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Kansas Two for the Show album cover
4.34 | 289 ratings | 28 reviews | 58% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
progressive rock music

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Live, released in 1978

Songs / Tracks Listing

Side A
1. Song for America (7:31)
2. Point of know return (3:07)
3. Paradox (4:09)
4. Icarus - Borne on the Wings of Steel (5:56)

Side B
5. Portrait (He Knew) (5:20)
6. Carry On Wayward Son (4:36)
7. Journey from Mariabronn (8:55)

Side C
8. Dust in the Wind (acoustic guitar solo) (6:18)
9. (piano solo) Lonely Wind (4:29)
10. Mysteries and mayhem (4:00)
11. Excerpt from Lamplight Symphony (2:39)
12. The Wall (4:53)

Side D
13*. Closet Chronicles (6:43)
14. Magnum Opus (11:17)

Total Time: 79:53

* - omitted on first CD releases

Disc 2 (on 2008 double CD editions)
1. Hopelessly Human (8:44)
2. Child of Innocence (7:47)
3. Belexes (4:34)
4. Cheyenne Anthem (6:55)
5. Lonely Street (8:20)
6. Miracles out of Nowhere (7:59)
7. The Spider (7:41)
8. Closet Chronicles (6:55)
9. Down the Road (3:44)
10. Sparks of the Tempest (5:19)
11. Bringing It Back (7:07)

Total Time: 75:08

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Ehart / drums, percussion
- Dave Hope / bass
- Kerry Livgren / keyboards, guitars
- Robby Steinhardt / lead vocals, violin
- Steve Walsh / lead vocals, keyboards
- Rich Williams / acoustic & electric guitars

Releases information

2LP Kirshner/CBS PZ2 35660 (1978)

CD Epic/ Sony Music 466842 2 (1990, Austria, 13 tracks, due to CD programming limitations does not contain "Closet Chronicles")
CD Kirshner ZGK 35660 (13 tracks, due to CD programming limitations does not contain "Closet Chronicles")

2CD Sony Music Japan International Inc. EICP 1052~3 (2008, Japan)
2CD Kirshner/Epic/Legacy 88697 30836 2 (2008, USA)
These double CD editions remastered by Jeff Glixman contain a bonus disc with previously unreleased material (except the track 8, "Closet Chronicles", which was originally included on the LP release in 1978 and dropped on first CD release). Release date: July 1, 2008

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to The Bearded Bard for the last updates
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KANSAS Two for the Show ratings distribution

(289 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(58%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (9%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KANSAS Two for the Show reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Jim Garten
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Retired Admin & Razor Guru
3 stars It is the nature of live albums that (so long as they have not been tampered with too much in the studio) they showcase that band sounding considerably more raw than the studio albums; this is pretty much the case here - the musicianship is all high quality (with special mentions to Phil Erhart & Robbie Steinhart), the vocals a little on the shrill side at times (as is often the case with live albums - the songs get played faster & the vocalists have to struggle to keep up), but overall a very good live album, helped by the selection of soings covered; unusually, the 'hit' singles, 'Wayward Son' & 'Dust In The Wind' are buried mid set, as opposed to being crow pleasing encores

If you get a chance to pick this album up at a reasonable price, it will be worth it for the versions of 'Paradox', 'Icarus', 'Mariabron' and 'Magnum Opus' alone.

Review by Garion81
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars ****DISCLAIMER*******

This review is in two parts because we are not allowed to put multiple entries of an album in the archives no matter what has changed. The first part of the review deals with the 20th anniversary release in 2008. The second is my original review of the album some 4 years ago. My recommendation to you if your are going to purchase this album make sure it is the two disk 2008 release and don't be fooled over a cheap used copy of the original on ebay.

Good Then Fantastic Now

Before the 1977-1978 world tour based on the release of Point of Know Return Kirshner Records decided what they needed was a live "greatest hits" package so they recorded several shows along the tour. The first release was a good mix of songs to have a double album of live material which was in vogue in the 1970's. The first package captured about an hour and fifteen minutes of the nearly 3 hour show. It had a lot of great Kansas songs on it and was skillfully recorded and mixed.

Then in 2005 rumor from Sony Legacy (now owner of the Kansas catalog) was going to remaster this package finally. It was to restore the dropped song, Closet Chronicles, that wouldn't fit on the original CD release and maybe have a few bonus tracks. Then the payoloa judgment came and Sony decided to shelve the idea because of the cost. Enter 2008 the 30th anniversary of this classic and Sony finally puts it back on the list of things to do. Except this time when they went and checked the master tape they found 11 songs recorded from the tour never released. As Phil Erhart bemoans in the liner notes "I can't believe that they were sitting on this material for 30 years". To Sony's credit they decided to mix, master and release the entire 11 songs adding another 1:15 to the package time. They created a great package with the original artwork but also new liner notes in booklet format with brand new picture as well. In that they have created a whole new release not a re-release.

Also to Sony's credit was to bring back Jeff Glixman, Kansas master producer of their greatest albums, to handle the mix of the bonus disk and the remaster of the original disk. Gilxman true to form turns this live package into one the best CD's of Kansas history. First of all the raw material of the live recordings are exactly as Kansas recorded them on the particular night. No overdubs, no pitch corrections wyhiwyg (what you hear is what you get). Second this is Kansas at the top of their game i.e. the musicianship is in top form. Glixman takes this material and makes it soar. The dual guitars and dual keyboards are clear as a bell on both CDs. He even makes it point on disk two to mix it so Kerry Livgren's guitar and keys are the on the left side of the mix and Steve Walsh and Rich Williams keys and guitar are on the left. It truly is spectacular even if you don't really care for the music. All live recordings could look to this re-master as the blueprint on how to create a live sound.

