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Kansas Best of Kansas Live (VHS) [Aka: Live Confessions DVD] album cover
3.25 | 15 ratings | 5 reviews | 13% 5 stars

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DVD/Video, released in 1982

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Paradox
2. Windows
3. Right Away
4. Sparks of the Tempest
5. Diamonds and Pearls
6. Mysteries and Mayhem
7. No One Together
8. Hold On
9. Dust in the Wind
10. Chasing Shadows
11. Crossfire
12. Face It
13. Play the Game Tonight
14. Carry On Wayward Son
15. Drum solo
16. Portrait (He Knew)
17. Harmonica solo
18. Down the Road

Total time: 87 min. approx.

Line-up / Musicians

- Phil Ehart / drums
- Dave Hope / bass
- Kerry Livgren / keyboards, guitars
- John Elefante / vocals, keyboards, guitar
- Robby Steinhardt / violins, vocals
- Richard Williams / guitars

- Warren Ham / harmonica, flute, saxophone, keyboards, vocals

Releases information

Recorded in 1982 during the Vinyl Confessions tour in the USA

VHS CBS Records (1982)

DVD Showtime Movies and Music Ltd. SHOW022-9 (2009, entitled "Live Confessions", different cover)
DVD sound options: Stereo

Thanks to erik neuteboom for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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KANSAS Best of Kansas Live (VHS) [Aka: Live Confessions DVD] ratings distribution

(15 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(13%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(33%)
Good, but non-essential (53%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

KANSAS Best of Kansas Live (VHS) [Aka: Live Confessions DVD] reviews

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Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by erik neuteboom
3 stars In the late Seventies I discovered Kansas their unique sound while watching at the 'progressive rock' section in one of my favorite record shops (the late Supertracks in The Hague). When I noticed the eponymous first album by Kansas I was mesmerized: what a stunning cover, this begged for an immediate check out! Halfway side one I was deeply impressed: powerful, dynamic and alternating progrock with a very distinctive 'Holy Symphonic Rock Trinity': the harder-edged guitarwork, the classical sounding violin and the lush and often sumptuous keyboards, EXCELLENT, early Kansas sounded so fresh, unique and exciting!

This concert video (filmed in Omaha, Nebraska during the Vinyl Confessions tour in 1982 and celebrating 10 years Kansas) starts with Paradox, a typical 'Seventies Kansas' track: swirling violin, flahsy Minimoog runs, howling electric guitar and lots of shifting moods. New vocalist John Elefante (also keyboards and guitar) looks like the 'macho twin-brother of Leo Sayer, his vocals and presentation are OK but emphasizes the more polished and commercial musical direction after the Seventies. You can enjoy many songs from the Eighties albums Audio Visions (No One Together and Hold On) and Vinyl Confessions (Play The Game Tonight, Right Away, Chasing Shadows, Diamonds And Pearls, Face it, Windows and Crossfire ). These tracks are pleasant, melodic and tastefully arranged songs and still sound like Kansas (vocal harmonies and lots of great soli, especially on duo-electrcic guitar like in Crossfire) but for me it's too predictable. More interesting sound the other 'Seventies Kansas' like Mysteries And Mayhem (majectic violin work, fiery guitar play and duo-vocals by Steinhardt and Elefante), Dust In The Wind (part of a wonderful acoustic set with the emotional song Hold On), Carry On Wayward Son (strong rendition with good vocals and exciting Hammond waves and heavy guitar work), Portrait (dynamic interplay between all instruments, thrilling harder-edged guitar soli and a fine harmonica solo) and the 'stage favorite' Down The Road (featuring the exciting heavy side of Kansas, including powerful vocals by Steinhardt). Guest musician Warren Ham delivers a fine contribution on harmonica, saxophone, keyboards and especially the flute- traverse that reminds me of famous Focus member Thijs Van Leer. A decent video that has many good Kansas moments, at some moments magical!

Review by Guillermo
4 stars This is a good concert video of Kansas with lead singer John Elefante, who, like the previous reviewer wrote, looks a bit like singer Leo Sayer. But John Elefante has a good voice, somewhat similar to Steve Walsh`s. Elefante plays keyboards and even occasionally guitar. The band sounds very good as a whole. The addition of a guest musician, Warren Ham, who plays several instruments and sings backing vocals, was a good choice. The concert starts with a very good instrumental keyboards arrangement of "Song of America", not listed.

