Legendary prog-rockers Kansas delivered a powerful, emotionally charged performance at Huntington’s Paramount theatre on Nov. 19, wowing a packed audience with popular hits spanning their more than four decade-long career and celebrating the 40th anniversary of their multi-platinum album Leftoverture by playing the 1976 classic in its entirety.
The night included hit after hit after hit from their expansive career, punctuated with exceptional renditions of popular tracks and including songs from their earlier records all the way through to their latest, The Prelude Implicit, Kansas’ 15th studio album, released this September. The Paramount stop came amid the band’s ongoing “Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour,” which wraps up in St. Augustine, Fla. in February with fellow rockers Foreigner.
As Kansas’ incredible three multiplatinum and eight gold albums are testament, the band has a gift for crafting infectious tracks that withstand the test of time as well as utterly captivating performances that leave fans screaming for more.
Consisting of Phil Ehart on drums, Billy Greer laying down bass and vocals, keyboardist Dave Manion, Ronnie Platt on vocals and keyboard, David Ragsdale on violin and guitar, and guitarists Zak Rizvi and Richard Williams, the seven-member tour de force were smooth, ultra-tight, and collectively showcased a virtuosity and cohesion that could only exist between musicians who wrought each and every note from their very souls.
Kansas was absolutely flawless.
Several moments during their stellar set Platt’s searing, high-pitched vocals, Ragsdale’s soaring violin, Williams’ and Rizvi’s mind-bending six-strings, Manion’s ethereal B3 organ, Greer’s gargantuan bass and Ehart’s mesmerizing beats collided in some otherworldly kaleidoscopic vision that can only best be described as purely transcendental. As the tone and mood of the music shifted, so too did the stage’s backdrop—melting through multi-colored palettes of blues and greens and reds and yellows and purples, interspersed with magnificent illuminated tapestries of previous album covers and artwork spanning their extensive canon.
The crowd ate up every second of it all, clapping and cheering and swaying along, even roaring in their happiness at times—and then just as suddenly, hushing in reverent jubilation to a very special version of “The Unsung Heroes,” a tune off The Prelude Implicit, and tribute to the daily struggles of the working man.
“And I know it’s hard to go on when it seems like your strength is all gone,” sang Platt in a heart-aching falsetto alongside a haunting violin riding a driving beat. “But I’m here to say, ‘Deliver some praise to the unsung heroes of each day.’”
Another standout moment came in the form of an extremely heartfelt, radio-perfect rendition of chart-topper and fan favorite “Dust in the Wind,” which inspired a venue-wide singalong.
Two military officers in full dress uniform accompanying the band onstage to present the flag of a fallen soldier during a song dedicated to those buried in Arlington were greeted with a standing ovation and thunderous applause.
Then, before anyone had a second to sit, Kansas launched immediately into an electrifying version of cult fan favorite “Carry On Wayward Son,” again inciting an exuberant and bombastic response by concertgoers, who sang along emphatically.
Was the audience louder than the band? It’s quite possible, as everyone once again rose to their feet applauding and cheering.
Kansas’s phenomenal performance at The Paramount highlights that with more than 40 years under their belt, this band still absolutely rocks!
Main Art: Legendary prog-rockers Kansas delivered an electrifying performance at The Paramount in Huntington on Nov. 19! (Photo: Courtesy of Kansas)
For more information about Kansas and future stops on their Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour, visit kansasband.com.