The actual set lists comes from two different sets Kansas played on that tour. The first one through the US tour had a longer set because they didn't usually have a supporting act on that portion of the tour. That set started with Song for America and ended with Magnus Opus. The second part of the tour they did have opening acts and had a shorter set list by at least 40 minutes. That portion of the tour they opened with Hopelessly Human and ended with Sparks of the Tempest. All of those songs are here in this package so this isn't a representation of an entire concert but really a good package of the whole tour parts A and B. Since this was the Point of Know Return Tour it isn't a surprise that 8 tracks of that CD are present throughout the two disks but all 5 albums have a strong presence here with Leftoverature with having 6, 4 from Song For America, 3 from Masque and 4 from the first Self Titled. The thing that really stands out here are the speed which some of these tracks are played. Much faster, sometimes ridiculously so (Belexis), than the studio counterparts. All the styles are represented from the ultimate prog of SFA, Hopelessly Human, Magnus Opus, Icarus and Miracles Out of Nowhere to the hard rocking blues based rock complete with extended solos Down the Road, Child of Innocence, Lonely Street, Bringing it Back to the ballads of Dust in the Wind and Lonely Wind.

Anyway if anyone asked me what is Kansas like, I wouldn't think twice to hand them this collection. Truly a masterpiece of this bands classic era legacy. If only Yes and ELP would take their great live collections with the same treatment as this collection is now.

I gave the original 4 stars I have to give this one for sure 5 stars.

***Original Review from 5/19/2004 of the original one disk release***

Live albums are basically a snapshot in time of what group sounded like at a point in time. What they fail to capture is the visual aspect, the sound of the arena or the perception of the audience. This recording was the best sample of Kansas on the Point of Know Return tour; the group at their height of popularity. Having the pleasure of attending two of the shows on this tour I can say this is a good recording. It is not Kansas live, live recordings cannot replace going to a show even DVD's cannot replicate the experience. This album suffers from the lack of sophistication in recording equipment. The vocals suffer from too much touring that year as this was a world tour starting early in 1977 and ending in 1978.

I read in another review that Kansas was not dynamic live. That statement is the furthest from the truth. Having two keyboardists at times, at times two guitarist, violin, good bass and great drums and add to that two unique singers, this bands was nothing but dynamic. Other bands refused to tour with them because Kansas would blow them off the stage.

This album while not the best recording is a good record and considering when it was made it is a great live album. I would put this in the same class as Welcome Back by ELP, Yessongs by Yes, Bursting Out by Jethro Tull and Seconds Out by Genesis. Compare it to these others that came out in the same era and I think most people would agree. The Mysteries/Lamplight Symphony/The Wall medley is worth this collection alone. 4.25 Stars

Review by Cesar Inca
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars This is one of the most amazing prog live recordings I've ever heard in my entire life. 'Two for the Show' is a perfect portrait of the energy and clever interplaying that were always featured in Kansas' brightest moments; it also shows the six members at the top level of their creativity, physical strength and emotional drive. Walsh and Steinhardt shine in their singing roles, creating an effective bridge between the band and the crowd. The instrumental stuff is performed with every piece located in the right place, yet there's a healthy amount of room for some freedom (guitar and violin solos mostly): a special mention goes to Ehart's powerful drumming, which should be more considered in the prog circles, since his precision and tightness are really awesome. Since it is one of their emblematic numbers, 'Song for America' serves as an accurate opener, though the interlude should have been played in its entirety. Some tracks are benefited by the arranged extension offered here: 'Portrait (He Knew)' (linked to 'Carry On Wayward Son') bears a heavily hard guitar duel in its expanding ending theme; 'Journey from Mariabronn' comprises an extra guitar lead and added vibraphone adornments, hence enhancing its essential richness; the exciting "beyond words" medley of 'Mysteries and Mayhem'-'Lamplight Symphony'-'The Wall' sounds as if its components had been originally written during a sole compositional effort that goes from exaltation to contemplation, and last but not least, the incendiary 'Magnum Opus'. This aforesaid suite is introduced by a long, sombre prelude that eventually gives way to the first chords. There are more violin parts in this rendition than in the original studio version; the explosive end sounds as terrifying as a massive vehicle crash, and as hypnotic as a Prokofiev's wild dream. Other highlights are being mentioned right away. The majestic 'Closet Chronicles' (in the double vinyl) sounds pretty close to the original studio version but definitely more ballsy, with special regards to the synth and violin solos at the start of the instrumental interlude and the excellent orchestrated coda. Another track that pretty much resemblences the studio version is 'Paradox', only with a tad rougher vibe. On the other hand, 'Icarus' confirms its staple status in this moving, passionate rendition. The acoustic portion that starts with 'Dust in the Wind', connected to Williams' acoustic guitar solo (something like Hackett with country flavors) and Livgren's grand piano solo (stylish and well-ordained), until the whole band rejoins for the closing section of the beautiful ballad 'Lonely Wind' (one of those overlooked Kansas gems), which in this live rendition sees its last third immensely surpass the emotional charge that had been delivered in the debut album's studio version. I'm not actually sure if I should consider this live recording as the best live recording ever, but since I appreciate it as a neckbreaking live document and I love every single part of the repertoire that had been chosen, I feel obliged to give it the maximum rating.

August 2008 addendum.- In the original review I said that I somewhat missed the inclusion of some of the most ballsy Kansas songs, like 'Down the Road', for instance. But hey, the July 2008 30th Anniversary double CD brings this one and two other rocking gems in CD2, such as the desperate blues 'Lonely Street' and the intrepid country-rock 'Bringing It Back' - both benefit with the expanded arrangements. Also, there is the recovery of 'Closet Chronicles'; the epic 'Hopelessly Human' with an intro quotation of 'Incomudro'; 'Miracles Out of Nowhere' with an excellent Walsh organ solo in the interlude; an amazing drum solo segued into a neckbreaking sped up 'The Spider'; 'Belexes' is also sped up in all its glory. The remasterization allows the double guitars or keyboards highlight the individual components, as well as Steinhardt's recurrent violin deliveries. This "Two for the Show" remains worthy of five for the rating.

