24 June 1999
Independence Stampede, Greeley, CO
Often mistaken as a European band attempting to compete in the lucrative markets of Late '70s/Early '80s progressive/tech/jazz rock, harvested by likes of Yes, Asia, ELP, etc., Kansas is, and has always been, a strange mix of diverse musicians, based out of, yes, Topeka, KS, with unusual musical travels in their 25 year history.
Not many recording acts have been able to market a mix of synthesizers, acoustic guitars, and violins in one package, let alone sell millions of records doing it. Though an obvious influence on the 90's alternative outfit, the Jayhawks, the group Kansas can safely hold onto a unique niche in Rock and Roll history.
Thankfully, today's Kansas lineup includes 4 of their original members, including singer/vocalist Steve Walsh, and violinist Robby Steinhardt. Selections for the evening included "Fight Fire With Fire", easily the most powerful track of the evening. No "Point of Know Return", however.
"Dust In The Wind", featuring authentic acoustic picking by Richard Williams, evoked images of life-long struggles, and perhaps even the Dustbowl era of the early part of this century.
The encore featured a lengthy, if not too far drawn out, "Carry On Wayward Son"
As many bands hit the road for reunion tours, many, such as Kansas, bookmark the timeless quality of the 70's, perhaps the most badgered, if not underrated, segment of the modern era of popular music.
[***] - Steven T.
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