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KANSAS - LIVE AT THE WHISKEY

Kansas

Symphonic Prog


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scottadams964
1 stars A horrible, rubbish record. Morse left after the In The Spirit Of Things debacle leaving Kansas in a sort of hopeless limbo- Greg Robert and Rich Williams combined couldn't replicate Morse's licks, the band reverted to a classic rock/greatest hits set and, to cap it all, Walsh's voice, on this night at least, was shot. As a first release for a new label this was a disaster. A stereo recording of appalling flatulence bootlegged from the bands dressing room post show would've been better.

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Send comments to (BETA) | Report this review (#21913)
Posted Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permalink
Guillermo
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars In 1992 Kansas recorded a live album again, including old songs, but playing these old songs with some different arrangements. The "new sound" for these songs is that they are played "heavier". Rich Williams`s guitar has a central place in the band. Greg Robert sometimes plays the songs with some differences as Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh did in the past. There are songs in which Williams and violinist David Ragsdale trade solos (guitar and violin in some songs, and two guitars in other songs). For me, it was interesting to hear these songs played with different arrangements. Steve Walsh`s voice is not very good. The recording is very good. It sounds with "energy". Kerry Livgren appears as guest in "Dust in the Wind" (and maybe in other songs too).

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Send comments to Guillermo (BETA) | Report this review (#21914)
Posted Sunday, September 05, 2004 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A live set recorded in one take "Live at the Whisky", Los Angeles, California, April 5, 1992. This time with Steve Walsh look after the vocal department. On violin is David Ragsdale and not Robbie Steinhardt; Billy Greer on bass replacing Dave Hope. Greg Robert looks after keyboard. Special guest appearance by Kerry Livgren.

The show kicked off with an introduction using soft keyboard touch continued with "Howlin' at The Moon" - part of Magnum Opus. It's a big regret for me actually, the band did not play Magnum Opus in its entirety. "Paradox" continued the show with an energetic music followed beautifully with "Point of Know Return" which has been added with drum beats solo in the middle of the track. The violin-based "Song For America" was performed brilliantly, combining good harmony with keyboard / piano and guitar work in an excellent live energy. The melancholic song "The Wall" continued the show with melodic guitar work and voice line. It's my all-time favorite Kansas track. "Hold On" and "Dust In The Wind" continued the melancholic side of the band.

The live set also brought in other legendary tracks of the band, namely: "Miracles Out of Nowhere" (great violin and keyboard; wonderful composition), "Mysteries and Mayhem" (high energy track with great keyboard and violin solo), "Portrait" , "Carry on Wayward Son", "Down The Road" and a live bonus track "Lonely Street" (recorded at the Agora Ballroom, Cleveland, Ohio, 1975).

Overall, it's an enjoyable live performance by legendary classic prog band that should not be missed by prog fans. The CD sonic quality is good and better than previous live set "Paradox" which featured John Elefante on vox and keys.. Keep on proggin' ..!

Progressively yours, GW

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#39097)
Posted Sunday, July 10, 2005 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
2 stars I have had mixed feelings about this record since it was released almost fifteen years ago. In general Kansas tends to sound as good or better live than they do in the studio. That said, the energy of their concerts doesn’t always translate to vinyl, or in this case tape since I have the cassette version. My favorite live Kansas recordings are ‘Two for the Show’ and the fairly well-known bootleg Mayhem Symphony. The latter is technically a bootleg I guess, but since it has been issued by PRRP it has a certain sense of legitimacy. Both are two-disc sets, and both were recorded in the band’s heyday of the latter seventies. This one was recorded at arguably one of the lowest points of the band’s long history, and in many places that shows.

