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Kansas - Two for the Show CD (album) cover

TWO FOR THE SHOW

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 160 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Ivan_Melgar_M
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars A couple years ago I read a terrible review in a commercial magazine about Point of Know Return the guy who's name doesn't matter said this was a group of ignorant musicians who pretended to be virtuoso players but needed to learn a sixth note, of course I was furious but later I was laughing because obviously the poor guy never listened this live gem or most likely didn't had the capacity to understand it.

The place where you can really find if a musician is really good¿ is on stage, because studio recordings are full of overdubbing and technical tricks that correct mistakes and cover weakness, if you make a mistake there are many chances to repair it, a good engineer can make a mediocre artists sound pretty well, but in front of 15,000 souls is totally different, fans can turn into the most acid critics if the concert is they don't receive what they came for.

Kansas passed that test with an A+, Two for the Show is one of the best live albums I ever heard, arrangements are perfect, the sound is clear and Kansas members prove they are the talented musicians we heard in earlier albums without any help or correction.

Another good point is that they recorded an excellent track list with songs that can be considered among their best, there are no fillers or wrong choices, they did it all well.

The album starts with Song for America, faster than the original but one of the best versions of this classic from their second album, all the members are perfect in their instruments, but Phil Ehart is outstanding, his precise timing and impeccable drumming is absolutely incredible, by far the best track of the album.

Point of Know Return is probably one of the weaker songs from the album, again too fast but this time lacks of the mystery and atmosphere of the original version, still sounds pretty decent but the listener can't feel the fear produced by the unknown that is one of the great achievements of the band.

The quota of drama is added by the nostalgic but strong The Wall, a track that always has been one of my favorites and where Robbie Steinhardt has the chance to prove how amazing he's with the violin.

The rest of the tracks sound pretty close to the studio versions and that's a merit for any band, so there's no need to comment each and every one because all are well known songs and extensively commented in their original versions.

Still want to too talk about a song that surprised me very much in a positive way an it's the usually weak Dust in the Wind; the acoustic guitar solo version is IMHO superior to the heart-breaking violin original, something strange for a band that bases their sound in the talents of Robbie Steinhardt; but this version sounds even better because it's connected with the piano version of Lonely almost as one whole track, this was the perfect choice because it completes the semi unplugged atmosphere with one of Kansas most underrated tracks.

Sadly Closet Chronicles was deleted when upgrading the vinyl to CD because of the time limits, a real pity because it's one of the best and most underrated tracks.

About the rest of the members there's not much to add, because as always Robbie Steinhardt is the base of the band, not only for his incredible violin but also for his correct vocals that complement Steve Walsh in the most efficient way.

Again the duet Livegren - Walsh work perfectly in the keyboards with the correct synchronization of Dave Hope and Rich Williams in the bass and guitar that add the hard rock strength required for the music of Kansas, something that would not be possible without the perfect performance of Phil Ehart already commented.

A must have for any prog fan that doesn't fall in the common mistake of considering Kansas in the same sack with bands like Styx or Journey who are not in the superb level of the boys from Topeka.

I rate this album with four stars because I always prefer the originality of a studio album even when 4 ½ stars would be the perfect rating for an excellent album.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |

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