Review by Guillermo
5 stars Some live albums are my favourites instead of studio albums. The reason is that live albums show bands being more spontaneus playing on the stage. This album is one of my favourites. Kansas being recorded at their peak after their "Leftoverture" and "Point of Known Return" albums. Every member of the band plays very good. The band gives time for every member to shine. I mean, there are times when not all members play a t the same time, which gives "space" and variety. Phil Ehart is a very good drummer, as someone said in other reviews. I prefer these live versions of "The Wall", "Magnum Opus" and "Journey from Mariabronn". Steve Walsh sings with energy and feeling. One of the things that I like from Kansas is that they could play progressive music with some heavy parts (due to two lead guitar players). They did a good mixture of progressive music with classical tones and heavy rock playing. The recording is very good being from the seventies, but the CD obviously sounds better than the L.P. The CD omits "Closet Chronicles" due to CD time limitations. This live version of "Closet Chronicles" was released in the CD re-issue of "The Best of Kansas".
Review by Easy Livin
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars None for the money

This live double album was released early on in the band's career, and thus focuses on material taken from their first few albums. For me, one of Kansas' strengths on their studio albums was the production standards, which to put harshly (but in my view fairly), covered up for some weaknesses in their song writing.

This live recording however loses the benefit of those production values, leaving a raw, incoherent, and unbalanced sound, which reduces rather than enhances the appeal of the original tracks. The performances are reasonably faithful to the studio versions, with the exception of the phase of the performance which features an acoustic version of "Dust in the wind". This softer phase is ironically the high point of the album, being followed by the excellent "The wall".

Fans of Kansas who have witnessed their live performances may consider this to be a worthwhile reminder of the experience. For anyone else, I would recommend sticking to the studio albums.

Review by Ivan_Melgar_M
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A couple years ago I read a terrible review in a commercial magazine about Point of Know Return the guy who's name doesn't matter said this was a group of ignorant musicians who pretended to be virtuoso players but needed to learn a sixth note, of course I was furious but later I was laughing because obviously the poor guy never listened this live gem or most likely didn't had the capacity to understand it.

The place where you can really find if a musician is really goodŋ is on stage, because studio recordings are full of overdubbing and technical tricks that correct mistakes and cover weakness, if you make a mistake there are many chances to repair it, a good engineer can make a mediocre artists sound pretty well, but in front of 15,000 souls is totally different, fans can turn into the most acid critics if the concert is they don't receive what they came for.

Kansas passed that test with an A+, Two for the Show is one of the best live albums I ever heard, arrangements are perfect, the sound is clear and Kansas members prove they are the talented musicians we heard in earlier albums without any help or correction.

Another good point is that they recorded an excellent track list with songs that can be considered among their best, there are no fillers or wrong choices, they did it all well.

The album starts with Song for America, faster than the original but one of the best versions of this classic from their second album, all the members are perfect in their instruments, but Phil Ehart is outstanding, his precise timing and impeccable drumming is absolutely incredible, by far the best track of the album.

Point of Know Return is probably one of the weaker songs from the album, again too fast but this time lacks of the mystery and atmosphere of the original version, still sounds pretty decent but the listener can't feel the fear produced by the unknown that is one of the great achievements of the band.

The quota of drama is added by the nostalgic but strong The Wall, a track that always has been one of my favorites and where Robbie Steinhardt has the chance to prove how amazing he's with the violin.

The rest of the tracks sound pretty close to the studio versions and that's a merit for any band, so there's no need to comment each and every one because all are well known songs and extensively commented in their original versions.

Still want to too talk about a song that surprised me very much in a positive way an it's the usually weak Dust in the Wind; the acoustic guitar solo version is IMHO superior to the heart-breaking violin original, something strange for a band that bases their sound in the talents of Robbie Steinhardt; but this version sounds even better because it's connected with the piano version of Lonely almost as one whole track, this was the perfect choice because it completes the semi unplugged atmosphere with one of Kansas most underrated tracks.

Sadly Closet Chronicles was deleted when upgrading the vinyl to CD because of the time limits, a real pity because it's one of the best and most underrated tracks.

About the rest of the members there's not much to add, because as always Robbie Steinhardt is the base of the band, not only for his incredible violin but also for his correct vocals that complement Steve Walsh in the most efficient way.

Again the duet Livegren - Walsh work perfectly in the keyboards with the correct synchronization of Dave Hope and Rich Williams in the bass and guitar that add the hard rock strength required for the music of Kansas, something that would not be possible without the perfect performance of Phil Ehart already commented.

A must have for any prog fan that doesn't fall in the common mistake of considering Kansas in the same sack with bands like Styx or Journey who are not in the superb level of the boys from Topeka.

I rate this album with four stars because I always prefer the originality of a studio album even when 4 ― stars would be the perfect rating for an excellent album.

Review by erik neuteboom
5 stars While on the British continent ELP, GENESIS and YES became extravagant millionairs, on the other side of the Atlantic 'six hillbillies' with their band KANSAS turned out to be the best and one of the most popular USA progrock band ever. The first time I heard KANSAS I was blown away by their unique, dynamic and compelling blend of hardrock, classical and symphonic. The most captivating element is the interplay by the electric guitar, keyboards (organ, piano and synthesizers) and violin but also the powerful and alternating compositions made from the early KANSAS a splendid USA answer to the European progrock dinosaurs. My favorite album is the 2-LP "Two for the show" a kind of 'best of' album with all the great tracks like "Paradox", "Carry on wayward son", "Dust in the wind" (including a beautiful acoustic guitar solo), "Lonely wind" (including a sparkling piano solo) and the epeic composition "Magnum opus", containing one of the most bombastic and sensational grand finales in progrock! If you are up to dynamic progrock, ranging from mellow with violin and heavy with electric guitar to bombastic with great runs on organ and syntehsizer, KANSAS is yours.
Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is an excellent live concert album. All Kansas classic tracks are performed almost flawlessly. When I look at musician level, I can see that all them contribute their role in a balanced style as required by the composition. The line-up is probably the best one Kansas has ever had. Robby Steinhardt plays violin that has characterized Kansas music. The composer and guitar player Kerry Livgren was still in the group, Steve Walsh on vocal department and Phil Ehart sits at his drum stool. The intertwining guitar work between Rich Williams and Kerry Livgren is also obvious during the show. Overall performance, this album is engaging the mind.