This was the first time Steve Walsh’s very ragged vocals were actually put out on an official release of the band, and though he is clearly very motivated and does an admirable job of masking his limitations, the sound can be quite jarring for those who remember the limitless range of his better days. There are some cheap reissues of this concert (recorded in Los Angeles on April 5, 1992) under other titles, and it is pretty easy to tell where those versions chopped up the concert and reordered the playlist. Walsh’s voice starts off pretty well but starts to crack during “Song for America”, and by the time “Miracles out of Nowhere” rolls around his voice is pretty raw. Too bad because this used to be one of his signature forays into the vocal stratosphere. A couple of the last tracks are songs violinist Robby Steinhardt used to do most of the singing on, so they are in a lower register and Walsh doesn’t have as much trouble making these work (“Down the Road”, Mysteries and Mayhem”). I’m sure the band knew his voice wouldn’t hold up and set the playlist to compensate.

The selection is pretty good though, steering clear of the ‘Power’ and ‘In the Spirit of Things’ songs that fans don’t really want to hear live anyway. By far the best performance is “Lonely Street”, but this was taken from a 1975 concert in Cleveland Ohio and features the original band lineup. The contrast between Walsh’s voice on this one and “Carry on Wayward Son” just twelve minutes earlier on the record is shocking.

Kerry Livgren makes an appearance for “Dust in the Wind”, and this one comes off flawlessly. The slight cracks and huskiness in Walsh’s voice give it a nostalgic sound that is rather poignant, and David Ragsdale’s violin work is impeccable above Livgren’s acoustic picking. I can picture the disposable lighters floating in the dark even now.

The rest of the album is a snapshot of a band in the midst of the transition from world- touring headliners to the oldies circuit. The thing that stands out the most is the very high level of musicianship in the playing though. If you dubbed out the vocals you might find it tough to differentiate the instrument tracks from their studio originals, except in a few places (“Song for America”, “Portrait”, “the Wall”) where the guitar work might even be better than it was when those songs were first recorded. There are a few disappointments, most notably the very abbreviated version of “Magnum Opus” (only the ‘Howling at the Moon’ section), and the little bit of grandstanding at the end of “Carry on Wayward Son”, which the band had a tendency to do with that song in a lot of concerts back then.

Some of the liner notes are kind of signs of the times as well: the band’s special thanks include shout-outs to country superstar Garth Brooks (who was known to mix a few Kansas standards in his live shows from time-to-time); and to Don Johnson of Miami Vice fame, presumably for recommending the garish and dated wardrobe Steve Walsh is wearing in the inner sleeve photo.

If I were to recommend a live Kansas album to a noob or someone who wanted to hear the band’s signature live sound, this would be the last one on the list. “Two for the Show” would be the first, followed probably by the King Biscuit Valentine’s Day recording from 1989, and then ‘Device-Voice-Drum’.

But this is an important milestone in the band’s history, even if it is not a particularly positive one. So I would recommend this to Kansas fans just for its historical value. That said, this is not essential, and not even all that good, so it gets the ‘collectors-only’ mark of two stars.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#106355)
Posted Saturday, January 06, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
PROG REVIEWER
3 stars I was rather interested in listening to this Kansas live album. Their last good studio album was "Audio Visions" back to 1980. Even if the Wiskey Bar is a legendary venue, it shows the descent of the band who used to fill up large concert halls (at least in the US). Kansas did the same blunder here with "Magnum Opus" than what they did with "Lamplight symphony" on "Two For The Show" : they cut it by four which is really a shame for this very good studio song.

This album is rocking all right, and fortunately a violin player has been added to the line-up again. I missed that so much during the last studio releases, that this fact only make this live album interesting to me. Can you imagine, "Song for America" without violin ? I guess not. This song is performed a bit faster than the original but sounds very nice.

What a pleasure to hear that Kansas still can play good music.

Most of the songs here belong to the repertoire we all love : "The Wall" always subtle and nice although Steve's vocals are not really great here, "Dust In The Wind" not as good as on "Two For The Show" but that version was really splendid, "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" with Walsh again a bit weak but with a gorgeous finale, "Mysteries and Mayhem" hard-rocking alright but Walsh is trying to do too much on the lead vocals.

