Kansas @ The Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown 4/26/2024

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I have always regarded Kansas as a unique musical force. Surely, a band set with amazing players (in its original form as much as the band I saw last Friday at The Mayo Performing Arts Center, in Morristown), having churned out hits as well as progressive magnum opuses (or is that opusi?…and if you are a Kansas fan you will know how the term magnum opus fits in well here) they are one of a handful of progressive rock American rock bands (and now that I think about it maybe the only one) who could ever be said to have courted the same 70s popularity as their UK prog cousins, like a Pink Floyd, a Jethro Tull or a Genesis.

And they have survived, presently working their “Another Fork in the Road-50th Anniversary Tour” the band, which consists now of Ronnie Platt on lead vocals and keyboards, guitarist Rich Willims (the last man standing of original Kansas players playing this night), bassist/vocalist Dan McGowan who happened to step in to play with the band this night with only one day of rehearsals (imagine that, those freaking tunes are a bear-and-half for a bass player!), stalwart keyboardist and vocalist Tom Brislin, guitar maestro (and one of the band members I got to jaw a bit with post-show) NJ-guy Zak Rizvi, drummer Eric Holmquist sitting in for Phil Ehart, and violinist/guitarist/vocalist Joe Deninzon, who you might recall me speaking to here: Interview with Joe Deninzon – FU I’m from Jersey (fuimfromjersey.com)

Opening with “Belexes,” a tune coming from the first Kansas album, then “Point of Know Return,” “Play The Game Tonight,” and “Fight Fire With Fire,” we then got the one-two punch of one of my old time favorite Kansas songs “Icarus-Born on Wings of Steel,” (when I hooted and hollered at the twinkly first notes of this tune the lady next to me asked “How do even know what song it is?” To which I replied ,“This is a classic Kansas.”…Jeez some people. 😊) which the band then rolled into “Icarus 11.”

They hit “A Glimpse of Home,” from the album Monolith, a song guitarist Rich Williams hinted to me they had added to the set list this time when I interviewed him here (he didn’t exactly tell me what song it was that they were adding) and confirmed again this night at the after-show he found especially fun to play.

“Lonely Wind,” another deeper cut from their first album, was set in their middle-show acoustic set, which included (as expected) “Dust In The Wind.” A rockin’ “Down the Road,” dedicated to dearly departed ex-Kansas violinist/vocalist Robby Steinhardt, was yet another moment for Joe Deninzon to show what he does best (see the pic above of Joe and the author of this humble little review). Then we got the last three of the night, the first “The Wall,” (always my favorite from my favorite Kansas album Leftoverture) a fantastic “Miracles out of Nowhere,” then the expected encore of “Carry On Wayward Son.”

I saw first Kansas in 1978 at Madison Square Garden, they kicked ass then…they kick ass now.

Thanks guys.



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