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Kansas - There´s Know Place Like Home (DVD) CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.58 | 57 ratings

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Symphonic Team
5 stars There's know band like Kansas!

I am honoured to be the first person to review this amazing live document by one of the major progressive Rock bands (or should I say the major American progressive Rock band?). Kansas performs here in their home town of Topeka, Kansas to a naturally devoted audience. They deservedly get a standing ovation after virtually every song! The band performs here with The Washburn University Symphony Orchestra. While I'm usually not too fond of these orchestra/band performances, there are some exceptions like Yes' Symphonic Live and the present one. One of the usual problems with such performances is that the orchestra tends to overshadow the band. This was indeed one of the problems that haunted Always Never The Same, which was Kansas previous attempt at orchestra/band fusion. There's Know Place Like Home is an entirely different dimension, I assure you; this is primarily a band performance enhanced with an orchestra rather than an orchestra with a band in front.

In most respects, There's Know Place Like Home is everything that the band's precious DVD release, Device Voice Drum, was not; while the set lists are similar, this is the definitive Kansas video release. Steve Walsh's vocal performance here is, for example, vastly improved compared to the Device Voice Drum DVD, where his voice showed considerable strain. Here he very wisely constrains himself and avoids hitting those notes that he now knows that he can no longer manage. He will never be back to his old self again, of course, but if you're looking for utter perfection you should listen to the original studio albums. He does a remarkable performance here despite some slight wear and tear that comes with age.

The violin is played by David Ragsdale and he does a fantastic job. I do miss Robbie Steinhardt, but mainly his vocals in Cheyenne Anthem that is not quite the same without him even if bassist Billy Greer does a more than decent job handling Robbie's vocal parts. Phil Ehart and Rich Williams are as good as ever on drums and guitars respectively. We also get to see two heavyweight guests in Steve Morse and (Mr. Kansas himself) Kerry Livgren on a few songs.

The set list is simply incredible. Song For America, Cheyenne Anthem, Icarus: Borne On The Wings Of Steel and Miracles Out Of Nowhere are all classics of progressive Rock, while Carry On Wayward Son, Dust In The Wind, The Wall and Point Of Know Return are not only classics of progressive Rock but of Rock full stop. The lyrics to Dust In The Wind are very moving and captures something deeply and universally human. All of us, including the song's author, will one day be nothing but "dust in the wind", but the song itself will live forever. As will the memory of this amazing band.

The only two Kansas albums that are not represented in this set list are Vinyl Confessions and Freaks Of Nature! Hence, for those who gave up on Kansas and stopped buying their albums after the classic period that culminated with Point Of Know Return and the live album Two For The Show, this DVD will be a great place to rekindle the flame and be introduced to some of the very good songs the band did beyond that point. The very best of these is Icarus II from the 2000 album Somewhere To Elsewhere. This song is every bit as great as the classic material from the 70's!

On The Other Side and Hold On represents the Monolith and Audio-Visions albums respectively which were the last two albums before Steve Walsh (temporarily) left the band while Fight Fire With Fire represents the John Elefante-era. These late 70's/early 80's albums were hardly the best, but they had some good material on them. Songs like Hold On and Fight Fire With Fire are perhaps not the Prog fans' favourites, but I'm certain that we all would have happily sung a long to these songs too, had we been there, I know I would! Thus, no song is out of place here (like The Preacher on Device Voice Drum, for example).

The underrated Steve Morse-era is represented with Musicatto from Power and a medley of Ghosts/Rainmaker from In The Spirit Of Things. Musicatto is a great guitar number, enhanced here with violin, and Ghosts sends chills down my spine every time! There's Know Place Like Home is the perfect companion piece to the classic 1978 live album Two For The Show. Naturally, there is a considerable overlap in the track lists of these two live releases but there are also several great songs that are only present on one but not the other of these releases. Nobody's Home is as notable for its absence on Two For The Show as it is for its presence here, for example. While Two For The Show was Kansas' Yessongs or Seconds Out, There's Know Place Like Home is Kansas answer to Yes' Symphonic Live DVD.

This is simply a great live document that puts Kansas "on the map" for generations to come. Even when the band will be dead and gone, this performance will be available to be enjoyed for decades or centuries, or millennia for that matter!

This DVD is essential for both hard core Kansas fans and near beginners. There is, of course, no doubt about the rating here. A live video masterpiece!

SouthSideoftheSky | 5/5 |


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