rockford illinois entertainment guide
Date: 08/26/2007
Kansas Brings Their Celebration To On The Waterfront
by Gary Hill

Dorothy and Toto may not be in Kansas anymore, but Kansas will be in Rockford on Sunday September 2nd. That’s when the band will be headlining the Davis Park stage. Chances are, if you listened to the radio during the 1970’s or ‘80’s or if you listen to classic rock stations, you’ve heard Kansas.

During the 1970’s and 1980’s the band garnered eight gold albums and three multi-platinum discs and numerous hit singles. It’s probable that even if you don’t know the name Kansas you’ve heard (and loved) such songs as “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry On Wayward Son,” “Hold On” and “Play The Game Tonight.” While these tracks represent a lot of the band’s sound they are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of their output.

The group formed in 1970 in Topeka, Kansas and their first album came out in 1974. This began the musical ride that lead to their first hit, “Carry On Wayward Son” from 1976’s Leftoverture album. The song truly exuded everything that Kansas’ music represented. You had lofty, complex progressive rock sounds mixed with a cosmic sort of lyrical structure and yet a Midwestern sensibility. Add in violins and some soaring vocals and you have what made that song, and Kansas so special.

The group followed up Leftoverture with Point of Know Return and the single “Dust in the Wind” carried that disc to new heights. Kansas’ current tour is in honor of the 30th anniversary of that landmark disc, and their website has been revamped to give samples of all the songs from the disc in a little embedded media player.

They continued on from those two groundbreaking discs by producing more hits and more albums throughout the 1980’s. As musical tastes have changed, Kansas may have fallen off the mainstream musical radar, but they’ve remained active throughout, touring and producing more quality music.

While their lineup has changed over the years, they still have a core of veteran members and still produce a sound that has stayed constant to their roots and their history. The current makeup of the band is Steve Walsh (vocals, keyboards), Rich Williams (guitar), David Ragsdale (violin, guitar), Billy Greer (bass, vocals), and Phil Ehart (drums). The current sound is all that you expect from this great band. You won’t get many chances to see such a powerhouse of classic rock right here in the Forest City, so don’t let this one get by you.

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