Kansas -- Stroudsburg, PA -- February 21st, 2010
Wow, that's all I can say. For a bunch of guys their age, Kansas absolutely rule live. Unfortunately, I can't say quite the same for their audience, who were pretty damn dormant for pretty much the whole show. As usual, I'll get into all the details in order.
This show was original supposed to take place two weeks ago, but was postponed due to weather. Fortunately the band didn't make us wait that long to see them. We got up to Stroudsburg around 7:30. Unfortunately the venue was incredibly slow with getting people into the building, we probably didn't sit down until nearly 8pm, and about 10 minutes later, the opening act - Native Window hit the stage.
Now, for those who don't know, Native Window is in fact all current members of Kansas except for Steve Walsh - basically it's their way of still being able to create the music they want because Walsh wants to do something different. Their music is very melodic, a lot of hooks and catchy chorus with solid playing and great vocals from Billy Greer. Towards the end of their set they rocked it up a bit, but mostly it was midtempo melodic rock. I quite enjoyed their stuff - nearly picked up a CD afterwards, but I was a bit short on cash.
02.Still (We Will Go On)
03.The Way You Haunt Me
06.Blood in the Water
07.People of the South Wind (Kansas)
The turn-over was then naturally quite timely due to the fact that most of the guys used the same equipment - just had to uncover Phil Ehart's real drum kit and Steve Walsh's keyboards.
Kansas came on right at 9pm, and I was surprised from the very beginning - a cold start. No intro music, no introduction - the lights simply went down and the five guys walked out, and before we knew it, they were under way, choosing to kick off the set with the excellent 1-2-3 punch of Magnum Opus, Musicatto, and Belexes - which were superb and got a huge standing ovation from the crowd. After that it was time for the classic "Point of Know Return", followed by the SUPERB Miracles Out of Nowhere, which got another great response from the crowd.
At this point the band slowed things down for a while - first with a great rendition of "On the Other Side", which I thought was one of the highlights of the show overall. After that they had a special surprise (first of 3) - a song which had only been played live for the first time 2 days prior - "Stand Beside Me", off the In the Spirit of Things record. Not a song I'm terribly familiar with (same went for the crowd), but it was really cool. Next up were classic ballads "Hold On", and a surprisingly early "Dust in the Wind".
The remainder of the main set was just fucking rockin'. A godlike rendition of the epic "Song For America" was followed by the next two surprises - which the band had not played live in many years prior to two days ago - "Mysteries and Mayhem" and "Child of Innocence" off the Masque album. These tracks, as well as, in my opinion, the set highlight - "Icarus" showcased this bands amazing chops as well as their complete ability to kick ass with the best of them. These tracks performed live today give you an idea of amazing the Masque record was for 1975. After that the band gave us a great rendition of "Portrait (He Knew)", before leaving for a short break before the encore.
"Fight Fire With Fire" kicked off the encore on a fun and energetic note, only prolonging the tangible anticipation for the band's colossal "Carry On Wayward Son" - one of those rare occasions when a band's biggest hit is actually a fucking great song. At this point everyone rushed the stage and I went from my 8th row seat to standing front row right in front of bassist/vocalist Billy Greer. The next 5 minutes were pure rock n' roll bliss - showcasing this tune's power and enduring quality, seeing THREE generations of fans digging it. Sadly this would mean the end of the show, and after their goodbyes, the band took their leave.
So - all in all, a superb show, complete with one of the best sound mixes I've ever heard. As I said, for a bunch of guys their age, Kansas still completely fucking rock and the impact their sound had on progressive metal in decades to come is unmistakable. In hindsight they didn't play some songs I would've liked to hear, but the handful of rarities made up for this, and it was still a GREAT show, so mistakes are forgiven.
01.Magnum Opus: Overture/Howling At the Moon
04.Point of Know Return
05.Miracles Out of Nowhere
06.On the Other Side
07.Stand Beside Me
09.Dust in the Wind
10.Song For America
11.Mysteries and Mayhem
12.Child of Innocence
13.Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel
14.Portrait (He Knew)
15.Fight Fire With Fire
16.Carry On Wayward Son