cyberspace, and that worries me far more than it used to. Subtle fibs read often enough can become fact.
In The News
Kristofferson has headlined thousands of concerts and events. He has made newspaper and magazine headlines throughout his career, across the full spectrum of publications - from tabloids to glossies and beyond. Readers trust the publications they consume for different reasons. One might be trusted for facts, another trusted to entertain with the rest balanced on a sliding scale in between.
I read the news that Kris had retired, and checked the source (a memo from his management team). Chat with other fans became quite animated, and a group of us searched the internet for more details. Details of his final gig soon raised doubts. The Outlaw Country Cruise concert was spectacular, tickets were limited, but fans who did make it treated the rest of us and shared their pics and video clips. The final concert at the Sunset Theatre a few days later was also a fun event, and we watched those vids, too.
The internet searches proved more frustrating than rewarding or entertaining. Many sites and blogs reported the same or similar details, that's expected. High-end sites tell us that the Outlaw Country Cruise concert was the final one before Kris retired was unexpected. It wasn't.....
It just wasn't right.
We emailed a few sites pointing to the error, but they remain uncorrected. Unsurprising when we consider that any online research still confirms the error as a fact.
Searching For Answers
Kristofferson's last concert before retirement
We searched this phrase and a few close variations but couldn't find the correct information. We hoped to see some additional media clips from the final concert but weren't able to find any mention of the concert at all - Let alone some footage or photographs. It was like it never happened - As if the concert on 5 February was erased.
Limiting searches to the best-known, big-name media never helped.
At the time of writing, some two years later, nothing has changed or been updated. Try the search yourself.
Here's What We Found
Each extract is followed by the source link
Kristofferson gave his last full concert on January 30th aboard the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, a performance attended by Rolling Stone.
It turns out Kris Kristofferson’s final performance was aboard the 5th Annual Outlaw Country Cruise on January 30th, 2020, backed by The Strangers. Along with Kris playing many of his most memorable songs such as “Me and Bobby McGee,” “Help Me Make It Through The Night,” and “Sunday Morning Coming Down,” he also played “Okie From Muskogee,” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” The show ended somewhat appropriately with the song “Please Don’t Tell Me How the Story Ends.”
A songwriter, actor and touring musician, Kristofferson gave his last full concert in January 2020 as part of the fifth annual Outlaw Country Cruise, where he was also the subject of an onboard tribute show performed by musicians he’s influenced, including Steve Earle, Shooter Jennings and Lucinda Williams.
Kristofferson hadn’t known he was going to retire when he played what might have been his final gig in January 2020, aboard the Outlaw Country Cruise. “Absolutely not,” says Saviano. “Kris was scheduled in March to do the Luck Reunion in Austin” held annually at Willie Nelson’s property. “The pandemic just changed everything,” and made the thought of ramping touring back up at some point in the indefinite future seem like a less likely or important goal.
The Simple Facts
The news about Kris Kristofferson's retirement landed on 27 January 2020. It was almost a byline in part of a press statement announcing a change of management -Morris Higham Management assumed control of Kristofferson’s estate, after taking over from his longtime manager, Tamara Saviano.
"In addition, in the wake of his father's retirement in 2020, Kristofferson's son John steps in to oversee all of the family's business."
Something must have hinted/stated or in some way caused people to think that Kris' last full concert was on the Outlaw Cruise - & this information was repeated in various reports from different sources and on different platforms. But ....
Kris' final full concert was a few days later. Kris performed (once again with the Strangers) at the Sunset Theatre, 117 S 2nd St., Fort Pierce, FL 34950 on Wednesday, 5 February 2020.
Fans know this because they attended. Online industry news platforms continue to state otherwise.
Kris Kristofferson & The Strangers 2.5.2020 Sunrise Theatre
Ironic. Kris is an artist known and loved for song writing. Entire forums are dedicated to discussions around meaning of his lyrics, set lists for individual concerts can be found online, some dating back to the 1970s. His bio is detailed, dates and details are exacted and continually updated, and yet ....the internet has no accurate information at all about his last gig before retiring.
We live in the era of fake news, yet the majority of internet users have become very savvy. When we are looking for information that matters to us, we search to find answers then check these against what the market leaders or specialist sites say.
This might not be enough.
Viral factories deliberately create content that will attract views, likes and follows (the new currency) with controversial, offensive and dangerous content, but it is relatively easy to spot. Mistakes and errors copied from other online sources are not.
Common sense and cross-checks
Basic common sense is as useful in the virtual world as it is in the physical realms. Cross-checking is a habit that's helped me use the internet quite confidently and avoid any serious complications or jams.
This experience has changed my views. Seeing how one fact can be inaccurately given by so many reliable sources is really unsettling. I'll continue using sense and cross checks, but will now add a pinch of salt to online from any source.
My husband is rebuilding a small motorbike and has taken to the internet for advice on settings, measurements, sizes and spares. One repeated (but wrong) fact could cause chaos in some circumstances
Kris Kristofferson Fan Resources
If you are a Kristofferson fan, you will find these resources useful
- Kris Kristofferson Official Website
- Kris Kristofferson Fan Wesbite
- YouTube Fan Channel
- KrisKristoffersonAppreciationGroup - Discussion & Fan interests (Private, answer the questions to join)
Thanks to the dedicated Kris Kristofferson fans out there who work hard to create and share updates, events and their own memories, media and momentos. Thanks too, to the Scott Joss camp as well as the brilliant individual photographers and video channels who share their content generously with others.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Donna