"Portrait" with a very nice piano and violin intro and then rocking furiously especially during the wild finale, "Carry on Wayward Son" a bit too long and too hard to my taste, "Down the Road" another solid piece of hard-rock from their best album ever "Song For America" should you have forgotten.

What else do we need ? "Incomudro", "The Pinnacle", the full "Magnus Opus", "Journey from Mariabron" ? Probably. But let's not get too difficult. Kansas could have chosen to fill out a live set with their more recent albums, so we are on the good side here. It is an indication of course about what the traditional Kansas fan was expecting to hear after those long yers of misery...

OK this is not the ideal Kansas live album ("Hold On" could have been skipped easliy), but we are really close to it. Walsh's voice is not extraordinay, Livgren and Steinhart are not there but this record sounds nice as a whole. Like most of the Tull live albums, this one sounds harder than the original versions (I don't know how this relation came to my mind when listening to this work).

Since it is a bit inferior to "Two For The Show" I will rate it three stars.

Welcome back, Kansas. Still there are some hope for good things to come...

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#118592)
Posted Monday, April 16, 2007 | Review Permalink
Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Kansas's Live at the Whiskey was my definitive introduction to progressive rock (I owned the 1984 CBS compilation for weeks before borrowing this live album from a friend, and admittedly only had the compilation for the popular tracks- I don't think I listened to "Song for America" once on that disc). It was a long drive through the West Virginia mountains, listening to "Miracles Out of Nowhere" through a set of headphones, that got me hooked on this glorious music. As a young musician at the time, hearing songs like "Song for America" and "Paradox," I knew I wanted to write music like that- sometimes delicate, sometimes hard-hitting, but always well orchestrated. The set list is impressive and somewhat surprising, since the band had already released two albums of Steve Walsh-penned rock; none of the songs from those two records are present. Instead, the band focused on the classics (although they saw fit to ignore the amazing debut album entirely). This is probably the closest to metal Kansas ever came, with heavily distorted guitars and powerful drumming. My real gripe with this album has to do with Steve Walsh's voice. I was convinced the first time I heard this live album that I was hearing a completely different man. Even now I find it difficult to believe that the singer on the first six Kansas albums and Kansas' lead singer today is the same man, whose voice had been wracked because of substance abuse among other things. From the DVD, I would venture a guess that Walsh was quite coked up during the show. If anything, I feel this is Rich Williams's album. His guitar work is the meatiest meatwall that it's ever been, and his solos on "Paradox," "Miracles Out of Nowhere," and "Mysteries and Mayhem" are better than the studio versions. Overall, the performance is full of energy and is the hardest-hitting Kansas has ever been. As a bonus, Kerry Livgren jams with the guys some.

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Send comments to Epignosis (BETA) | Report this review (#197393)
Posted Monday, January 05, 2009 | Review Permalink
Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Crossover & JazzRock/Fusion Teams
3 stars One bad thing about this album is that this band had, at this point, almost twenty years of back catalog to choose from, but most of the selections here come from their first five albums, or the first four years. One bad thing is the same point. This band had been around for 18 years, but all of their good material had come from the first 4.

The sound quality is fair, everything sounds like it's in a cavernous hall. The performance, however is great. Everything is played with a high energy intensity. I especially like Portrait (He knew) on this one.

And this gets extra points for bringing Epignosis into the prog fold.

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Send comments to Evolver (BETA) | Report this review (#276454)
Posted Monday, April 05, 2010 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars Live at the Whiskey is more or less of what you'd normally expect from a live album. There are some good songs played live here, but most of their best compositions seem to be missing, though Song for America and some nice choices off of Point of Know Return do make appearances. Above all, I consider the band to sound "tired" and Steve Walsh's voice is definitely not in its prime. The band as a whole does a fine enough job on this album.

It's a live album, and not exactly a terrific one, so I feel compelled to say that this live set would be best suited for hard core Kansas fans.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431185)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink

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