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Kansas: Two For the Show (remaster)

Kansas fans have to be pretty stoked by this long time coming reissue/remaster of their masterful 1978 live album Two For the Show. Not only did Epic/Legacy remaster this thing, and put back in the song "Closet Chronicles" which was left off the original CD release, but Disc 2 contains a whole host of other songs recorded from that tour, which were never on the original double album, making this now the ultimate live Kansas document from their classic era. Disc 1 is obviously very familiar to fans, as you get a mix of their prog rock side ("Song For America", "Journey From Mariabronn", "The Wall", and "Magnum Opus"), the hits ("Carry On Wayward Son", "Point of Know Return", and "Dust In the Wind") and their hard rock tendencies ("Icarus-Borne of Wings of Steel", "Portrait (He Knew)", and "Mysteries and Mayhem").

Over on to Disc 2, we see plenty of classic nuggets from the Kansas back catalog, played with lots of energy in the live format. "Belexes" (wait till you hear this one!!), "Child of Innocence", "Miracles Out of Nowhere", "Cheyenne Anthem", and "Hopelessly Human" especially are quite amazing, and the band dials in an especially bluesy/metal version of "Down the Road", Livgren & Williams' guitars thundering all the way. Throw in a wild Phil Ehart drum solo, which segues into the incredible instrumental "The Spider", plus the re-inserted "Closet Chronicles" (one of my personal favorite songs from Point of Know Return) and you have what was once a great live album, now even better.

The packaging is a enviro-friendly cardboard digipack (no plastic) that recreates the original album, adorned with all the live shots, and a packed booklet with history & info about the album, and more live photos. The sound? Well, it's pretty superb, but I will warn you that this is one of those FBI Piracy Protected CD's, so you might not be able to play it on some CD systems or computers.

Otherwise, pretty damn essential, no matter how you look at it.

Track Listing
CD 1
1. Song for America
2. Point of Know Return
3. Paradox
4. Icarus -- Borne on the Wings of Steel
5. Portrait (He Knew)
6. Carry on Wayward Son
7. Journey from Mariabronn
8. Dust in the Wind [Acoustic Guitar Solo]
9. Lonely Wind
10. Mysteries and Mayhem
11. Excerpt from Lamplight Symphony
12. The Wall
13. Magnum Opus
CD 2
1) Hopelessly Human
2) Child of Innocence
3) Belexes
4) Cheyenne Anthem
5) Miracles Out of Nowhere
6) Drum Solo/The Spider
7) Closet Chronicles
8) Down the Road
9) Sparks of the Tempest
10) Bringing It Back

Added: June 2nd 2009
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Kansas Website
Hits: 4695
Language: english

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Kansas: Two For the Show (remaster)
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2009-06-02 11:44:33
My Score:

In 1978 Kansas released "Two For The Show" which was a double vinyl live recording that truly captured an exceptional band at their best. The original recording was done during the tour that supported their album "Point Of Know Return" and it would be the first such release for the band but one that found them at what seemed to be the peak of their career with numerous hits already under their belt and support of mainstream Rock radio very much behind them. In order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of this release Epic/Legacy not only gave it a fantastic remastering job but also dug deep into the vaults for additional music which allowed the means for a full second CD to be included with it. In the end this made the full release now possess twenty four tracks and come off as what seemed to be a full show of the band. The first CD featured thirteen tracks and such juggernaut songs like "Song For America", "Point Of No Return" and of course "Carry On Wayward Son" while the second disc features eleven more tracks from the gig. The interesting thing for the fans is that of these eleven tracks, only "Closet Chronicles" had been heard before on the original vinyl while the other ten were as yet unreleased gems from the bands repertoire performed on this tour. Another point of interest in that "Closet Chronicles" was omitted from the initial release of this CD and that has thankfully been rectified for the remaster. I must admit that my own exposure to Kansas during my youth was primarily focused around the bands hits which were all mainstays on Classic Rock and conventional Pop radio stations of the time because back then these were the kind of bands that one could easily find at the turn of a dial. Try finding the band easily in today's realm and all you will hear is commercial drivel. The members of the band who recorded these selections are Phil Ehart (drums), Kerry Livgren (keyboards/guitars), Robby Steinhardt (violin/vocals), Dave Hope (bass), Steve Walsh (vocals/keyboards), and Rich Williams (guitar). Collectively the tracks do NOT come from a single performance are instead compiled from various shows over the span of three tours from 1977-1978.

The band sounds so good during this concert that it will no doubt make the older fans pine for these long gone days as while still touring every so often, this lineup is no longer in place with members like Steinhardt and Livgren doing other things in their musical lives nowadays. Since so many songs are new the listener ears because of the uncovered gems, the best way to listen to this one is as a single Rock concert and I think should you take my advice and choose to do this that you will not argue with me about the suggestion. It amounts to a superb greatest hits of the band from their beginnings to the time of the initial release when it comes down to it, and with these are their most profound years it is the best way to get an education into just how influential the band was to the Progressive Rock genre. For the packaging the band has gone "green" and delivered this album in a cardboard foldout digipak as opposed to a jewel case and when you open it you see all of the original artwork and photos that appeared on the original album. There is a booklet included that features new liner notes and interview commentary about the release by Jeb Wright of "Classic Rock Revisted" and it's a great way to better understand what was involved in recording this album and finding out the bands thoughts about the process once it had been done. You don't have to actually be a Kansas fan to enjoy this one but I admit that once you pop this one into your player and upload it to whatever device you carry around with you that you will be a diehard supporter based on the overall quality of what is presented here on these two CD's. Should you be one of those fans who only know the crucial tracks that were on the radio then this is the album for you most definitely and one that once purchased will find its way to regular spins in your stereo or on your music player.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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