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Kansas King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989) album cover
2.67 | 43 ratings | 5 reviews | 19% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Live, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Magnum opus (2:12)
2. One big sky (6:11)
3. Paradox (4:11)
4. Point of know return (5:16)
5. The wall (6:04)
6. All I wanted (5:24)
7. T.O. Witcher (1:41)
8. Dust in the wind (4:27)
9. Miracles out of nowhere (6:44)
10. The preacher (4:57)
11. House on fire (12:12)
12. Carry on wayward son (6:26)

Total Time: 65:45

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / vocals, keyboards
- Rich Williams / guitar
- Billy Greer / vocals, bass
- Phil Ehart / drums
- Steve Morse / guitar
- Greg Robert /keyboards

Releases information

Cd. King Biscuit 88042

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Guillermo for the last updates
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KANSAS King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989) ratings distribution

(43 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(19%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(21%)
Good, but non-essential (40%)
Collectors/fans only (19%)
Poor. Only for completionists (2%)

KANSAS King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents Kansas (1989) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
1 stars Good grief - don't buy this record!

This is the exact same album as the 2003 'Greatest Hits Live' CD. Even worse, these are the same recordings that were released as the EMI compilation 'Dust in the Wind' in 2002. And just to add insult to injury, this is the same recording that was released by Silverline in 2003 on audio DVD as part of the 'From the Front Row Live' series. Talk about getting mileage out of a recording!

There are some very slight variations in the order of the tracks on these various releases, although this particular one is exactly the same is the 2003 'Greatest Hits Live' release, just with a different cover. And the silverline audio DVD has that media's enhanced ability to play around with the sound a little (Dolby 5.1). But otherwise, these are all the same thing in different packages.

For the record (no pun intended), this particular recording is from the second of a two night appearance at the Tower Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in February 1989. Steve Walsh had been absent from the tour for a while due to pneumonia and throat problems, but his voice is actually in pretty good form here (compare to the Live at the Whiskey CD that was recorded just three years later for a jarring reality check on how quickly his voice faded though).

The rest of the lineup included Steve Morse on guitar (and sometimes violin), although he was already touring with his own band and would leave Kansas not long after this tour; Greg Robert on keyboards, who had appeared on In the Spirit of Things and would officially join the band before their next release; Billy Greer on bass, who had been with the band since Walsh brought him from Streets when he rejoined the band in 1986; and stalwarts Phil Ehart and Rich WIlliams.

The song selection is typical of that day, heavy on their most recent release (In the Spirit of Things), with a couple other later tracks and the obligatory seventies hits ("Dust in the Wind", "Miracles out of Nowhere", Carry on Wayward Son"), but is nothing all that impressive, and certainly not anything close to being their 'greatest hits'. Magnum Opus is more like Minor Opus, as it only includes the first couple minutes of that epic classic. And most of the songs are dominated by Morse with endless shredding and soloing, including about ten minutes of hard-rock posing on the otherwise bland "House on Fire".

What's most sad about this album is that it was a very interesting live radio show when it was recorded in 1989. But the greed and deception of various record labels and management companies has caused it to live on in these several sub-standard cutout bin releases over the years, none of which captures the real power and spirit of this band live and at their prime.

Yet another of the many disappointments with this CD is that Kansas also covered Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" during the concert, but that track wasn't included either here or on any of the other many releases the concert was packaged into. Not that the track is very good, but it still represents one of the few and rare live covers Kansas has done over the years and as such should really have been included here.

If you absolutely have to have this concert, buy this one I suppose. It has the best artwork and is the closest to what the band thought they were getting into when they agreed to have this recorded.

If you just want to hear the band live in their prime, pick up Two for the Show. This one is only for completionists, and only for the most ardent ones at that. Yuck.


Review by ZowieZiggy
2 stars This live performance was recorded for the popular US radio show "The King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents" (in February 1989). Since it was performed during the supporting tour for "In The Spirit Of Things" (one of their poorest album IMO), we'll get four songs from this album : "One Big Sky", "House on Fire", "The Preacher" and "T.O. Witcher". My preferred track of this album was "Bells of Saint James" and is not featured here. These make the album sound a bit weak in comparison to "Two For The Show".

"One Big Sky" sounds really awful. Heavy AOR in all its "grandeur". A very hard moment indeed ! Since the original numbers from this studio album were poor, there is no miracle (even out from nowhere) : they will remain so. The only bearable track, is the gentle acoustic guitar number "T.O. Witcher" (Steve Howe or Hackett are not far away...). "The Preacher" has always abhor me. I could never get into this attempt to recreate a negro-spirital song. At least, in this version, there are no choir to make it more painful than it was on the studio release. Skip this one as I always do.

The version of "House On Fire" features a long guitar intro from Steve Morse (4'20"). It is a bit too long and tastess to tell the truth. These moments were the core of the rock concerts in the early seventies but I only moderately appreciate them. This extended version (even if you take the intro out of it), sounds a lot heavier than the original. Walsh is shouting more than singing to try and reach high notes. Not great, I must say. The call and response between him and Morse (who'll get used to it later on with Gillan) do not match the godfathers of the genre : Led Zep and Purple of course. These twelve minutes or so won't count as my favorite from the band. By no means.

The album opens with the "Overture" of "Magnum Opus". We'll get only 2'12" of this great song. What a pity ! If you look at the other numbers, most of them are great Kansas songs and are nicely played here like "Paradox" for instance.

I have already expressed my feeling about the track "Point Of Know Return". It will not change after having heard this one (although Morse displays a nice guitar solo at the end). "The Wall" really belongs to the Kansas jewels. Extremely melodic : it is one of the very highlight of this live piece. "All I Wanted" is also a ballad but nothing comparable of course. This song from "Power" is not bad but can not compete with its glorious ancestors.

