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Kansas There's Know Place Like Home album cover
4.18 | 68 ratings | 1 reviews | 43% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Live, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Howling At The Moon (3:40)
2. Belexes (6:37)
3. Point Of Know Return (4:25)
4. Song For America (9:39)
5. On The Other Side (7:51)
6. Musicatto (3:29)
7. Ghosts/Rainmaker (5:20)
8. Nobody's Home (5:25)
9. Hold On (5:14)
10. Cheyenne Anthem (7:34)

Total time 59:34

1. Icarus II (7:26)
2. Icarus: Borne On Wings Of Steel (6:46)
3. Miracles Out Of Nowhere (6:50)
4. The Wall (5:51)
5. Fight Fire With Fire (4:29)
6. Dust In The Wind (4:22)
7. Carry On Wayward Son (7:01)
8. Down The Road - Afternoon Jam (6:55)

Total time 50:40

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / keyboards, vocals
- Phil Ehart / drums
- Billy Greer / bass, vocals
- David Ragsdale / violin, guitar
- Richard Williams / guitars
- Kerry Livgren / guitars
- Steve Morse / guitars

- Washburn University Orchestra conducted by Larry Baird

Releases information

2CD Star City Recording Company (2009)

Thanks to NotAProghead for the addition
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KANSAS There's Know Place Like Home ratings distribution

(68 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(43%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(40%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KANSAS There's Know Place Like Home reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars I’m always interested in trivia and symbolism, so here’s a little of both for this album. First, the orchestra that accompanies Kansas on this album is none other than the Washburn University Symphony. Washburn was founded as Lincoln College at the end of the American Civil War; the land the school occupies was donated by John Ritchie, an abolitionist who, along with the more well-known John Brown, helped African-American slaves escape from the Deep South during that Civil War. He later donated land for the Monroe School in Topeka, the segregated secondary school that became the battleground for the now-famous ‘Brown v. Board of Education’, a Supreme Court case that provided for free and equal public education in the United States right about the same time Kerry Livgren began his elementary education in Topeka, Kansas. John Brown of course is the subject of the painting known as "Tragic Prelude", the seminal figure who graces the cover of Kansas’ debut album, and the same painting that hangs in the rotunda of the Kansas state capital building. So enough of trivia.

As for this 2-disc live CD, it’s an interesting collection that covers quite the breadth of the band’s career. Several tracks are no-brainers, including the instantly-recognizable hits “Point of Know Return”, “Song for America”, “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on Wayward Son”. Others are more surprising inclusions, especially the instrumental “Musicatto” from the band’s otherwise forgettable 1986 release ‘Power’; and the cheesy 1983 AOR single “Fight Fire with Fire”. Other than that song though every tune on the album fits quite well here, and kudos to the band for reaching back in their catalog for a few songs that don’t get played much in concert or appear often on their many other compilations and live recordings.

Of particular note are “On the Other Side”, the opening number from the band’s 1979 album ‘Monolith’ which if I’m not mistaken finally went platinum (1,000,000 sales) nearly fifteen years after its release. Fortunately this one comes early in the concert before Steve Walsh’s voice inevitably starts to give way, and as a result this is one of the highlights of the album. It is followed by another unusual but welcome choice, a montage of “Ghosts” and “Rainmaker” from 1988’s ‘In the Spirit of Things’, the last album of the band’s to reach the Billboard Top-200 charts. Walsh has said many times this is his favorite Kansas album, and you have to wonder today if it would have made more of an impression had RCA not buried it behind the bubble-gum and bouncy hips of teen idol Tiffany with her retro covers including "I Think We're Alone Now" (Tommy James & the Shondells) and “I Saw Her Standing There” (the Beatles).

One of my favorite Kansas songs “Cheyenne Anthem” gets a very decent treatment with bassist Billy Greer and I believe violinist David Ragsdale as well helping out with vocals. The band plays out the entire original closing crescendos which I’ve always liked, so that’s a nice touch.

Walsh’s voice starts getting rough around this point in the concert though, so much of the rest of the album suffers a bit from his strained singing. This is particularly noticeable on “Miracles Out of Nowhere” which was a trademark Walsh screamer back in the days when he could nail the high ones. Here he lays off almost all of those, which makes for better singing but causes the song to lose a bit of the power it carried back in the day. Time passes I suppose.

The rest of the album is a bit more predictable and more instrument-centric, which is likely because Phil Ehart, who I’m sure sequenced the album, knew Walsh would be wearing down after the strenuous first half. “Icarus II” followed by the original Icarus span a quarter- century of the band’s discography but fit well together both thematically and musically. “The Wall” is a crowd-pleaser that doesn’t push Walsh too far and highlights the band’s outstanding ability to meld rock, melody and progressive music into a tight package. This is followed by the obligatory and totally predictable encores “Dust in the Wind” and “Carry on Wayward Son”, and although that would be it for them at most concerts, they return for one more number, a jam session centered on the opening track from 1975’s ‘Song for America’ – “Down the Road”, one of the better co-written Walsh/Livgren tunes from the group’s early years.

Speaking of Livgren, he makes the short drive from his Berryton farm just outside Topeka to join the band on-stage, along with former guitarist Steve Morse from the band’s 80s albums. Both are stellar and add depth to an already impressive sound.

I can’t say there’s anything new or even particularly noteworthy here, but all in all this is a very solid offering from the band in celebration of their 35th anniversary. Hardcore fans will likely nitpick about the song selection, but for a band with a catalog as vast as Kansas it would be very hard to come up with just two hours of music that wouldn’t leave someone disappointed, so I won’t bother getting into that discussion.

The DVD is next up in my listening queue, but this one is well worth picking up for both fans of the band and prog fans in general who appreciate an extremely well-produced live album that showcases the showmanship and consummate professionalism of one of the United States’ true musical treasures – Kansas. Long may they Carry On. Four stars.


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