This live release, recorded in 2016, sees Kansas tour their new (at the time) studio album, ‘The Prelude Implicit’ and also celebrate the 40th anniversary of one of their most celebrated offerings, ‘Leftoverture’. As one can imagine, for a band whose origins stem from the late 60s, there's been a lot of coming and going on the personnel front and the line-up on this release contains just two original members - drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams. The rest of the band consists of bassist Billy Greer, David Manion on keys, Ronnie Platt on vocals and keyboards, guitarist Zak Rizvi and, providing the band's signature violin sound, David Ragsdale, who has also guested on compositions by Smashing Pumpkins and Queensryche, amongst others.
The set for this performance, which features 19 tracks and runs for just under two hours across two CDs, comprises tracks from throughout the band's life, from 'Journey from Mariabronn' which is taken from their eponymous first album, released in 1974, up to the present(ish) day with three tracks from the aforementioned ‘The Prelude Implicit’; namely 'Rhythm in the Spirit', 'The Voyage of Eight Eighteen' and 'Section 60', a tribute to American services personnel who have given their lives for their country.
The tracks found on the first CD include, as you would probably expect, one of Kansas' two biggest hits in 'Dust in the Wind'. 'Carry On Wayward Son', being the other, features on the second CD. Both singles were massive successes in the 70s, selling more than a million copies each and becoming staples of classic rock radio.
The second CD, with the exception of the closing track, 'Portrait (He Knew)', which is taken from 1977's ‘Point of Know Return’, consists of a complete presentation of the previously mentioned ‘Leftoverture’, played in its original running order and concluding with the epic 'Magnum Opus'.
This release, musically somewhere between the two stools of pomp and prog rock, captures a confident and vibrant performance from a band that seem to be in the midst of something of a renaissance. The sound is full and detailed and highlights the capabilities of the various band members. If you're already familiar with the band's work, you may already own this first-rate release but, if not, you could do worse than to delve into this recording to begin your journey into Kansas...
LEFTOVERTURE LIVE & BEYOND
Review by Dave Uphill
59:30 & 57:13
3rd November 2017
DISC ONE: 1) Icarus II; 2) Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel; 3) Point of Know Return; 4) Paradox; 5) Journey from Mariabronn; 6) Lamplight Symphony; 7) Dust in the Wind; 8) Rhythm in the Spirit; 9) The Voyage of Eight Eighteen; 10) Section 60
DISC TWO: 1) Carry on Wayward Son; 2) The Wall; 3) What's on My Mind; 4) Miracles Out of Nowhere; 5) Opus Insert; 6) Questions of My Childhood; 7) Cheyenne Anthem; 8) Magnum Opus; 9) Portrait (He Knew)
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
"This release...captures a confident and vibrant performance from a band that seem to be in the midst of something of a renaissance."