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Kansas - Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection 1974-2004 CD (album) cover




Symphonic Prog

4.18 | 34 ratings

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4 stars Sail On is the package that Sony released honoring the band on their 30th anniversary. The songs in this set are almost secondary to other features of the package. There is nothing new here. Everything has been released before and some on other compilations. There is on thing unique (especially in this day and age) Sony did release one song from every Kansas release (except King Biscuit concerts). So for the first time Rainmaker (In the Spirit of Things), Desperate Times (Freaks of Nature) and Icarus II (Somewhere to Elsewhere) appear along side Sony released material. I did not care for the choice of Eleanor Rigby from Always Never the Same over one of the two original songs on that CD or Song for America with an Orchestra. That song in my opinion is the only reason to buy ANTS. All of those songs from those CDs are obscure did not sell well, were not promoted well but still are part of the bands history. On nice thing is all the songs here have received the digital re-mastering they deserved and hopefully we will see the whole Kansas catalog re-mastered. (To date Jan 2005 the first 5 have been re-mastered, Two for the Show is slated later this year and Somewhere to Elsewhere was recorded digitally and does not need the update)

So much for the CD's now to the real meat of this package. Included with the two cd's is a DVD. This DVD is a visual chronological time line of the bands progression. It starts with three songs recorded for the Don Kirshner's Rock Concert television show in 1974. This how was a weekly program in the states and joined In Concert (ABC) and Midnight Special as the leading form of visual presentation of music in the United States during the 1970's. These performances are live! Of course Kirshner was the person who signed the band to their first contract.

Proceeding each of the tracks are short but interesting interview clips of the band (everyone except drummer Phil Erhart is represented) . We learn during the first three songs, Can I Tell You, Journey From Mariabronn and Death of Mother Nature Suite that this performance occurred before the first album was released and they had only played one professional concert. The performance is stellar in it's delivery. The sound quality and video quality have been resurrected and as good as can be expected. The next two songs are from 1975 at the time of the release of Masque the bands third album. The stage set up has changed but Steve Walsh is still sitting at the organ and singing. These two songs Icarus and The Pinnacle are just incredible. (Originally Mysteries and Mayhem was recorded on this show but not included in the package). Kerry Livgren says he thinks the Pinnacle on the Kirshner show is better than the version on the Masque LP. Unfortunately these are the only 5 songs that have been captured of this version of Kansas. The rest of the selections on the DVD are music videos Point of Know Return, Dust In the Wind and section of 4 songs from Monolith. These are very early raw videos and are interesting from a historic stand point. They also include two from the 80's Fight Fire with Fire from Drastic Measures with John Elephonte singing and All I Wanted with Steve Morse on guitar. The last 3 songs are from the Device Voice Drum video which are very good quality. There is also an Easter egg which links to another song from the DVD taping but not included on the original Distant Vision from Somewhere to Elsewhere. Added to this is a nice booklet with a history of the band and new unreleased pictures makes Sail On a good package. Rating time; this is better than the other "boxed" collections because of the inclusion of the non CBS(sony) tracks. I would give this 4 star rating especially for someone being introduced to the band for the first time. For a long time fan I give it only give it 2 because they probably would have all the material however the DVD makes it a 4 also for them.

Garion81 | 4/5 |


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