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Kansas - Device - Voice - Drum (DVD) CD (album) cover

DEVICE - VOICE - DRUM (DVD)

Kansas

 

Symphonic Prog

4.20 | 51 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Gatot
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars I grew up with the band - not physically but spiritually - through the streams of excellent music produced by their albums. My first introduction was sometime in 1976 when I heard Incomudro at the first time. It blew me away. Since then, I kept collecting their albums. As colleague collaborator Martin Vengadesan did put in his views about Song For America album : "It's been said that Kansas was a formulaic band that mixed a boogie-woogie sensibility with rapid-fire violin playing and touches of Yes and Genesis influenced synths." - I fully agree with him on depicting the kind of Kansas music. Unlike in Peru where Kansas is not a popular band as mentioned by colleague collaborator Iván Melgar Morey , the band has been so popular in my country even the small city of Madiun (East Java, Indonesia) where I lived during my childhood and teenage. It might be due to our local band God Bless did a lot of cover version (on stage) for Kansas. I even watched God Bless covered Carry On Wayward Son perfectly in Jakarta sometime in 1977.

With all of the above background, you know how I feel the first time when I watched this DVD of their live act June 15, 2002. Having been for years listening to their music and watched the cover band, now I can watch the real thing! WOW!!! I was so much engrained with the perception of "old man playing violin" in my mind due to many covers of the band showing that image (debut album, Leftoverture, boxed set 2 CDs) and the fact that violin is the band's most characteristic. When the band shows up on stage with their classic "Belexes" my adrenalin exploded and astonished with the appearance of five classic-rockers on stage! It's a rocking nuance man .! Steve Walsh at the right side (from audience view) with his Kurzweil keyboard and excellent singing. Yes he has lost some of his unique high notes but the quality of his voice is excellent. He rocks! Robby Steinhardt with his violin standing at front stage. Richard Williams is close to his position followed with Billy Greer. At the drum stools is the producer and mastermind of this concert, Phil Ehart, located at center back of the stage. Out of five band members only Richard Williams has short hair.

I watched the DVD again last night (it's probably my 7th spin since` I purchased) and I really enjoy watching this DVD as some of the band's legendary tracks were performed excellently. I could not let myself just sitting on the couch when Icarus was performed. I grabbed the CD and opened the sleeve notes to find the lyrics and sang along with the band. Robby's rapid-fire violin was really stunning when he performed Song for America. Important to notice is Phil Ehart drumming - it's so dynamic with great movement of his hands holding drum sticks and beating the snare and tom. With his age, I'm amazed that he still plays his drum wonderfully and it's an attracting point of the show, I think. Howlin' at the Moon - second part of Magnum Opus from Leftoverture album was played flawlessly and served as an intro part to the next melodic tune The Wall. Richard Williams played his opening guitar part excellently also guitar solo. He moved closer to the front when he did his guitar solo.

The Preacher was performed with the help of church choirs at the back of the stage using blue uniform. My favorite classic track Journey from Mariabronn was performed through middle section with great solo drumming by Phil Ehart. Robby showed his virtuosity with his violin work throughout the song, played in alternate with rapid finger punching keyboard of Steve Walsh. I really admire Steve on his ability in doing his keyboard and at the same time singing. The band also used real string section when they performed Dust in the Wind.

Cheyenne Anthem was performed with Robby taking the first lyrical verse continued with Steve Walsh on second verse onwards. It's a great combination of vocals. The other tracks were truly legendary ones: Child of Innocence, Miracles Out of Nowhere, Point of Know Return, Portriat/Pinnacle. It's a regret that Pinnacle was only performed partially to conclude Portrait that represents Kerry Livgren admiration to scientist. This was actually end of the show. After the show, the band mingled with the crowd who asked the band to play some more. The band finally agreed to do an encore: Fight Fire With Fire, Play the Game Tonight, and the FM radio top hit: Carry on Wayward Son.

In summary, this is an excellent live video collection of a legendary progressive and classic rock band. For those who favor - not necessarily die hard fan of - the band must have this in their collection. It's a 4 ˝ out of 5 stars rating overall. Sound quality of the DVD is excellent. The downside is the picture quality which is worse than laser disc quality. But, I don't want to penalize the band with picture quality issue as I see the band from the perspective of their excellent performance. Highly recommended! Keep your passion for prog!

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #311

Gatot | 4/5 |

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