The only track that the group has big gap to perform on stage at this live set is "Carry On Wayward Son" which to me sounds not up to the standards. It's not mixing problems obviously, but I find the vocal part is lacking. The music sounds strange to my ears and the track has lost its soul. "Dust In The Wind" is a very boring track but unfortunately it has always been performed (and recorded!) in any Kansas show. Enough is enough - it's too boring! The situation has become even worse because Steve vocal is really bad on this track. I would have liked to hear them play all of "Lamplight Symphony", instead of a little excerpt that brings into "The Wall". It's a fallacy. The track is an epic song but it's being played only to bridge into The Walls. I like how the band plays "Mysteries and Mayhem", "Song for America", and "Journey from Mariabronn". I wish they would have included "Cheyenne Anthem" (Leftoverture) and my favorite Kansas track ""Incomudro - Hymn to the Atman" (Song For America). I think maybe this should have been a two-disc set. The other weak point is that the CD has little live vibes as the crowd voices were not recorded in full, truncated and started off again with next track. I believe it's a compilation of many live performances in different venues.

Despite all weak points, I still consider this live sets an excellent record that should be made in double disc format. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars One of the things I have always appreciated about Kansas is their ability to not only reproduce their studio sound on stage, but to often improve upon it. This album showcases the band at what would prove to be their peak, and at that peak they were very good indeed.

This double album kicks off with “Song for America”, and the music is just as vibrant as when it was first recorded in the studio, plus both Steve Walsh and Robby Steinhardt introduce some new vocal inflections, both up and down the octave scale. In my opinion Walsh’s keyboards here are even better than the original album, as he shows some real enthusiasm and well-placed emphasis during the various transitions.

Steinhardt’s violin seems a bit out-of-tune on “Point of Know Return” and Walsh seems a bit out of breath, but at the time of these recordings this was probably one of their better known songs, and the slight letdown has only become noticeable over time.

“Paradox” is dead-on in execution all around. Steinhardt’s violin and Walsh’s vocals are near perfect, and Livgren actually cuts loose with some guitar work that is even heavier than the studio version. I don’t know where this song fell on the play list, but the band was definitely warmed up by this point.

One of the songs the band played live fairly frequently in the 70’s was “Icarus – Borne on Wings of Steel”. It’s a great tune because it showcases all the band’s many talents: Walsh and Steinhardt both sing extensively, with Livgren even kicking in on a chorus or two (not that there are really choruses to speak of on this song); Ehart’s drum work is tight, crisp, and almost overly energetic; and Dave Hope makes his presence felt on bass like nowhere else on the album (except perhaps “Magnum Opus”). Steinhardt and Walsh have this interplay of keyboards and violin that I’ve never heard duplicated anywhere else but with this band; Rich Williams is in the process of perfecting his ‘meatwall’ guitar sound and is amply augmented by Livgren; and Dave Hope has this really funky bass line that fills in well between Ehart’s drums and the rest of the band. Other than Steinhardt adding in a few flourishes on violin, this is almost a note-for-note reproduction of the original. Not that this is necessarily the hallmark of a good live album, but for such a detailed work I think it’s impressive that the band has little trouble repeating it in front of a live audience.

The heavy double-barrel keyboard lead-in to “Portrait” by Livgren and Walsh is something I’ve seen in concert myself, and the crowd really gets off on this. Today I guess they would have to dumb this one down a bit with only one keyboardist and Williams picking up both his and Livgren’s old guitar parts. It’s probably safe to say this one will rarely or never be played live again, but you can really feel that on that stage and that day, the band was really digging it. Ehart’s drum changeups are even more impressive when you realize he only had this one take to get it right. There’s a guitar riff that cuts loose toward the climax that is just intense here – not sure if it’s Livgren or Williams, but I’m leaning toward Williams. Nothing progressive about this one – just a damn good rocker. This kicks right into “Carry on Wayward Son”, with the three-pronged vocal harmony of Walsh, Livgren, and Steinhardt framing the upcoming hit perfectly. My only complaint with this recording over the years is that the band seems to rush through this one, almost as if they want to punch the Top-40 ticket and move on to the songs they’d rather be playing. Fair enough, but had they realized that this would be the only legitimate live release of their formative years, I wonder if they would have put a bit more into it.

Steinhardt introduces “Journey from Mariabronn” by saying “we’d like to take you back to the very beginning, back to the first album. We’d like to do a song – we hope you remember, entitled Journey from Mariabronn”. Kind of funny actually, because this was right at the time when the band’s reputation was exploding across the U.S., and I’m guessing less than one in five people in the audience had actually heard this song before. But this one leaves a great impression as it showcases the melodic side of Walsh’s voice, as well as the more abstract side of Livgren’s songwriting. I gotta’ believe the band sold a few back-catalog albums just from including this in the live release. Walsh does some keyboard noodling on this one that adds about a minute to the original, and at eleven minutes only Magnum Opus is a longer track. Today the band usually operates under a tight timeline in concert, so this is another song that’s unlikely to be played on stage again any time soon.

The uber-famous “Dust in the Wind” drags on forever, and is the only song I would have preferred wrapped up sooner. At nearly three minutes longer than the studio version, this is also I believe the longest version of this song ever recorded. Most of the extra time is spent with Walsh ‘ooo-ing’ in the background while Steinhardt extends his violin parts, plus Livgren drags out a couple more minutes with some California Guitar Trio-like acoustic rambling. It’s some interesting finger work, but I’m not really sure it adds much to the album. One other comment - I believe in concert and on Point of Know Return Steinhardt plays the violin parts over Livgren and Williams on acoustic guitars, while the lower viola part is a recorded track. On the studio album you really don’t notice this, but in the live setting it’s really apparent, as not only the pitches are distinctly different, but the recorded quality of the violin is noticeably different than that of the viola part.

