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

SAIL ON: THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY COLLECTION 1974-2004

Kansas

Symphonic Prog


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Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
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.

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Send comments to Garion81 (BETA) | Report this review (#33307)
Posted Friday, January 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Muzikman
PROG REVIEWER
5 stars Well another KANSAS boxed set has hit our shores. That old ship is still sailing right along. It comes as no surprise that the popularity of this band has not waned over the years. Their staying power is evident with this three-disc set (two CDs and one DVD). You can still hear "Carry On Wayward Son" playing on the radio frequently; after all, that is one of the songs that defined an era. Clearly, it was more than just a 70s thing. The musical juggernaut called KANSAS has continued strongly into the new millennium, and they show no signs of slowing down.

This is without a doubt the finest package that the band has released to date. The only thing that is left is a full-blown career spanning boxed including all their studio albums, rarities and outtakes. Of course, now you can get all of that from the recently remastered set of albums released earlier this year.

This music never ceases to amaze me; no matter how many times I hear a KANSAS song, I pick up something different. They were, and remain an amazing unique band. Besides all of the best tracks from their career, now longtime fans get the best treat of all, live concert footage from the early Don Kirschner's Rock Concert days, which I remember well, even though I was a crazed teenager back then. Included are old videos from the Monolith album period and more.

This is the definitive and ultimate Kansas boxed set, so far. Funny, I said that about ''The Ultimate Kansas'' set, too. I cannot wait to see what will come out next. I can never get enough of this band.

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Send comments to Muzikman (BETA) | Report this review (#33308)
Posted Wednesday, January 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars If you are a Kansas fan, you might think twice to have this boxed set in your collection because I'm sure that you have collected each album of Kansas since their debut. But, one thing you need to consider: the Disc Three - DVD of archival footage of Kansas through the years - is truly an excellent part. This is my first time watching the band live during the glory years of seventies. All members were still young with long hair. Robbie Steinhardt performed his violin wonderfully. Steve Walsh sung while playing keyboards stunningly. Phil Ehart performed his machine-gun drumming. Kerry Livgreen played calmly with the guitar but his guitar riffs and sounds were truly awesome; providing great fills between lyrical passages. Richard Williams on another guitar plays most of the time on the right side of Steve with little body movement. The picture is also excellent.

Well, the first time I watched the DVD my mind clicked right away to the old days when, I remember vividly, songs like "Carry On Wayward Son" was regularly covered by local band here in my country and also it topped up as one of the radio hits. When I watched the DVD especially on the first five tracks of the DVD (from "Can I Tell" to "Pinnacle") I was like returning back to that teenage era where rock music was very common. And, I have never seen the band live in that era. The only thing I have ever seen was through the band's D-V-D (Device-Voice-Drum) DVD released couple years ago.

This DVD set is a true adrenalin exploder for me. I was emotionally attached to the band as it reminded me to my nice past days when a group of friends that shared the same aspirations in music exchanged cassettes of rock groups because we could not afford to buy all the collection at the time. Kansas was one of the bands featured beside Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, Gentle Giant, Led Zeppelin, Jethro Tull, etc. The favorite albums at the time were: "Leftoverture" because of Magnum Opus and Carry On Wayward Son, and of course "Masque". That's why when the DVD reaches track 5 "Pinnacle" played live by the band I was like having tears in my eyes and this track I repeated five times!

Pinnacle opens with a nice music with melodic violin play by Robbie Steinhardt combined with solid bassline, augmented with great keyboard work by Steve Walsh. Just before the first lyrical verse, Robbie played his violin brilliantly and bring the music to the first lyrical part which is very melodic: "I've so much to say, and yet I cannot speak. Come and do my bidding now for I have grown too weak. My weary eyes have seen all that life can give". Oh man . what a great opening lyrics! I also like the part when Steve sings "I stood where no man goes, and conquered demon foes. With glory and passion no longer in fashion. The hero breaks his blade". It then continues with Robbie's singing beautifully with "Lying at my feet I see the offering you bring." followed with duet singing of Steve and Robbie: "The answer is that sweet refrain. Unheard it always will remain. Beyond our reach, beyond our gain ". Oh my God . what a nice song! (While watching this song performed, I grabbed my laptop and shared my feelings about how great this song is thru my friendster blogs last night).

Pinnacle is only an example of how great the DVD is - especially in featuring the archive footage of past years. Even though it was taken from various venues but the live footage is still very interesting to enjoy. With an excellent boxed set package plus the DVD of past live performances - it suffices to say that this boxed set is an excellent addition to any prog collection. And this is a very good introduction to those who have not known Kansas. Highly recommended.

