If you thought the story of country music songwriting legend Kris Kristofferson blowing off his own tribute at the 2019 CMA Awards to perform a scheduled show in Davenport, Iowa was a cool story and a sign of the Hall of Famer’s class and character, well the he might have done himself one better a few days before.
On Saturday, November 9th, Kris Kristofferson and Merle Haggard’s old backing band The Strangers were in Fargo, North Dakota to play a sold out show at the Fargo Theatre. About half a mile away at a music venue called the Dempsy’s Public House, the country rock band 32 Below was also scheduled to perform. Big Kristofferson fans, they were crushed the scheduling conflict kept them from seeing Kris perform, but thought they’d throw a Hail Mary by scribbling a note and taping it to the door of Kristofferson’s bus.
“Hey we’re huge fans!” the note read. “We’re playing at Dempsy’s from 10pm-close tonight and would be absolutely stoked if y’all came out since we can’t make your show. We’d love to buy you a beer or five.”
Of course, what were the chances that the 83-year-old Kristofferson would want to venture out in the nippy North Dakota night after playing a show himself? Well apparently, they were pretty good. After finishing his own set at the Fargo Theatre, Kristofferson and his wife arrived at Dempsy’s at about 11:30 p.m. to the shock and delight of 32 Below and the assembled crowd.
Kristofferson took a table and just listened for a couple of songs. But after 32 Below asked Kristofferson if they could play one of his songs and performed their rendition of “Me and Bobby McGee,” Kristofferson decided he wanted to get up on stage and play the song as well. After exchanging handshakes, Kristofferson strapped on lead singer Tyler Steinle’s guitar, and performed the iconic hit for the lucky crowd assembled at the Fargo night spot.
“Last night was certainly one for the books,” the band later said. “Holy s**t you guys, we played a legendary song with the legend who wrote it! Kris Kristofferson himself showing our little band so much love playing a song with us in a small bar after he played an entire show at the Fargo Theatre. We’re still pinching ourselves. All it took was an invitation gaff taped to his bus door. We knew it was a long shot, but it really paid off we’d say. We even got it back with corrected lyrics and a big gold signature!”
A video made of the moment can be seen below.