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Two legends merge

Merle Haggard with Kris Kristofferson
Northern Lights Theater
Milwaukee, WI
March 2, 2011
Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson
Merle Haggard & Kris Kristofferson

Story and photos by Jen Bronenkant

Unceremoniously taking the stage alone, Kris Kristofferson opened the show with "Shipwrecked in the Eighties" which he dedicated to our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. He then introduced Merle Haggard who picked up the pace with "Ramblin' Fever". From there the duo treated the audience to a collection of some of the greatest country songs ever written.

Both men shared the stage during the entire performance and were was backed by Haggard's band The Strangers which now includes Haggard's young son Ben on lead guitar.

The small venue was perfect for the intimate performance inviting a relaxed atmosphere between these legends and the audience. One really could feel that you were just relaxing with a couple of old friends. The duo peppered the performance with light banter and some favorite old jokes. Kris even had a little fun changing some of the words to Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee". The sold out crowd ate it up.

With the exception of Haggard's performance of the Johnny Cash classic "Folsom Prison Blues", the show was entirely made up of hits from the impressive catalogs of the two stars. Haggard closed with "I Am What I Am" from his latest album of the same name. It is a simple statement of who the man is now. Thank you Hag, we're glad you are what you are.

Time may have weathered the faces of these two legends but their performance in Milwaukee left no doubt as to why they became legends in the first place.

Milwaukee Set List:
1. Shipwrecked in the Eighties - Kristofferson
2. Ramblin' Fever - Haggard
3. Silver Wings - Haggard
4. The Pilgrim: Chapter 33 - Kristofferson
5. I Think I'll Just Stay Here and Drink - Haggard
6. Workin' Man's Blues - Haggard
7. Always Late (With Your Kisses) - Haggard
8. Loving Her Was Easier
(Than Anything I'll Ever Do Again) - Kristofferson
9. It's Been a Great Afternoon - Haggard
10. White Line Fever - Haggard
11. Nobody Wins - Kristofferson
12. Sing Me Back Home - Haggard
13. Help Me Make It Through The Night - Kristofferson
14. The Silver Tongued Devil And I - Kristofferson
15. The Way I Am - Haggard
16. If We Make It Through December - Haggard
17. Me and Bobby McGee - Kristofferson
18. Mama Tried - Haggard
19. Runaway Mama - Haggard
20. For The Good Times - Kristofferson
21. Today I Started Loving You Again - Haggard
22. Okie From Muskogee - Haggard
23. Folsom Prison Blues - Haggard
24. Why Me Lord - Kristofferson
25. Sunday Morning Coming Down - Kristofferson
26. I Am What I Am - Haggard

Related articles:

Willie Nelson / Kris Kristofferson - Concert review - Rosemont, IL - Feb. 2010
Merle Haggard (Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival) - Photo gallery - Manchester, TN - June 2009
Merle Haggard - Hag's Christmas - Album review - Dec. 2007
Kris Kristofferson - Country Music Television Awards - Apr. 2007
Willie Nelson / Merle Haggard / Ray Price - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Mar. 2007
Bob Dylan / Merle Haggard & the Strangers - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI - Apr. 2005
Kris Kristofferson (SxSW Festival '04 ) - Concert review - Austin, TX - Mar. 2004
Concertlivewire's Top Ten Concerts of 2003
Interview with Country Music Legend Merle Haggard - May 2003
Merle Haggard & The Strangers - Concert review - Elgin, IL - Apr. 2003

Merle Haggard
Merle Haggard
Kris Kristofferson
Kris Kristofferson
Haggard/Kristofferson Haggard/Kristofferson

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