Kansas at MPAC.
“Carry On Kansas”.
One of the great things about Kansas is that the band has many genres. progressive, alternative, country at times, as well as pop and of course rock and roll. The six musicians on stage tonight featured two original band members (Rich Williams and Phil Ehart). Under a spectacle of lights all evening, Kansas showed Morristown, N.J. exactly why its American- style boogie rock and complex symphonic arrangements with changing time signatures is both unique and resonant among its many fans. Kansas played for almost three hours tonight beginning with five acoustic numbers: “People of the South Wind” was a tight and heartfelt number, “Hold On” was a warm and sentimental song, “Memories Down the Line” was written by New Jersey native, keyboardist Tom Brislin, “Refugee” and Steve Walsh’s “Lonely Wind”.
Kansas hails from Topeka Kansas. In the band’s history they earned nine gold albums, three multi-platinum albums- Leftoveture, 4x, point of no Return 4x, and the Best of Kansas 4x, one platinum Monolith, one platinum Double live album (Two for the Show) and a million selling single “Dust in the Wind”. Kansas played to sold out arenas in the U.S., Europe and Japan. In 1995 “Carry on Wayward Sun” was second-most-played track on U.S. classic rock radio and number one in 1997.
The members of Kansas today feature: Phil Ehart, Rich Williams, Billy Greer, David Raysdale, Ronnie Platt and Tom Brislin. From 1970- 1973 in its early years several members merged with progressive rock group “White Clover” to form Kansas. 1974–79 saw a rise to national prominence with the self-titled debut album; 1976 “Leftoveture album and 1977 “Point of no Return”.
From 1980–84 the band began to experience creative tensions; with two of its band members becoming Born Again Christians, the music changed and was especially reflected in lyrics of their next three albums. “Hold On” would be the bands final album (until they briefly united in 1999–2000). It would be creative differences, however, that splintered the band. In 1997–2006 Robby Steinhardt returns. In 1998 the Band released “Always Never the Same”. It featured older songs as well as newer ones.” Somewhere to Elsewhere” was released in 2000 and it featured all original band members. With continued touring the band regained popularity. Ronnie Platt replaced Steve Walsch in 2014. In 2020 “The Absence of Presence”, a studio album was released with the hopes of a tour, however Covid 19 postponed the tour until 2022.
Kansas in its second set payed its classics; songs like “The Wall”, Throwing Mountains”, Song for America, “The Song the River Sang” and “miracles Out of Nowhere”. The entire third set was the album “Point of Know Return”; and ending with its encore: “Carry on Wayward Son”.
At times Kansas sounded like “Emerson, Lake and Palmer”, at other times they sounded like “Yes”. While the band was top form all evening, the two standouts were the deft keyboard playing of Tom Brislin and the vocals of Ronnie Platt. Brislin at times put on a clinic, he was pure showmanship as well as spectacular. Platt had wonderful range in all the songs sung that required effort. While many of Kansas song’s do not test his vocal cords, the ones that did, Platt was more than up to the task.
In a theater that was made for great acoustics, MPAC in all its splendor was the perfect venue to watch a legendary band like Kansas perform.
Kansas, Journey, Styx, The Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Boz Scaggs, Covid 19, MPAC, MJ The Musical, The Music Man.