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Kansas Carry on for no Return album cover
2.58 | 7 ratings | 1 reviews | 57% 5 stars

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Live, released in 2016

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Intro: Wagner's Lohengrin/Point of Know Return (6:27)
2. Icarus/Borne on Wings of Steel (6:05)
3. Paradox (5:02)
4. Hopelessly Human (7:09)
5. Cheyenne Anthem (3:53)
6. Dust in the Wind (4:51)
7. You Think You Got it Made/The Mask of the Great Deceiver (10:19)
8. Miracles out of Nowhere/Loner (9:22)
9. Anything for You (4:20)
10. Don't Open Your Eyes (4:09)
11. Got Rock On/No One Together (9:57)
12. Hold On (4:55)
13. Relentless (6:36)

Total time: 83:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Walsh / lead vocals, keyboards, vibes, percussion
- Rich Williams / guitars, percussion, backing vocals
- Kerry Livgren / guitars, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
- Robby Steinhardt / viola, violin, lead vocals
- Dave Hope / bass, backing vocals
- Phil Ehart / drums, percussion, backing vocals

Releases information

CD Good Ship Funke GSF016 (2016) US

Recorded live as a CBS FM radio broadcast November 20, 1980.

Thanks to clemofnazareth for the addition
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KANSAS Carry on for no Return ratings distribution

(7 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(57%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(14%)
Good, but non-essential (14%)
Collectors/fans only (14%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KANSAS Carry on for no Return reviews

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

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars Well this is kind of interesting. The 'latest' for Kansas fans who are eagerly awaiting their first studio album in nearly seventeen years ('The Prelude Implicit' will release in September, 2016), here is yet another blast from the past to whet your appetite. 'Carry on for no Return' is the release of a live FM radio broadcast first recorded November 20, 1980 at the Palladium in New York City.

Let's start off by acknowledging this thing for what it is. I'm not sure who owns the label Good Ship Funke but they are clearly an intentionally-anonymous industry insider with a firm grasp of the intricately nuanced world of publishing and broadcast rights, and of music licensing in general. This is of course not a major label release, obvious since the band hasn't even been on a major label in more than twenty years. On the surface this actually looks like a bootleg, but turns out it is a marginally, technically legal release although not authorized or endorsed by the band. Much like the 'Bryn Mawr 1976' CD off the Smokin' label in 2014, this is a live radio broadcast where someone managed to get their hands on a moderately decent recording and secure rights to release it. I seem to recall reading a couple years ago about somebody buying rights to recordings from a buttload of 70s and 80s live performances. Can't remember the details and it doesn't really matter, but I suppose that would explain why we've seen so many baby boom-era live concerts being released on CD in the past few years.

Anyway, the signs of skirting the edges of publishing laws are many. First the album name 'Carry on for no Return' since 'Know Return' would have been more appropriate but would I'm sure also have drawn the interest of Kirshner and Eric copyright attorneys. The font used for the band name hints at their signature form by using an unusual style, but carefully avoids drawing from the actual authorized band font. And the stock photo on the front cover was cleared many years ago in a press kit, so the label didn't have to shell out anything for artwork or pay licensing fees to a photographer.

Speaking of photos, there's another 'public domain' photo used on the back cover and the liner notes. This one features Steve Morse and Steve Walsh live in concert. Unfortunately, Steve Morse didn't even join the band until 1986, and this photo comes from a series of concerts in Philadelphia in 1989, nearly a decade after the concert on the CD. Interesting though that the folks at Good Ship Funke included their own copyright claim for the CD packaging and artwork, even though both photos in the artwork were released by the band themselves as promotional material many years ago.

There are no performer or production credits in the liner notes (since that's not legally required) but there are credits for each song's composers on the back cover (because that is required when one owns the broadcast but not the publishing rights for a piece of music). And that's about it, other than a brief and accurate but boring 'history' of the band on the inside sleeve.

So to be clear, this CD is a shameless attempt to grab a few bucks based on name recognition and probably hopes that the timing will lead to confusion by some dullards who will pick this up thinking it if the new Kansas studio album. Kind of like last year when the film Krampus came out and right after it finished its limited-theater release, Redbox started promoting Krampus: the Reckoning leading fans to believe (probably intentionally) that this was a sequel when in fact it was an appallingly awful and poorly produced movie that had no connection to the real film whatsoever. So for that alone I'm deducting two stars (probably should make that three).

