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Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London 12 June 2005
How long have I waited to see this band play the UK? Too long! After
discovering the delights of this band back in 1985 whilst at school, I have
been waiting for a chance to see then live ever since. Bar shows at US air
force bases (which are of course private gigs) the UK hasn’t seen the band
play live since 1980. It was a packed Empire – great to see such a good turn
out. But first up we had a young three piece blues rock trio called Divided
By Three. They played a good set of solid rock with the odd slow blues
number thrown in. Not earth shattering by any means but enjoyable and they
went down well with the crowd.
Kansas took to the stage to rapturous applause and the line-up still
features four members of the classic 70’s line-up – Steve Walsh
(vocals/keyboards), Robby Steinhardt (vocals/violin), Phil Ehart (drums and
Rich Williams (guitar).
Joining them are ‘new boy’ bassist Billy Greer, whose been with the band now for nearly twenty years. Not a song recorded
after 1980 was aired (shame really as they made some damn fine albums in the
80’s & 90’s) with some of my personal favourites on display like ‘Opus
Insert’ and a truly stunning version of ‘Miracles Out Of Nowhere’.
The epic ‘Magnum Opus’ went down well with the crowd and you just sat back and
marvelled at the sheer musical skill on display. Robby Steinhardt in
particular took the front man role well (looking uncannily like a long
haired Oliver Reed!), with Steve Walsh content just to belt out the songs
and add his distinctive keyboards.
Sound wise it was good although the keyboards did get drowned out in parts but hey this was a memorable gig and
I am over the moon to finally get to see the band live.
Encore time was ‘Dust In the Wind’ and a truly magnificent run through
‘Carry On My Wayward Son’. After a finale like that you couldn’t really
follow it with another song. Sadly they only played for just over 90 minutes
but hopefully they won’t leave it so long next time as I will be near
retirement age and the band will be in their 80’s!
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Song For America
Bringin' It Back
Portrait (He Knew)
Point Of Know Return
Dust In The Wind
Carry On Wayward Son
Review: Jason Ritchie