Progressively yours,

GW - Review #303

Life is amusing though we are losing. Drowned in tears of awe. - "Pinnacle" - KANSAS

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Send comments to Gatot (BETA) | Report this review (#33309)
Posted Tuesday, May 31, 2005 | Review Permalink
lor68
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Talking about the connection of Kansas with their first date in Italy ever (28th june 2005), supporting Styx in a short but amazing performance live at such "Alcatraz Club" in Milan, I like to remind you of this box set and its importance , running a good part of their long music career from the early days (listen to "Journey from Mariabronn") untill the period regarding their "AOR" music genre of our times, enriched with a few "hard" passages ...well They could have provided for more and more recent songs to be included into this box-set ,unfortunately lacking of the period from their last reunion in the studio in the beginning of 21st century. In fact the album "Somewhere to Elswhere"- except on "Icarus II" - is not represented enough here, but also They might remind us of their technical skill if They had decided to remaster some other immortal progressive jewels such as "Magnus Opus" or the magnificent ballad "The wall" for example, to be perfectly coupled with "Song for America" and "Cheyenne Antheme" , in the place of the other usual rock hits like "Carry On My Wayward Song" and "Miracles out of nowhere" ( always played during their gigs nowadays).Well I hope they think of their most forgotten songs concerning the early period (do you remember "Apercu" for instance?) ,in order to complete their true very best collection among all the most progressive efforts: so that could represent for me the whole opera by Kansas, witnessing their definitive music heritage...long live Kansas!!

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Send comments to lor68 (BETA) | Report this review (#38406)
Posted Sunday, July 03, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is, to me, the best Kansas compilation so far. It is not (by far) the best possible compilation, but it's the best yet. It really shows off Kansas' amazing abilities. Tracks like "Journey From MariaBronn", most definitely "Icarus: Borne on Wings of Steel", and "The Pinnacle", rival anything Yes, Genesis, or Pink Floyd produced. The DVD is great, especially "Death of Mother Nature Suite", which I'm surprised to see is not on the CDs.

The remastering is very good, the gripes I have are with selection. I don't like that they decided to release one song from every Kansas album. Everything between Freaks of Nature ("Desperate Times" is fantastic) and Somewhere to Elsewhere could've easily been cut out. "Rainmaker", "All I Wanted", "Got to Rock On", and "Hold On" are not worth paying for. Where is "A Glimpse of Home"? The Eleanor Rigby cover seems completely misplaced and uninspired. And we get those tracks instead of utter classics like "Closet Chronicles", "Song For America", "The Devil Game", "No One Together" (I realize that those were all on The Best of Kansas, but they're too good to be ignored). What really bugs me is the noticeable absence of "Incomudro-Hymn To The Atman" and "The Wall", two of their most brilliant works.

See my forum post on the real best of kansas.

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Send comments to nelson (BETA) | Report this review (#46344)
Posted Sunday, September 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
ClemofNazareth
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR
Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars There are about five Kansas collections available today that attempt to capture the history of the band. The Best of Kansas from 1984 gathers up most of the hits from the first nine studio albums; the 1994 two-disc boxed set was created in collaboration with their fan club and includes some rare song versions and a biography booklet; the 1997 Definitive Collection includes some b-sides and live versions, but leaves out some of the more progressive early songs; and 2002’s Ultimate Kansas is another two-disc set that includes almost everything on the previous collections. Finally, Works in Progress releases this month and includes only tracks from their later years (post 1983).

In 2004 Epic released yet another one - Sail On: the 30th Anniversary Collection, marking the band’s three decades of existence. They haven’t technically been together for 30 years, as the group did disband between late 1983 and 1986, but that is probably just splitting hairs. The unique claim of this collection is that it includes tracks from each of the band’s 14 studio albums, beginning with “Can I Tell You” from the self-titled debut in 1974, and ending with “Icarus II” from 2000’s Somewhere to Elsewhere (plus one track from the platinum-selling Two For the Show double-live album).

While the song selection has been the subject of a fair amount of discussion amongst Kansas fans, this does represent the best single retrospective of their entire body of work. The packaging is quite good, with the two CDs housed in a hard-cover booklet that includes a full listing of composers, producers, recording studios and dates, and the performers for each track. All the mixes are remastered from their originally released recordings, and there are some interesting photos of the band members, concerts, and various other paraphernalia from their many years together, including a couple of concert t-shirts and promotional gadgets that I wish I still had.

There is also a video DVD included in the collection, and this is by far the most interesting part of the package. There are five videos from their two early appearances on Don Krishner’s Rock Concert in 1974 and 1975, plus eight promotional videos from the early MTV days, covering songs from Point of Know Return, Monolith, Vinyl Confessions, Drastic Measures, and Power. There are also three film/animation live videos from the 2002 Device-Voice-Drum DVD release.

The Kirshner recordings are especially great, as they show the group at their earliest and most vibrant state as a true band, and most of these recordings have not been seen except in bootlegged form since their original recordings more than thirty years ago. The producers did an excellent job of restoring these to reasonable quality, and I have played them many times over the past couple of years without tiring of them yet.

