On a muggy spring night, one of the original progressive rock bands, Kansas, bring a marathon set to the elegant Arlington Theatre in downtown Santa Barbara, LA. Despite two of the original members, drummer Phil Ehart and Guitarist Rich Williams being close to their respective 70th birthdays, the group perform a spectacular two and half hour non-stop set.

The band begin with a five-song acoustic set and eventually tear through songs from their catalogue of fifteen albums released over five decades. The current tour features a second set of songs from the 1977 double platinum record ‘Point of Know Return’. Inexplicably, the band don’t take a break between the two extended sets, powering straight through to the end. In the age of ADD millennials, the idea of a two and a half hour set by a pop group is almost unthinkable. The feat was all the more remarkable considering that lead singer, with the band since 2014 Ronnie Platt quipped early in the set, “This is our fourth show in less than a week.”

The band also features bassist and sometimes lead vocalist Billy Greer who has served with the band since 1985 and violinist extraordinaire David Ragsdale who has been with the group on and off since 1991. The current line-up is rounded out by newcomers, second guitarist Zak Rizvi who has been with the band since 2016 and Tom Brislin on keyboards who just joined the band last year.

Beginning right on time with the band sans drummer Ehart pulling up chairs to start the show with a short acoustic set including ‘People Of The South Wind’, ‘Hope Once Again’, ‘Hold On’, ‘Refugee’ and ‘Lonely Wind’. As the final song of the acoustic set came to a close Ehart took up his drum position instantly increasing the volume and energy level in the cavernous theater.

The band then take up positions to launch a spectacular multimedia assault on the audience featuring explosive sound, beautiful lighting and tasteful backdrops representing various albums from the group’s portfolio. Songs came from decades of albums including, ‘Song For America’, ‘Summer’ and ‘Miracles Out Of Nowhere’. The outfit play even deeper cuts rarely heard live including ‘Cold Grey Morning’ from their 1995 album ‘Freaks Of Nature’ and ‘Wheels’ from the Kansas box set. Additional material in the opening set include the instrumental ‘Musicatto’ from the ‘Power’ album. Bassist Greer took over storytelling and lead vocals on ‘Taking In The View’ from the same LP, the first Kansas album he recorded with the band.

Without a break the band launch into the ‘Point of No Return’ album in its entirety including the mega-hit ‘Dust In The Wind’ plus epic jams from the disc including ‘Portrait (He Knew)’, ‘Closet Chronicles’, ‘Sparks Of The Tempest’, ‘Hopelessly Human’. Covering the album front to back, the set included songs from the album that had never been previously performed live.

After finally leaving the stage for a short break the band returned with an encore of their sing-along rock anthem ‘Carry On Wayward Son’. A lesson for a younger generation of musicians of what a concert performance should be, the entire show was a marathon jam of the band’s complete repertoire.


Photos by L. Paul Mann
www.lpaulmann.com

















Related Links:

https://en-gb.facebook.com/KansasBand/
https://twitter.com/KansasBand
https://www.kansasband.com/


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