The Walsh-penned “Lonely Wind”, also from the band’s debut album, leads in with some really beautiful keyboards (Walsh), and his voice is sharp as hell. This would be the only single released from the album, and it managed to make it about halfway up the U.S. rock charts.

“Mysteries and Mayhem” is from Masque, and a song I was never that fond of in my younger years. But I’ve come to appreciate that this is a nice blend of the band’s more progressive tendencies and their bar-band rocking roots. This one has some heavily blues-influenced guitar work with very little violin (actually none, I think), and Walsh and Steinhardt alternating the lead vocal duties. I could actually see this one being played with a couple of 70’s go-go girls gyrating in the background and a water-bong working its way down the front row. God I miss the 70’s!

The little snippet from “Lamplight Symphony” seems more like filler to me. I love this passage of the song, but really wish they could have found their way to include the whole song, or replace it with something completely different.

“The Wall” is the most distinctively Kansas-sounding song the band has in their catalog. This is a very faithful reproduction, almost note-for-note from the studio version.

(One note here – on the original album there is a pretty decent version of “Closet Chronicles” that has been cut from the CD version to make the two vinyl albums fit on one CD. I would have preferred the extended “Dust in the Wind” were cut instead, but considering that is the band’s biggest hit ever, I suppose that wasn’t an option).

The grand finale is “Magnum Opus”, and the band pulls out all the stops, with spacey keyboards all over the place, the guitar peaks just thundering and the valleys almost pin- drop quiet. Each of the band members gets in one or two short solo bits, and the whole things climbs to the kind of self-indulgent feedback-and-drums climax that was so typical of that era. Walsh belts out a “thank you, and good night from Kansas”, and we’re done.

One other note – if you can possibly get your hands on the vinyl version instead of the CD, the gatefold and liner pictures in that larger size are really interesting. They show the band in various concert settings that really capture their meteoric rise to fame during the 1976-1978 period. Tiny postage-stamp photos inside a jewel case just don’t do justice. Unfortunately for me my original vinyl was stolen years ago and all I have today is a lousy reprinted cassette version with no liner notes whatsoever.

The thing that frustrates me most about this band (other than their string of bad career moves in the 80’s) is that there aren’t more albums like this available from the pinnacle of their career. Kansas has always been a great live band, and the fact that there is little live material available between 1974 and 1992 is a real shame. There’s the Vinyl Confessions tour video, a couple songs on King Biscuit collection CDs, a handful of heavily reproduced bootlegs, and this – that’s about it. I keep hearing that Two for the Show will be remastered and re-released, but am still waiting for that. This is one of the premier live albums of the 70’s, and the only truly representative live work of Kansas at their finest. If you like live albums in general, are interested in seeing and hearing the mood and feel of the late 70’s captured in a time capsule, or just love this band, this would make an excellent addition to your collection. Four stars.


Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars After a very prolific period (five albums in three years), Kansas only produced one live album in 1978. My favorite Kansas studio albums are "Kansas", their first one and "Song For America" from which very few tracks have been taken into consideration for this live set.

The opening track "Song For America is a bit emasculated but still very good. But frankly, to cut "Lamplight Symphony" by three to reach 2'39" is really a massacre. It is one of my preferred Kansas song and such a treament is really unforgivable. What a shame ! I am also missing "Incomudro", of course...

"Journey from Mariabronn" is just as beautiful as the studio version : violin and piano are great, the band at its hights : this is a fabulous rendering of this great song. A Kansas classic, with no doubt. "Lonely Wind", the ancestor of "Dust" as I mentioned in my review of their first studio album is sweet and subtle (although the instrumental intro is rather long here), but it is not the Kansas side I prefer, honestly. Too melowish for my ears.

But that's it for what I consider as their two best albums.

Two songs from "Masque" which sound better than in studio. "Icarus ..." which is played harder here, is very powerful. One of the real highlight on this album. "Mysteries and Mayhem" is a great hard-rock Kansas song. Vocals are maybe somewhat weaker maybe but guitar work is pretty nice.

Three songs from "Leftoverture" : "Carry On ..." is also shorter than the studio one (I quite not understand this habit to shorten original version. Usually, live versions are more extended (some times too much). Still, it is really a good piece of music of course. "The Wall" was probably the most emotional song of the studio album, and it sounds pretty much the same here : beautiful.

This live set ends with "Magnus Opus" : after a quite lenghty and noisy intro (2'37) the song finally starts but I really do not understand those barking vocals around 4'50" (sounds like in "Diamond Dogs" from Bowie but there, at least, they were relevant). Apart from that, it is wonderfully played and is with no doubt the vest song of this live album.

Four songs from "Point Of..." which is definitely not my fave one from the band. The title track which is very close to the original, then "Paradox" : this live version is quite superior to its studio counterpart and makes it another very good moment of this "Two For One". "Portrait" is fabulous : the most violent Kansas live track ever (on par with Purple). Probably the track that improves the most versus the studio one.

When you will have listened to this live version of "Dust In The Wind" you will be completely charmed : violin is really superb and the audience reaction shows how well this song is interpreted here. Another highlight (although this type of songs are not my fave ones).

These numbers were very well performed, the band is still in unison and at its peak in popularity. Track list is a bit too much "Point Of Know Return" oriented to my taste (but it was the supporting tour, so....). This is the best live album that Kansas will produce. Four stars.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
5 stars If you, like me, thought that the first CD version of Kansas double live album Two For The Road was an incomplete affair, because of the loss of the excellent live version of Closet Chronicles, there are good news! The new 30th Anniversary Edition not only includes that track alone but also ten new unreleased live songs of that same period. The recording company even brought back the original producer Jeff Glixman to remix those tunes and - at last! - gave it a slip case and booklet thatīs really worth itīs importance.

