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Kansas: There's Know Place Like Home (DVD)

Kansas keeps rolling right along after all these years they still have an appeal that reaches far beyond generation separation with a classic sound and tracks that everyone knows.

There's Know Place Like Home is a stunning live DVD recorded at Washburn University's White Concert Hall in the band's home Topeka Kansas. The 50-piece Washburn University Symphony Orchestra backs Kansas during this superb performance. In celebration of their first release 35 years ago, the group - which includes singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, guitarist Rich Williams, violinist David Ragsdale, bassist Billy Greer, and drummer Phil Ehart was united with former members Kerry Livgren (guitar/keyboards) and Steve Morse (guitar).

I was not too sure what to expect with this DVD, I only knew one thing; I wanted to see it once I heard it was coming out! It was worth the wait as this DVD was excellent and just blew me away. The production is brilliant and the recording outstanding. You can catch a piece of it here for to see for yourself :

Everyone in the band looks great; they all seem healthy and happy. I noticed how much healthier guitarist Richard Williams looked and he definitely shed some pounds. Steve Walsh sounds great, he still does not have the range he once did but with Billy Greer's soaring vocals behind him, the combination is fantastic and it more than makes up for what Steve has lost over the years. Billy has a great rock voice and is fine bass player. You can check him out in other projects like this year's Native Window (check out their excellent self-titled release) or Seventh Key. Native Window is actually Kansas without Steve Walsh and they opened for Kansas at concerts this year.

You get 19 tracks on this DVD including a great light show and a warm hometown atmosphere, making for a fantastic and memorable keepsake for all Kansas fans. The combination of Kansas music with a full orchestra is nothing short of breathtaking. Their music is perfect for this kind of show; it blends prog and symphonic rock and takes it to the next level in a live setting. What makes it even more of a treat is the appearance of founding member Kerry Livgren (guitar) and Steve Morse (guitar). At the end of the DVD, they include a bonus track "Down The Road" (Afternoon Jam) where they taped a sound check that turned into an all out jam session, it is a resounding display of musical acumen and fusion on one stage.

They cover a lot of ground from the Kansas archives spanning over three decades. Songs like the instrumental "Musicatto" shows the audience how complex their music can be and with what precision they reproduce it, ever reminding you of what great musicians each member of the band is, and continue to be. They play all lot of great music from the past including "Song For America", "Point of Know Return", "Hold On", well the list goes on and on. Then to wind down the show down properly they play their mega hits "Dust In The Wind" and "Carry On Wayward Son".

It is nice to get a DVD that goes far beyond any expectations you may have and this one did it for me. A most impressive performance and production from a band that is still relevant and fresh after all these years.

Track Listing
01. Howling At The Moon
02. Belexes
03. Point Of No Return
04. Song For America
05. On The Other Side
06. Musicatto
07. Ghosts/Rainmaker
08. Nobody's Home
09. Hold On
10. Cheyenne Anthem
11. Icarus II
12. Icarus: Borne On The Wings Of Steel
13. Miracles Out Of Nowhere
14. Incommudro
15. The Wall
16. Fight Fire With Fire
17. Dust In The Wind
18. Carry On Wayward Son
19. Down The Road

Added: February 22nd 2010
Reviewer: Keith Hannaleck
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2430
Language: english

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Kansas: There's Know Place Like Home (DVD)
Posted by Pete Pardo, SoT Staff Writer on 2010-02-22 17:54:57
My Score:

Despite the fact that there's been no new music coming from the Kansas camp in quite some time (save for some solo albums and side projects), if the band can still churn out inspiring live sets like this new 35th Anniversary celebrationThere's Know Place Like Home, it's hard to get angry at the progressive rock legends. Featuring a full orchestra and surprise appearances from Kerry Livgren & Steve Morse, this DVD (and companion CD as well) includes a nice cross section of material from throughout the band's career, played to perfection. Lead singer & keyboard player Steve Walsh is in better form vocally here than any other live recording over the last 15 years, roaring with fire and passion on such classics as "Song For America", "Carry On Wayward Son", "Dust in the Wind", "Hold On", and "Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel". Though Robbie Steinhardt is missed, his replacement David Ragsdale as always does a fine job on violin and occasional rhythm guitar, his soaring lead violin just a pleasure to hear on "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and the classic "Belexes". Livgren joins the band for a few songs, and especially rips it up on a supercharged version of "Carry On Wayward Son". Mr. Morse lends his mercurial talents to a wild "Musicatto" and "Ghosts/Rainmaker", and also adds second violin to "Dust in the Wind". Of course, there's also "The Wall", "Howling at the Moon", "Cheyenne Anthem", "On the Other Side", "Point of Know Return" get the picture. Each song played here is a classic in its own right, and the band show how they can still do these songs justice. There's even "Fight Fire With Fire" from the John Elefante days, and though Walsh can't quite hit the high notes on that one, he gives it a great attempt and is helped out on backing vocals by bassist Billy Greer. Check out the bonus live rehearsal jam with all the musicians tearing it up on "Down the Road", which is a real treat.

Sound and visuals are top notch here, and the crowd obviously was hanging on every note. The DVD is housed in an interesting smaller digibook package with some great photos, and for those that like to take the music with them, the separate CD set will be nice to have as well.

Now, let's hope these guys can get to the studio sometime in the near future and give us some new material!

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