Some of the better selections for inclusion in this package are the original studio version of “Can I Tell You” from their debut album; “Cheyenne Anthem” from Leftoverture, which has been left off of most of their many previous collections and live albums; “The Pinnacle” from Masque, which is one of my three all-time favorite Kansas tunes and one of their most disregarded gems; “What’s on my Mind” from Leftoverture, another overlooked classic; the totally awesome “Lamplight Symphony” from Song for America, which has long been forgotten in the shadow of that album’s title track; and “Desperate Times” from the almost forgotten Freaks of Nature. Clearly Phil Ehart and company have a strong finger on the pulse of their fans, and have acquiesced to the long-standing desires to see these songs included in a single package.

What’s missing? Well, lots of things. Although there are four videos from Monolith, only “People of the South Wind” is included in the audio tracks, and there are no videos from Leftoverture at all. There are also no live video tracks from the years 1976-2002. For a band that pretty much made their careers and reputations through non-stop touring, this is an unforgivable oversight. Also, one could quibble with the choices from the later studio albums, and particularly “Fight Fire with Fire” from Drastic Measures (should have been “Incident on a Bridge” instead); “Rainmaker” from In the Spirit of Things (hello?! – “House on Fire”? “Bells of Saint James”?); “Eleanor Rigby” from Always Never the Same (uh, anything but that); or “Icarus II” from Somewhere to Elsewhere.

In the case of “Icarus II” I agree with it being included, but considering that this was their last studio album, that it included the entire original band lineup and all original new songs, and that it was CRIMINALLY under-promoted by Magna Carta, there should have been at least a couple more songs included – “Myriad”, “The Coming Dawn (Thanatopsis) ”, or even better – “Byzantium”. I still choose to believe that Somewhere to Elsewhere is a platinum album in the waiting (hey, it could happen – look how long some of their early albums took to catch hold).

Also, the DVD includes some interesting new interview material with all the original members, but this too could have been much improved by including some meaningful material from Steve Morse, Greg Robert, and David Ragsdale, and more than two sentences from the famously inconspicuous Steve Walsh.

All the hits are here – “Song for America”, “Carry on Wayward Son”, “Dust in the Wind”, “Point of Know Return”, “Portrait (He Knew)”, “People of the South Wind”, “Fight Fire with Fire”, “Hold On”, “Play the Game Tonight”, and “All I Wanted”, plus most of the important early progressive works (with those exceptions previously noted). One other omission – “Incomudro – Hymn to the Atman” should have been here either as an audio or (preferably) a video track, but since it does run about thirteen minutes, I understand why the band passed on it.

All things considered, this is a great collection, and a beautifully packaged set. I have to believe the label will eventually offer just the DVD separately since there are no new songs or mixes on the audio CDs, and many fans will not likely lay down $35 USD (or equivalent) like I did to pick this up.

If you don’t have any other Kansas collection, or if you want a comprehensive picture of the band that includes both audio and video, as well as printed biographies and interviews, this is about the only place you’ll get it all in one shot. I think that this collection, combined with the Works in Progress collection just hitting the stores now (which dives deeper into the band’s less-known later years from 1983-1998), will give anyone who is interested in Kansa but who is not a die-hard fan, a chance to get all the Kansas they need without having to hunt down fourteen studio albums, five live ones, and at least that many collections. Die-hard fans, of course, have all the Kansas albums already, and have probably picked this one up anyway.

The rating for Sail On is easy – this is an excellent addition to any progressive music collection, so four stars it is.

peace

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Send comments to ClemofNazareth (BETA) | Report this review (#78089)
Posted Saturday, May 13, 2006 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars Im wiriting about the DVD, since I got only this part of the package. Well, it should be the best Kansas DVD ever: it includes them playing live in the Rock Concert series in 1974 and 1975. They are really stunning perfomances and worth the price of the DVD alone. There are some early videos of 8 songs, but if you expect to see Carry On at the time, forget it. Why on earth some they decided instead to put the live version already available on the Device... DVD is a mystery. The original video played a lot on TV and should be here.

The sound and image quality is very good, specially if you consider the techniques available at the time. The restoration was very well done. Its a journey through time and history (fortunatly the song selection respects the chronological time of each song release or performance). Those guys were a special and gifted band from the very beginning. The personal comments of band members about the song right before the video is also enlightning and funny. Even if the original Carry On... piece is missing, this is a must have for any prog fan.

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Send comments to Tarcisio Moura (BETA) | Report this review (#140785)
Posted Thursday, September 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
colorofmoney91
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars As the case usually is with compilation albums, this is an extensive best-of collection spanning the entire career of Kansas. If you were ever a Kansas fan and don't feel like owning all of their individual albums, then this purchase is for you. I got this for my father a few years ago, and he absolutely loved it. The DVD is especially great, and shows some great material of the band that was before previous unreleased. Besides that, there really isn't anything new here. The packaging is beautiful, and this whole package serves as a great gift or collectors item. Highly recommended to anyone looking for a collection of Kansas' best material and some previously unreleased visual footage of the band.

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Send comments to colorofmoney91 (BETA) | Report this review (#431187)
Posted Monday, April 11, 2011 | Review Permalink

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