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Progressive Rock DVD/Video Reviews

Kansas

There’s Know Place Like Home DVD

Review by Greg Olma

I can’t believe that Kansas is 35 years old.  I remember first getting Leftoverture when it came out and that is 33 years ago.  How time flies.  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate a history anniversary than to document it on DVD.  Anyone who purchased their last DVD called Device-Voice-Drum will know that when Kansas does something, they do it right.  For this historic hometown show, the band filled out their sound by having the Washburn University Symphony Orchestra accompany them during the whole show.  This is nothing new for Kansas but it was great that they did that for this DVD since many people might not have caught them on the Symphony Tour they did quite a few years ago.  The song selection for this show could not have been better.  The band touched on almost every studio record except Vinyl Confessions or Freaks Of Nature.  Other than those 2 omissions, you get tracks right from the beginning Like “Belexes” from their self titled album all the way through to “Icarus II” from the criminally overlooked Somewhere To Elsewhere.  Naturally most of the concert was culled from Leftoverture and Point Of Know Return but that doesn’t mean that they only picked the hits.  Tunes like “Miracles Out Of Nowhere” and “Nobody’s Home” were trotted out for this event but have been absent from recent set lists.  For this show, they even had Steve Morse come by and play on some of the tracks that were included from his tenure with the band.  “Musicatto” and “Ghosts/Rainmaker” sounded much better in this live setting and made me break out those older releases to reacquaint myself with them.  Kerry Livgren also made it this anniversary which was great because of his big contribution to Kansas.  Sadly, Robbie Steinhardt was absent for some reason.  David Ragsdale has been with the band on and off for a while and he does a great job but it would have been nice to see Steinhardt make an appearance.

 

As far as the visuals go, I can not recommend this DVD highly enough.  It is expertly shown with many different camera angles and panning shots.  What I like most is that they spared no expense for a good light show.  They made sure to keep things dramatic and dark without bleaching out the stage with white lights.  Too often producers take away the concert experience by making the show brighter than it really was; making it less “colorful” and taking away any of the drama from the lighting.  That was not done on Device-Voice-Drum and it was not done here either.  This DVD is short on bonus material with only “Down The Road” played at soundcheck added to the main release.  Normally, I might have a bit of a complaint about that but with the main feature being as good as it is, not having much in bonus material is not a big deal.  I am noticing a large number of younger fans attending shows by classic rock bands so I think this release is perfect for them.  I would recommend it over any greatest hits package because I think visually Kansas is where you see their true talents.  If you are a fan already, I am not saying anything new and you probably have this DVD but for the younger or casual fan, get it.  It is a feast for the eyes and ears.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2010  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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