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Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

  by L. Paul Mann

published: 31 / 10 / 2017

Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017


L Paul Mann watches an anniversary tour show from one of America's most successful progressive rock bands that manages to be both overpowering and intimate.

Kansas, one of the most successful American rock bands to come out of the 1970s, brought their progressive rock jam sounds to the opulent Thousand Oaks Civic Center on Wednesday September 13. The marathon performance featured no less than 24 songs in a nonstop show that stretched nearly three hours into the late summer evening. The Fred Kavli theater housed in the Center is a modern-day performance arts venue with luxurious seating, state of the art lighting and for this show an explosive sound system hoisted high above the crowd. The 1,800-seat theatre seemed like an intimate setting for what still somehow felt like an arena-style rock concert. Kansas are on tour to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the band's fourth album Leftoverture, originally released in 1976. The album included the group's first big hit single 'Carry On Wayward Son'. The band are celebrating their 44th year of music-making, with two of the original members in the line-up: drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams, with bassist Billy Greer having been in the band since their reformation in 1985. Violinist David Ragsdale joined the group in 1991 while singer and keyboard man Ronnie Platt took over lead singing duties in 2014 when the band's original lead singer Steve Walsh retired. The band also added a second keyboardist, David Manion, that same year. The current band is rounded out with a second guitarist, Zak Rizvi, who produced the band's last studio album, The Prelude Implicit, in 2016. The group began quietly with a five-song acoustic set sans drummer Ehart. The near-perfect acoustics of the impressive venue were prominently on display during the acoustic set with crisp, clear vocals and guitar sounds filling the theatre. The acoustic set included songs mostly from the band's 80s offerings such as 'Hold On" and 'Chasing Shadows'. Then Ehart joined the other six members of the band to create a wall of rocking jam band sounds for the rest of the night. The first electric set included a mix of some of the band's oldest songs including 'Dust In The Wind', mixed in with much of their latest album. Without leaving the stage, the band then launched into their final set of the night featuring the Leftoverture album in its entirety. The crowd then began to stand and sing along with the most well-known songs - 'Carry On Wayward Son' being a favourite. Kansas ended the marathon concert with an encore from the band's 1977 'Point of Know Return' album. Having begun their career as an experimental progressive rock band, creating monumental jams during their live concerts, the current Kansas lineup continues the band's legacy with brilliant musicianship and a testament that the music has stood the test of time.

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Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

Kansas - Civic Center, Thousand Oaks, 13/9/2017

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