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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!

Opus Insert
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Magnum Opus
Song For America
The Wall
Bringin' It Back
Portrait (He Knew)
Point Of Know Return
Encores –
Dust In The Wind
Carry On Wayward Son

Review: Jason Ritchie

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