Friday, December 18, 2009
Kansas Live DVD – There’s No Place Like Home
Kansas are a strange band that seem to pull in an even amount of fans of both AOR and Prog rock alike, but it seems, that they are just not as successful as bands they are often compared to or named alongside.
There’s no doubting their abilities whatsoever and here we are 35 years on from the album Kansas and to these ears, they still sound great!
The music on display here also hugely benefits from having the excellent Washburn University Symphony Orchestra backing them, along with former players Steve Morse and Kerry Livgren.
Wall of sound? You betcha! This was indeed a special night.
Opening with Howling At The Moon, it’s clear from the start that Steve Walsh’ voice still has it and throughout, the shared vocal workload with his former Streets band mate Billy Greer (Bass/Vocals) and David Ragsdale (Violin/Guitar/vocals) is well delivered. This long term current line up is completed by Rich Williams (Guitar) and original member, Phil Ehart on drums.
Harmony vocals alongside the intricate, yet often hook laden music that Kansas present, is a huge part of what this band is all about and there is no shortage of it here.
Belexes follows before the excellent Point Of Know Return, then the multi layering of Song For America and On The Other Side. Class stuff!
Steve Morse then joins them for Musicatto, a chance to share with Kansas fans what they’re missing from his playing and what he’s missing by moving onto Purple. Dare I say he’s on the verge of almost shredding with his playing here, but that’s not a slight on him, as it’s all precise, clear and well …, WOW!
Then you can’t take anything away from Rich Williams with his interplay with David Ragsdale throughout this show. Simply phenomenal is almost an understatement.
I have to say that personally, I’m more your AOR fan and for me, my Kansas favorites are perhaps the more obvious in previously mentioned, Point Of Know Return, On The Other Side, Fight Fire With Fire, Dust In the Wind and course, Carry On Wayward Son all present here. That said, I love the prog rock side too, in stuff like Musicatto, Icarus 2, Ghosts / Rainmaker and the The Wall alongside so much more here.
Kerry Livgren is something else too, a much missed character and player, his presence during Hold On, Dust In The Wind and Carry On …, are all too clear. Seriously, this is an excellent performance.
Bottom Line here: An excellent live DVD, great sound, mix and production thanks to Jeff Glixman, Jim Gentile and the band. The lighting spectacular too, no flash lasers, just well used at specific time and the crowd? Well, the show was in Kansas, this was a serious homecoming if you will.
If you want to discover a little Kansas and have been sat on the fence, I strongly recommend this to find out more about this often much overlooked band.
Carry on you wayward sons!
Howling At The Moon
Point Of Know Return
Song For America
On The Other Side
Ghosts / Rainmaker
Icarus: Borne On Wings Of Steel
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
Fight Fire With Fire
Dust In The Wind
Carry On Wayward Son
Bonus Track: Down The Road.