The resulting album is startling! With no overdubs of any kind you get Kansas at their very peak, a seasoned band, that honed their skills for years on the road, becoming something much bigger than the sum of its parts. Itīs absolutely amazing to hear those guys playing live: they are steaming with energy! All the band members shine here and Steve Walsh is one of rockīs best voices. If you like the studio versions of their material, then you should listen to them live just to see how powerful, creative and skillful they really were at the time. A time when samplers, sequencers and all the gadgets that improve live acts were not available. You had to be good to sound good. And Kansas was damn good!

Highlights are too many to mention. In fact, even the solos are good (and even the always awful drum solo is ok, I liked the way it merges to The Spider. Nice idea, Kansas). this is sure one of the best live albums of all time and now it got even better with the new tracks.

If you got the one disc version, get rid of it and run to buy the new edition. Youīll get an extra 75+ minutes of great music. If you donīt have it, buy the anniversary edition anyway. Itīs one of the best live albums ever. A truly masterpiece and a must have for any prog lover. It took a long time to come in full, but it finally arrived in all its glory. 5 stars with honors!

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This is like a best of collection from Kansas. Their first 5 classic albums are all represented. There are most songs from Leftoverture and Point of Know Return though.

I really enjoy this album as many of my favorite Kansas songs are represented here. The perfomance is taken from the Point of Know Return tour and it captures the band at their peak ( we all know that from this point on it went downhill). What a talented band they were, I wish I could have seen them on this tour ( which was impossible as I was born in 1977). I would really like to know if Kansas really sounded like this live or if this album has been meddled with ( which is the case with many live albums: Thin Lizzy - Live and Dangerous ??).

We find captivating perfomances of almost every "hit" from Kansas on Two for the Show, and I only miss a couple of the epics to make this album perfect. For my sake they could have left out Lonely Wind which I find is one of the worst Kansas songs ever written, but it is the only flaw on this album.

I think this is very essential to prog fans and if you donīt know Kansas this could be a good place to start.

Review by Slartibartfast
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / In Memoriam
5 stars I have a feeling I am in Kansas once again.

Hard to believe that nearly 30 years ago to the date of the release of the remaster of this album, I was a young lad attending my first concert, which happened to be a progressive rock show by a band called Kansas. At the time I was on my way to leaving behind pop music and becoming a progressive rock fanatic.

Two For The Show was culled from various concerts in 1977 and 1978 and, dare I say, represents the band at its pinnacle. For the remaster you not only get Closet Chronicles, which was egregiously omitted from the first CD release to keep it to one disc, but ten additional tracks not released previously. And these are quite good additions: Hopelessly Human, Child Of Innocence, Belexes, Cheyenne Anthem, Miracles Out Of Nowhere, Sparks Of The Tempest, in particular, plus a Phil Ehart drum solo prelude to The Spider.

The quality of the music is what makes the difference between a truly great live album and a mediocre one. This one doesn't disappoint. The songs aren't strict regurgitations of the studio tracks, they're played with a higher energy (Ehart comments in the liner notes how these versions are "smokin' fast"), and no overdubs. The track selection surely represent the best of Kansas from their first five albums.

I give this release a fiver on the round up.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Even before the two-disc set came out, this was the definitive Kansas live album. Many of the favorites from the first five albums are here, as well as a few live bonuses. The songs are faster, and the sound more furious. My favorite version of the hit song "Carry On Wayward Son" is here (with Walsh singing a slightly different melody on the well-known chorus). The lovely acoustic guitar solo following "Dust in the Wind" is magnificent piece of music, as is the piano solo introducing the usually forgotten "Lonely Wind." "Magnum Opus" is as creepy as ever, with the eeriest of introductions, and the initial moments of "Sparks of the Tempest" can make a child piddle on himself a tad. Kerry Livgren and Rich Williams indulge in a little guitar dueling prior to "Child of Innocence." Ehart delivers a slightly exotic and triumphant drum solo that leads into outlandish noises that go right into "The Spider," which is played at an almost breakneck speed. The song directly after that is the sorely missed "Closet Chronicles," which was originally cut from the vinyl to make the album fit on one compact disc. But the record company has made it up to Kansas fans with this updated version. Also included is the typically neglected masterpiece "Hopelessly Human," which stands shoulder to shoulder with the shorter epics. Speaking of shorter epics, the second disc blesses Kansas fans with "Miracles Out of Nowhere," which has an extended and more complex organ interlude. Forget the compilations- if one must have the best of Kansas, one could do no better than to acquire this masterpiece of live progressive rock music.
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
5 stars Beauty and abundance

This live album was released at the very pinnacle of Kansas' career just after their two studio masterpieces Point Of Know Return and Leftoverture. Two For The Show presents us with the best songs from the band's first five studio records with songs from the two aforementioned albums rubbing shoulders with fantastic versions of older Kansas classics like Icarus (Borne On Wings Of Steal), Song For America, and Journey From Mariabronn. The live versions of the songs from the early albums are often improvements over the studio originals, making Two For The Show the ultimate place to discover many of these songs.

To my knowledge, there are three different versions of this album: the original double vinyl LP, a single CD reissue and a double CD version (30th Anniversary Edition). While the first CD release had to drop one of the songs (Closet Chronicles) from the original vinyl track list to be able to squeeze the album onto a single compact disc, the recent 2CD version offers the complete program plus an abundance of extra live material. This new version (remastered by Jeff Glixman who produced Point Of Know Return and Leftoverture) is the ultimate version. (If you wish to hear the album as it was on the original vinyl LP you can rip both discs onto your computer and program it to play the album this way.