The position of the musicians on stage is somewhat unusual for the early eighties: drummer Phil Ehart is not on the centre of the stage. He is in the left side of the stage (from the view of the audience), followed from left to right by Dave Hope, Rich Williams, Robby Steinhardt, John Elefante, Warren Ham and Kerry Livgren. The camera focuses most of the time in Steinhardt, Elefante, Ham and Livgren, with very occasional focuses on Ehart, Hope and Williams. Steinhardt shows very well his skills as the "communicator" with the audience, and also sings very good lead and backing vocals. Livgren is a very good keyboard player, maybe the best keyboard player that the band had. He also plays guitars and trade solos with Williams. Elefante is a "dymanic man" who is moving from the keyboards which are located upstairs on stage, up and down the stairs, from side to side of the stage. I really don`t like the stage design, which I consider a bit "dangerous" with stairs for the" dynamic" Elefante and Steinhardt. But this concert is very good, with the band sounding very well. Ham added very good sax and flute arrangements to some of the old songs. I thought that the band wasn`t very good without Walsh, but this video showed to me that I was wrong.

Maybe this video is very hard to find, but if you find it, enjoy a good concert.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
3 stars Not the best of Kansas, but a decent concert video documenting the John Elefante-era of the band

This concert was recorded in 1982 at the Vinyl Confessions tour. This means that Steve Walsh is not the lead singer here anymore. John Elefante is, however, both a look-alike and a sound-alike and he does a fine job both in the studio and live! His dance moves, on the other hand, are hard to stomach!

The rest of the band consists of Phil Ehart on drums, Dave Hope on bass, Kerry Livgren on keyboards and guitars, Robby Steinhardt on violin and vocals, Rich Williams on guitars and, finally, the guest musician Warren Ham on harmonica, flute, saxophone, keyboards and vocals. Ham's presence is surprising and interesting and adds a new dimension to the Kansas sound. Especially his flute and sax playing, which occasionally is allowed to come to the fore.

The set list relies heavily on songs from the Vinyl Confessions album; seven out of that album's ten tracks are performed here. Vinyl Confessions is hardly among Kansas' better albums, you could even argue that it is one of their least good ones. But still I think that it is clear that Kansas did much better than most other "dinosaurs" did in the early 80's. Remember, this was the time of Yes' 90125, Queen's Hot Space and Genesis' Abacab - these great band's respective low points.

The rest of the songs are Paradox, Sparks Of The Tempest, Mysteries And Mayhem, Hold On, Portrait (He Knew), Down The Road and the eternal Carry On Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind. The latter two are hardly surprising, but some of the others are pleasant surprises. Sparks Of The Tempest is a personal favourite of mine that is not played live very often. Still, the heavy reliance on Vinyl Confessions and the absence of Steve Walsh makes 'The Best Of Kansas' a very inappropriate title.

I have this concert video on both VHS and DVD and the latter version has a different title: 'Live Confessions' and was released in 2009. Even though the title of the DVD is much more fitting, the actual product is very disappointing. It has been a while since I watched the VHS, but as far as I remember the audio and video quality was at least as good as it is on the DVD! When I ordered the DVD, I hoped that it would have a re-mastered and enhanced sound and picture, but this seems not to be the case. There are no extras either or anything that makes an update worthwhile if you already have the VHS version.

Also, it is evident that this is not a release that is sanctioned by the band. The cover art looks much better and was the primary reason I was fooled into thinking that this is an updated and enhanced product compared to the VHS. But one major sign of how little work that has gone into this release is the label on the front cover saying "Steve Walsh At It's Best!" (Yes, not his best, but it's best!). And as I have already said, Steve Walsh is nowhere to be found on this release so don't be fooled!

This is not a bad concert, but please do not let this be your introduction to Kansas! There are much better live releases by this band, like the classic Two For The Show album and the recent There's Know Place Like Home DVD.