So why bother to write about the record at all? Well, anyone who knows the band knows they've been around for more than 45 years, but their heyday was clearly 1975-1980. And back then they were known as a supremely talented live act, with many fans even preferring their live performances to the studio ones, as evidenced by their 1978 double-live 'Two for the Show' topping one million sales just three months after its release. But surprisingly there are relatively few live recordings that survived that period, other than a small number of fairly well-known bootlegs, none of which is of very high quality and none at all that I'm aware of that are from the Audio-Visions tour like this broadcast was. So for those reasons the disc is worth some consideration, at least by serious fans.

In addition to a rather nice introduction from Wagner's 'Lohengrin', there are thirteen Kansas songs on the CD along with one each from Kerry Livgren and Steve Walsh's respective solo albums that were both released in 1980. I'm not sure if that was the entire concert but given the playlist matches those from several other shows on the same tour I'm guessing this was all or at least most of the music that was performed that evening. And for the most part I think the thing is in its actual sequence, the exception being the closing 'Relentless' which was probably originally played somewhere in the middle of the show but moved to the end here because it would make a stronger closing piece for the radio broadcast than the more languid 'Hold On'. Seven of the ten tracks on the Audio-Visions album are performed, along with the obligatory 'Dust in the Wind' and 'Point of Know Return' (although surprisingly not 'Carry on Wayward Son'). The front half of the concert consists of abbreviated versions of older material including 'Icarus/Borne on Wings of Steel', 'Hopelessly Human', 'Paradox' and a shamefully brief 'Cheyenne Anthem' that clocks in at less than four minutes. This is followed by a clear break from the past with Walsh's 'So You Think You Got It Made' from his 'Schemer Dreamer' album that was released that spring. This morphs into 'The Mask of the Great Deceiver' from Livgren's own 1980 solo album 'Seeds of Change', the two contrasting their respective authors' styles as 'Mask' is a much more progressive, brooding and introspective song than Walsh's boogey blues rocker. After that the concert shifts focus to the present and other than an abbreviated 'Miracles out of Nowhere' the rest of the show consists of songs from their current album ('Audio-Visions').

There are several observations about the quality of the show that night that are worth commenting on. First and foremost, the early stages of Walsh's vocal fall from grace are evident here. While he manages to hit some key notes (particularly early in the show), he struggles later, is sometimes off-key, and several times lays off high notes when it seems to be beyond his range. There's also more vocal participation from Robbie Steinhardt, something that would become common over the ensuing years until Steinhardt left the band. And there seems to be a bit of a struggle at times between the two of them over who is leading, when to harmonize and when to step back. This is most apparent on the newer stuff although Steinhardt steps all over Walsh on 'Miracles' where I think he's trying to take some of the higher stuff Walsh isn't reaching but Steve doesn't want to let those go. This is also something fans would continue to see at Kansas concerts for many years after this. I witnessed it myself during at least five concerts in the 80s and 90s.

There's also an interesting attempt to placate older fans while reaching out to new ones, and doing this in the ADHD-and-coke 80s where long progressive songs were about as popular as rectal thermometers. So the band includes some old-timey favorites like 'Icarus' and 'Cheyenne Anthem', but guts the instrumental passages to get them down to something resembling an MTV-length soundbite. 'Cheyenne Anthem' suffers most and of all the live versions I've heard of that song over the years, this one is by far the worst.

On a positive note though, there are several songs here that you will have a tough time finding live versions of anywhere else, in particular 'Don't Open Your Eyes', 'So You Think You Got It Made', 'No One Together' and 'Anything for You'. All are from 'Audio-Visions' and as far as I know no other live versions of these songs has ever been legitimately released. And the performance quality on these is pretty decent so if you're a fan of that album then this CD might be worth your time.

Otherwise I can't say this is something anyone should go out of their way to find and listen to. It is interesting to hear the band in concert shortly before they fractured into pieces, but beyond that there's not much new here and the sound and production quality isn't much better than if you had recorded this on a TDK cassette back when it first aired thirty-five years ago. Two stars for the historical significance and for having live versions of songs that aren't available elsewhere, but nothing more than that.


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