Two For The Show is Kansas' counterpart to Yessongs, Seconds Out, and Welcome Back My Friends To The Show That Never Ends (by Yes, Genesis, and Emerson Lake & Palmer respectively). This is one of the best live albums of all time! Very highly recommended!

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the perfect Kansas live album to own. Coming after the last of their five great albums, and just before the decline in the quality of their output this album contains a multitude of great songs. And Dust In The Wind. I am ashamed to say that I only have the original single CD version of this album (I didn't even know about the two disk version until I look at the page for this album here), so that is all I can comment on.

The songs are all energetically played, many at blinding speed. While playing at that sped is great, it sometimes makes for sloppy performances. But that's okay, it also makes for a fun album.

The best song here, is the band's magnum opus, Magnum Opus. It begins with a collage of spacy noises, progressing into the glorious opening, propelling into the wild midsection, and marching into the grandiose ending.

I can only hope I will be just as thrilled when I get the 2 CD version.

Review by Rune2000
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars How do you round up a great string of albums while making a treat for the existing fans? Release a live album!

Kansas managed to make quite a name for themselves over the course of merely five years and Two For The Show does a wonderful job of summing up those years on this four sides LP release. All of the songs that I consider to be essential off each of the band's five records are here - namely Journey From Mariabronn from the debut, the title track from Song For America, Icarus from Masque, The Wall from Leftoverture and finally Point Of Know Return/Paradox off their latest release.

The best part about this set list is that it's full of unexpected surprises, even though it does become a minor hazard in a few places. For instance, I lacked enthusiasm during the performances of the band's hits like Carry On Wayward Son and especially Dust In The Wind. The same problem is also clear during the performances of almost all the songs from Point Of Know Return and my two big favorites Journey From Mariabronn and The Wall. On the other hand, we get flawless live renditions of Song For America, which has been wisely shortened for the occasion, Icarus and most importantly Magnum Opus! There are really no words to describe this 11 minute performance that completes the original version of the live album. It simply has to be experienced to be believed!

At the end, Two For The Show definitely comes up on the plus side. Not only does it show that Kansas was a magnificent live band but also compiles one of the best compilation albums that can serve as a great introduction to anyone who has previously never heard this band.

***** star songs: Song For America (7:29) Paradox (4:09) Icarus - Borne On The Wings Of Steel (5:58) Magnum Opus (11:14)

**** star songs: Point Of Know Return (3:07) Portrait (He Knew) (5:19) Carry On Wayward Son (4:39) Journey From Mariabronn (8:55) Dust In The Wind (Acoustic Guitar Solo) (6:18) Lonely Wind (Piano Solo) (4:29) Excerpt From Lamplight Symphony (2:38) The Wall (4:58)

*** star songs: Mysteries And Mayhem (4:01)

Review by stefro
3 stars Surprisingly, the land of cheeseburgers, baseball and gun crime didn't produce much prog during the genre's peak years, though it did - thank the stars - give us Kansas. Alongside Styx, Starcastle, Journey and Todd Rundgren's Utopia, Kansas were part of this very big country's very small progressive movement, melding earthy Southern rock with Yes-style histrionics on such winning album's as 'Song For America', 'Leftoverture' and 1978's cunningly-titled 'Point Of Know Return'. Of course, once the 1980's came calling, the group would slowly morph in a much more commercially-viable entity and that, coupled with Kerry Livgren's conversion into Evangelical Christianity, saw the end of Kansas the prog-rockers. Theif first six albums are all well worth investigating for those interested, and if you really can't be bothered to collect them all then you can just buy this double-sided live album which rounds up the best of those albums in rousing live form. Live albums, though, are always a gamble. One of the music industry's most quixotic creations, live albums can either be absolutely brilliant - think Chicago's quadruple-sided 'At Carnegie Hall', Santana's epic triple-sized 'Lotus' or the scintillating 'Solar Music Live' from German symphonic proggers Grobschntt - or they can be a complete and utter waste of time. Great live albums find a group stretching out and adding to the studio material, turning already great songs into even bigger and better ones; bad live albums are either inaudible, unneccessary and dull, and there is nothing worse than a live album where each-and-every song resembles the studio version with no added extras. Simply put, what is the point? You already have the studio albums, so why listen to inferior versions featuring inferior sound quality, unless there is something extra that adds to the music. Although 'Two For The Show' certainly isn't a bad album, it does come under the 'rather unneccessary' banner, as the live versions here are merely note-for- note re-enactments of their studio counterparts. There is nothing wrong with the actual playing - it is, for the most, pretty superb - it's just that those little extra's that can make live albums soooo good simply aren't here. So, what you have is essentially a live greatest hits conpendium of Kansas' peak years. Give me the studio albums any day.
Review by Dapper~Blueberries
5 stars I was originally gonna get this review out on Thanksgiving, but due to family and stuff I couldn't. That being said, better late than never 'ey?

Prog Rock in the 70s was definitely dominated by Europe with King Crimson and or Gentle Giant raging through, though in the American continent there was still some hype around a good amount of bands. In South America there are bands like Bubu from Argentina, and Os Mutantes from Brazil. Canada got its fair share of Prog too with Harmonium and the well beloved Rush. In between them with America, most progressive acts were very centered on Jazz, most likely due to it being a big cultural thing in the 70s and 60s with acts like Frank Zappa, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, and Return To Forever supplying the more jazz focused music in the American region. Though for more general rock fans that want the more harder side of the genre were still in luck, especially in the Heartland area in states like Ohio, Indiana, and of course Kansas. The more American focused Prog in the Heartlands were less reliant on European classicalism and symphonics but more on a harder rock and even slightly country sound, though bands like Styx would sprinkle in some Euro influences in their music from time to time. These tropes and characteristics of American styled Prog can be seen most prominently with Kansas.

To me Kansas has never been my favorite band in my country, but that is compared to modern acts around my banks of expertise. Even though they may not be my favorite, they still have made some very amazing albums like Song For America and Point Of Know Return, and some very classic songs that I think even non Progheads love like Carry On My Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind. As an American I find Kansas to hit pretty close to home since I live in the Western Heartland area of the USA, though I was born in a coastal state. So with that being said, I absolutely adore this live album they put out in '78.

