You can almost visualize the switch flipped when a band and their clan decide to go all the way and create, lovingly, a top-notch DVD. That’s what’s happened here, the centerpiece of this thing being a massive, 18 track concert in front of the fan club in a planetarium-type venue, complete with lasers, orchestra and huge choir. The sound is crunching and clear, the performances second nature but impassioned – Steve Walsh is inspiring to say the least – and the lighting, not the best, evoking a dim and grainy quality, a minor failure of the set. There are lots of extras to the thing as well, very professionally staged band interviews (including fresh insights from producer Jeff Glixman) split into three subject areas, the general reminiscing and the stuff on the big hits (you know them: there are two) causing warm and fuzzies, the DVD thoughts, a little self-indulgent, and then a better than average “Making Of” segment with more than the usual load-in, soundcheck stuff plus interview bits with behind-the-sceners.
Finally, there’s an awesome Animusic Preview which has to be seen to be believed – it is essentially quite thrilling computer animation of instruments playing themselves. Also, there’s a discography with fleeting Casey Kasem-type narration. This was an opportunity missed: they could have said a bunch more about each album. But back to the show. It is frightfully good, demonstrating the prowess of a band that stands alone as an anomaly, America’s only commercially successful pure progressive rock band, with all the soul-replenishing, happy-making characteristics of the greats in that British-dominated genre. A 2CD version of this once-in-a-lifetime show is also available and the main thrill for me on both formats is the inclusion of "Fight Fire With Fire" (botched chorus notwithstanding), the main disappointment, no "Everybody’s My Friend." See www.kansasband.com for more info.