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Kansas: Leftoverture Live & Beyond
Leftoverture Live & Beyond is the first live performance album from veteran Proggers Kansas for some eight years and with the excellent There's Know Place Like Home featuring a symphony orchestra alongside the band, you have to reach back another seven years to 2002's Device Voice Drum to find another on stage performance release that is 'just' Kansas. That says many things about the veteran outfit in an age when live releases are ten-a-penny, whether it be the stop start nature of what's happened in between, or indeed the actual (from reading reviews) standard of what was being served up by some long term band members. However, with a rejuvenated line-up and excellent new studio album under their belt Kansas are back and in triumphant fashion. Celebrating not just the release of last year's The Prelude Implicit, but also 2016's 40th anniversary of the band's seminal Leftoverture album, there are many reasons to get excited.
Split into two 'sets', the first portion of the show is a run through of fan favourites and some new cuts, with everything from the sublime "Icarus II" and "Point Of Know Return" to the excellent new material such as "Rhythm In The Spirit", "The Voyage Of Eight Eighteen" and the moving "Section 60" displayed in fine style. The band's line-up has undoubtedly evolved over the years and no less so than recent times, but old heads and new alike handle the songs with love, care and an energy that belies their age (both musicians and the songs!). For some the lack of a Walsh or a Livgren may diminish this experience somewhat, but the truth is that Kansas sound as good here as they ever have and you really need to take your hat off to Rich Williams and Phil Ehart for surrounding themselves with a group of musicians as talented and sensitive as they have; the material handled with love, but never too reverentially. Old hand David Ragsdale is in mighty violin form, adding the splashes of colour so vital to this band's sound, while Zak Rizvi combines with Williams superbly on guitar. David Manion's keyboard work both leads from the front and meshes brilliantly with Ehart's percussion and Billy Greer's sublime bass work, adding boldness, beauty and the band's base. But what of the singer I hear you ask? A quick listen to an impassioned "Dust In The Wind" will assure you that Ronnie Platt is not only a hugely talented vocalist, but perfect for this role.
'Set two' is a straight run through of Leftoverture, with the opening "Carry On My Wayward Son" still as mighty as ever, which can also be said for, well, pretty much all of it, the crowd responding to what is a classic album performed in stunning style. Closing the set with "Portrait (He Knew)" from Point Of Know Return, it's really hard to pick fault with any aspect of this release. The setlist contains a host of fan favourites, picks out the best of an excellent new album and there's, arguably, the band's finest moment captured from start to finish. It all sounds fresh and relevant but still faithful and reassuring. In short this is excellent and if you have even a passing interest in Kansas, you need to have it.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Icarus II
3. Point of Know Return
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
11. Carry On Wayward Son
12. The Wall
13. What's on My Mind
14. Miracles out of Nowhere
15. Opus Insert
16. Questions of My Childhood
17. Cheyenne Anthem
18. Magnum Opus
19. Portrait (He Knew)
Added: November 11th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Kansas online
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|Kansas: Leftoverture Live & Beyond
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2017-11-11 09:31:41
Though Kansas have a slew of live albums to their credit over the course of their 45 plus year career, their late '70s platter Two For the Show has long been considered their best. Now with the release of Leftoverture Live & Beyond, which not only documents 40 years of Leftoverture, but also the recent release of their new solo album The Prelude Implicit and their revamped, new line-up. With new vocalist & keyboard player Ronnie Platt, guitarist Zak Rizvi, and keyboard player David Manion joining mainstays Billy Greer, David Ragsdale, and founders Phil Ehart & Rich Williams, the current version of Kansas is a fiery prog-rock machine ready and able to dig deep into their back catalog and tackle many fan favorites from throughout their long career. On this 2CD set, the band play their required favorites such as "Dust in the Wind", "Point of Know Return", "Paradox", and "Journey from Mariabronn", but also dust out "Icarus" and "Icarus II", "Lamplight Symphony", "Portrait (He Knew)", as well as a few standout tracks from Prelude Implicit, like "Rhythm in the Spirit", "The Voyage of Eight Eighteen", and "Section 60", which fit in the set just fine. Disc 2 brings the entire Leftoverture album, allowing "The Wall", "What's On My Mind", "Opus Insert", and "Questions of My Childhood" to come alive on stage alongside perennial favorites "Carry on Wayward Son", "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Magnum Opus". Platt sounds great throughout, and hearing Kansas in full two-guitar and two-keyboard mode again is a thing of beauty.
If you haven't followed Kansas in a number of years, they are still alive and well and a force to be reckoned with. An essential live album here in 2017!
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