The mellow acoustic ballad "Dust In The Wind" is a must have in all Kansas show (but not all a fave of mine). This version is good, but the best live one IMO will remain available on "Two For The Show". "Miracles Out Of Nowhere" is another strong moment : the band play this number very well. Keys are especially nice and Walsh sounds OK. Finale is grandiose and very powerful.

The closing and legendary "Carry On Wayward Son" is a nice way to end a Kansas concert. Strong (almost heavy during the intro), it is all subtility afterwards. Another great Kansas moment.

This live album is not a must have, even for Kansas fans. The tracklist has too many average songs to really stand out. The previous two live album ""Two For The Show" and even "Live At The Whiskey" are superior. Two stars.

Review by Epignosis
3 stars This live album (unfortunately repackaged and reproduced under a number of gravely misleading titles) is quite good in my opinion. Steve Walsh's voice is far clearer than Live at the Whiskey, but not as clean as it was during Kansas's glory days. In lieu of a violin, Steve More fills in on guitar, and does a fair bit of shredding, but his playing is so clean and tasteful, I don't even miss the violin most of the time. What I do miss, however, is Steinhardt's voice and personality. Walsh was never as good at emceeing; at times, the man sounds downright goofy. The set list is an even mix between classic Kansas songs and material from more recent albums. "One Big Sky" is a great rocker with some simply stellar guitar work from both Morse and longtime guitarist Rich Williams, with great backup vocals from Billy Greer. It goes directly into "Paradox," one of my favorite Kansas songs that runs on the short side. My grief with it is that they play it at the correct tempo (I happen to prefer this song going at a hundred miles an hour). On the well-performed "Point of Know Return," Morse employs some fancy, albeit subtle guitar tricks. Walsh pumps up the crowd here, even if he does sound a bit corny. Walsh's vocal performance on "The Wall" is just bad, that's all there is to it. "Dust in the Wind" is marred by overzealous vocals and feedback. My favorite track on the album, "Miracles Out of Nowhere" sounds fresh (no thanks to Walsh, who's delivery of the lines during the quiet organ section is embarrassing to even listen to), largely due to Morse's glossy guitar tone and playing. The final organ segues right into "The Preacher," which I've always thought was a good song, even if not exactly progressive. Walsh's howling in the introduction is a bit sour to me, but other than that, the performance delivers. "House on Fire" is an extended jam, showing off the talents of Morse. Frankly, I've always thought it was rather wearisome, including the song proper, which is Kansas's attempt at Sammy Hagar-like rock. The call-and-response between the guitar and Walsh is almost painful to listen to, as by then his voice is really hoarse, and he sounds like a patron of a karaoke bar who sang as many songs as he had pitchers and cigarettes. On a positive note, there's the rapid-fire drumming of Phil Ehart. At the end of "House on Fire," Walsh is at his most embarrassing (in attempting to work the crowd). The album ends on a very high note, with their classic "Carry On Wayward Son." Walsh's harmonizing in some sections is very good, but it is Morse's subtle guitar swells during the verses and Walsh's stellar organ that makes this a great, albeit not outstanding, version. The band really lets it rip during the last moments.
Review by Guillermo
3 stars KANSAS was another Prog Rock band which could not escape in the eighties from the record companies's pressures to change their musical style to update it for the "new sounds of the new decade". And they had to change it a bit, with them recording two albums for MCA ("Power", from 1986, and the disappointing "In the Spirit of Things", from 1988, which also included several songs not composed by the members of the band). This live album, recorded for the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio programme, was recorded in February 1989 during the tour they did for their "In the Spirit of Things" album.

Despite some people don't like this album very much, I can say that it has a very good recording and mixing. They included four songs from their "In the Spirit of Things" album ("One Big Sky", "T.O. Witcher", "The Preacher" and " House on Fire" , with "T.O. Witcher being a good brief acoustic guitar solo piece by Steve Morse) and one from their "Power" album (the very mellow power ballad "All I Wanted"). "One Big Sky" sounds like a very eighties Hard Rock song, but it is not bad. "The Preacher" sounds like a Hard Rock Gospel influenced song which in the studio version included a Gospel choir (and maybe it is the best from their 1988 album), and "House on Fire" is an extended Hard Rock song with lead guitars. The rest of the songs are old songs from the seventies played with new arrangements and new keyboard sounds by Greg Robert, plus energetic guitars by Steve Morse and Rich Williams, with Morse replacing some of the violin parts playing good guitar parts and with sounds (maybe done with pedal effects or even with a guitar synth ) which sometimes sound like a violin (particularly in "Miracles Out of Nowhere" and "Dust in the Wind"). Some people mention that Morse really played a violin, but I really don't know. Or maybe Robert played some of those violin sounds with his keyboards. Steve Walsh's vocals soond very well in this album in comparison to the "Live at the Whisky" album from 1992. Phil Ehart plays energetic drums, and Billy Greer sings very good backing vocals. So, the band really sounds very well, maybe a bit similar to the eighties line-ups of GENESIS and YES playing in concert, with new personnel, instruments and sounds. Maybe the very eighties's sound didn't help them very much then, but they still were playing very well in concert, in my opinion.

A good live album which was re-issued several times under different titles and by different record labels.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Time travel is a great thing. It must be, as this '1979' release features 5, count 'em, 5, songs written after that date! This was actually recorded on the 'In The Spirit Of Things' Tour and as such is a good document of Kansas live at that time. Walsh was on the verge of breakdown vocally, but s ... (read more)

Report this review (#21931) | Posted by | Wednesday, December 31, 2003 | Review Permanlink

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