Review by Tarcisio Moura
3 stars If you ever wondered how was a Kansas concert with John Elefante on vocals, then this DVD is for you. For years I was looking for a good video of classic Kansas to see what they were live. I heard they had reputation of being a terrific live band. Unfortunatly, until the recently Sail On - the 30th anniversary Edition boxset, that comes with a DVD of their performances the rock Concert series, there were none ´official´ footage of the group in their best remembered line up. For almost two decades the only video you could find in the stores was this one, and it was not an easy one to get either. Recently I did borrow it from a friend, and he only had the VHS edition, and not in a very good condition. However, I heard the DVD version of this show was not a remastered one, and had no extras, so I had no reason to try to spend my hard earned money on it. The VHS would do.

Although the show itself was not exactly the one I wanted to see, it was very good, anyway. The band was right to get Elefante to replace Walsh: the guy has a powerful voice, very similar to Walsh´s. And he was very good as a frontman too, haing an athletic perfomance during the whole time. Of course the bulk of the concert is based on their then recently released Vinyl Confessions album (not one of their best as we all know very well), but they still play several classics with the usual class and precision. I really enjoyed the energetic perfomance of No One Together, for exemple. Guest musician Warren Ham is a mixed blessing: his flute and soprano sx interventions are fine, adding some new colors to their sound, but when he plays the alto saxophone the music slips too close to musak for my taste.

It´s strange to see how violinist Robby Steinhardt is doing all the talking, being the MC of the night, when he is clearly the odd man out here, both musically and visually. His role in the band was very diminished by the new, more AOR oriented stuff, and his long hair and bearded figure was not exactly fashinable (the others show a cleaner, more early 80´s suited look). He seems to be quite enthusiastic anyway but that wouldn´t last too long since he left the band soon after the tour was over. This was also a comemorative video, celbrating the band´s 10th anniversary. Since Steve Walsh was the only one missing here, the band shows they had lost none of their tremendous musicanship and tightness.

The overall quality of the sound seems to be good, with all the instruments and voices very well balanced, you can hear everything. The old VHS availabe was not in the best conditions but it easy to tell that it would benefit a lot with a good remastering for a new DVD edition.

Conclusion: Good, but not essential. While we still wait for a ´real´ classic line up DVD to appear from a vault somewhere, we have to be content with what we have. And this is by no mean a bad one. if you like the John Elefante era Kansas, you´ll probably love this video. If you don´t there´s still chance you gonna enjoy at least the classic tracks, for they were perfomed with power and respect for their glorious past. Liking it or not, Elefante was a good match for Walsh´s absence, at least when they were playing the early stuff.

Review by Gerinski
3 stars Although here we get to see a much younger band (20 years younger than in Device Voice Drum, which is a lot) this was not my favourite period of the band, the filming is not very good and neither is the tracklist. Filmed in Nebraska during the Vinyl Confessions tour in 1982 we have the band fronted by John Elefante, undoubtedly a talented singer and multi- instrumentalist but I never liked him much. His voice while not objectively too different from Steve Walsh's was just different enough to provide a different character to the band leaning more to American arena rock in the style of Journey or Boston, and his stage behaviour and body language was not my cup of tea. Guest musician Warren Ham provided support on sax, flute, harmonica, additional keyboards and backing vocals and while normally this should be a good thing, I get the feeling that he does not really fit with the band's traditional sound. On the plus side Kerry Livgren was still there and in good shape. Dave Hope was still on bass although we barely get to see him.

The track list focuses on the more commercial and arena-rock side of the band and this is the main drawback. We get nearly the whole Vinyl Confessions album, two tracks from Audio- Visions and some of the few older songs are rockers or headbangers like 'Sparks Of The Tempest' or 'Down The Road', and of course the obligatory 'Dust In The Wind' and 'Carry On Wayward Son'.

The highlights are 'Paradox', 'Mysteries and Myhem' and 'Portrait', but this is really too little in an 85 minute concert.

The filming is a bit dark and grainy, with very few sharp takes on the instruments playing, and most camera time is given to Elefante, Seinhardt and Livgren, while the great Phil Ehart sadly gets nearly none. I very much prefer 'Device Voice Drum' or 'There's Know Place Like Home'.

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