Two For The Show is one of Kansas' expertly crafted musical ventures, featuring songs from their first five records (Kansas, Song For America, Masque, Leftoverture, and Point Of Know Return.) and they picked out the best of the best for this live show in those respective albums, beginning with the awesome Song For America from its titular album and ending with the big 11 minute suite Magnum Opus from Leftoverture, with the songs in between containing amazingly placed numbers like Icarus and Journey From Mariabronn. No song here is bad, not even close, and for me a good live album should, for one, bring out new experiences to songs, and create for a lively and fun atmosphere. This album does not only do both, but exceeds my expectations in how live albums should be. The big and grand sound the band raises in this live performance in each song allows them to constantly feel fresh even after multiple listens with me noticing new things each time, especially with headphones.

I think the best version of the album to listen to is the 30th anniversary edition with another hour worth of content that continues the streak of amazing songs from Kansas' lineage. Not only do you get a mouthful of music from this edition, but so much good material that, even with its long 2 hour length, you cannot help but love it even more.

I just love the big and super radical sound Kansas exudes on this live venture, that I just want more of what they have to offer in this big adventure they set out on stage. The violin work of Robby Steinhardt is the soul part of the album for me, working hand in hand with Steve Walsh's keyboard works and Kerry and Rich's guitars. But, they do not compare with the immaculate bass work of Dave Hope. Again, listen to this with headphones and just listen to Dave's bass. It is so meaty, powerful, and poignant that it is a crying shame he doesn't get the spotlight in comparison to other bass legends like Geddy Lee and Les Claypool.

I also really like how sometimes the band would sprinkle in a bit of a melody in some cases where they interconnect the songs they are playing. You can see that with Portrait to Carry On My Wayward Son and Excerpt from "Lamplight Symphony" to The Wall. It just makes the album so much bigger and better, really solidifying the band's Prog status while retaining their hearty sound of music.

Pretty much all of this album, front to back, is a gemstone just waiting to be cracked into. 14 songs of pure progressive stasis, and 11 more just waiting to be eaten up in the anniversary edition. If you haven't heard this live album, do yourself a favor and listen to it since this album should be one everyone at least in some point should look into as it is one of the best live releases in my opinion. Such an amazing work of art from this band.

Review by Warthur
4 stars The first Kansas live album is drawn from various shows on the Point of Know Return tour - but though songs from that feature heavily, a healthy range of selections from the previous four albums also feature on the setlist. It's an apt capstone to what is arguably their most widely beloved phase, and captures the band at a glorious peak - by this time Carry On Wayward Son has being a monster hit for them, giving the band the confidence to double down on their musical direction and make Point of Know Return an unabashedly progressive release, and that's exactly the side of their sound they showcase here.

The thing about peaks is that you don't stay there long - if you did they'd be plateaus. The Monolith album has its advocates for sure - but it's hard to deny that there's a bit more naysaying and a bit more enthusiasm about that one, a discontent that only becomes more pronounced once you push forward into Kansas' 1980s discography. Whilst their most loyal fans would stick with them through thick or thin, the good ship Kansas would undeniably face choppy waters after this - making it all the more valuable that they produced this live document of their imperial phase right as it reached its apex.

At the same time, I find that one double album of live Kansas is about all the live Kansas I feel like I have an appetite for; Kansas were always very capable when it came to capturing their best side in the studio, and so the original album renditions of these tracks generally feel more compelling than these live run-throughs, which are capable and solid performances but don't really offer much that make me see the compositions in question in a new light.

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Report this review (#1941107) | Posted by TenYearsAfter | Monday, June 25, 2018 | Review Permanlink

4 stars ALong with Jethro Tull's BURSTING OUT, this is one of my favorite live albums. I had this on the 2 disc vinyl and now on one cd. Great tunes, great singing, great music skills, and good choices of songs from throughout their career. Oldies such as "Song for AMerica" and "Icarus" are here as well as ... (read more)

Report this review (#752836) | Posted by mohaveman | Sunday, May 13, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This review is for the 30th anniversary version - BUY IT. I only wish there was video material of Kansas in this time period, there should be as they were at their peak playing arenas and had hits with Dust in the Wind, Point of Know Reture and Carry on Wayward Son. The live performance o ... (read more)

Report this review (#221615) | Posted by SMSM | Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I own the original double LP and bought that after I saw them live myself. Because of that I always liked that album very much. Since Kansas didn't make any good music the last decades I went listening to Proto-Kaw and because I like them very much I went listening to my old Kansas records again ... (read more)

Report this review (#177810) | Posted by Sander | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This review should stand as a notice to record companies why sites like Progarchives matters. I have owned this album for a number of years, first in vinyl than in the original cd release and never really gave it much thought, but after reading the reviews from this site my interest in the updat ... (read more)

Report this review (#177741) | Posted by DantesRing | Tuesday, July 22, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I have pleasant memories from this particular Kansas record. I was looking for an specific sound that I didnīt found it here but nevertheless I was constantly listening to it. So as times passes I now have it in the CD format and it is a superb record. The favorites are all here but now I find t ... (read more)

Report this review (#75144) | Posted by steelyhead | Sunday, April 16, 2006 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Two For The Show may not catch the attention of the average listener, especially if they find no joy whatsoever in Progressive Rock. However, any Kansas fan who's willing to listen beyond the various over-echoing will truly discover the LIVE talent of Kansas from the 1970's. The surreal effect ... (read more)

Report this review (#21841) | Posted by | Friday, May 27, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Live albums aren't generally much cop, and this isn't really the exception that proves the rule. Some workmanlike performances fail to hide the fact that Kansas has never been the most dynamic live proposition, and as with any title like this, the song selection could be discussed over beers for hou ... (read more)

Report this review (#21831) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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