On a semi-rainy October night, a band from Topeka, Kansas, who came out in the early seventies, ruled Heinz Hall in Pittsburgh, PA.
After a little over forty years Kansas can still rock a full house. An intimate setting of a symphony hall like Heinz the sound is truly fantastical. When a band is considered legendary, expectations are set very high, no disappointments from Kansas. Songs like Dust in the Wind and Carry on my Wayward Son is what most people know Kansas but then there are more songs like Wheels and Point of No Return that had the audience grooving.
The evening began with an acoustic set that is something not to be missed. It is just the guys in the band at the front of the stage sitting on stools playing instruments and singing. It is that simple. It shows the true talent that is Kansas.
The acoustic set is about twenty-five minutes and it is better than an opening band. This is not easy, a stripped-down show is always great, but when the same band is going from acoustic to plugged in rock then the talent is shown. Kansas is out for their fortieth anniversary tour and being able to bring an acoustic set into the show is a performance that is worthy of its own concert. No one needs to be a fan of their music to really enjoy this show. It is all about the music with them. Anyone can be a fan of a band and that is wonderful, but to be a fan of music is really where the magic happens. Songs through the acoustic set included Refugee, Hope Once Again and the beautiful Hold On which brought the crowd to their feet.
The acoustic set brings along an intimacy that can be lacking in rock ’n’ roll. Keeping the stage and the back drop simple and using lights, the band relies on their talent to bring music to the masses. Blues, reds, greens, purples, and white is what lights the performance with a feeling for the music. The feels come when the first note is played, and that tingle is felt all the way into your soul. Kansas is good at finding that first chord to hit that soul spot.
After a standing ovation for the acoustic set, you begin to wonder how can a band top that, well Kansas did. Roaring drums, powerhouse vocals, incredible guitars, smooth keyboards, beautiful bass, an amazing violin, this is the solution for great rock. The backdrop going from simply saying Kansas to the Point of No Return cover art is lovely illuminated by lights. The stage is simple, and it is completely about the fans hearing the music.
Kansas has a charm on stage where you feel like the music is just for you and no one else is around. The music is alive, and the production of this tour is what makes the music shine. Songs like Taking in the View, Portrait (He Knew), Point of No Return, and Nobody’s Home is notable to create a memory no matter how many times you have seen the band. At this concert there were not only the fans who has been there since the beginning in the seventies, but you see their kids and their grandkids as well. It is music that truly stands the test of time. Dust in the Wind brought the crowd together in singing along.
This is a song that has been played well over two million times over the radio. It is a song that I’ve heard played at funerals, it is a song that can bring hope, it is a song that brings people together. There is a tear in my eye when I heard it live tonight, it gave me major feels, just hearing others around me singing and swaying to the music of this song, it is one of those concerts that I will not ever forget. The encore was one of the most notable and memorable songs of all times- Carry on my Wayward Son!
This song had the audience on their feet singing the lyrics an enjoying every moment. The Kansas classic. A classic song to end a classic night. A standing ovation and a huge roar from the crowd of appreciation is the end to the concert. These music fans are the people that make the band do what they do so well. A thank you from the band to the audience and a thank you from the audience to the band equals a beautiful rocking night.
Longevity in this present time is unusual for rock bands or any other bands. Seeing how a band has survived the past forty some years through their music and still out on the road, well let’s face it forty years from now some of the bands that are successful right now will not be around. It is magical that certain bands from the seventies are still rocking and selling out. The fans are die hard and they know good music.
In a world filled where anyone can put music out into the world thanks to technology, it is more special when bands like Chicago and Kansas showcase their talents by still touring. These are the nights that memories are made of. Rock ‘n’ roll is not dead.
•People of the South Wind
•Hope Once Again
•Songs for America
•Cold Grey Morning
•Two Cents Worth
•Taking in the View
•Miracles out of Nowhere
•Mysteries and Mayhem/ Lamplight Symphony
•Point of No Return
•Portrait (He Knew)
•Dust in the Wind
•Sparks of the Tempest