A Global Army of Veteran Rockers
I had the great fortune to review Kansas at a local casino, and let me tell you, I have a new-found appreciation for who they are and what they have done for the face of rock. Here are a few of the things I noticed while sitting in awe, trying to be objective in the performance.
Can SOMEONE, anyone, tell me how these guys have been overlooked by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Anyone that has made the effort to delve into the Kansas library beyond “Dust in the Wind” or “Carry On” will know that the music thee guys have been cranking out for the past almost-40 years is iconic. I sat there, fully immersed in Rich Williams' blazing guitar and Steve Walsh's masterful keyboards just thinking about where these musicians rank in the pantheon of musical God-dom.
As we look at the artists that make up the progressive rock genre, I very rarely hear Kansas mentioned. If we take a look at the 1974 release of Leftoverture and the content that is on that album alone, a listener even remotely knowledgable in the genre would be able to say, “Damn, THAT'S Prog Rock! Technically sound, pushing the limits of rock music and launching themselves into guitar, keyboard and violin riffs that just SCREAM of being thrust into that genre, I am officially making a demand that this band be placed in the the paternal list of Progressive Rock's ambassadors. As I listened through out the entire show, I could not help but hear roots that have given us bands like Dream Theatre. Even in their current manifestation (Walsh, Ehart, Greer, Williams and Ragsdale) this band exemplifies what it means to be a powerhouse influence to the modern incarnation.
It is really too bad most people will only ever know Kansas for “Dust in the Wind,” “Carry On,” and “Point of Know Return.” This band, with nearly 40 years of material, is so much more than the classic rock anthems that have become the defining sound.
Let me know what you think of my assessment. Kansas, in my view after seeing them, deserves to be on the Mount Rushmore of Prog Rock. They also deserve to be in the Hall that sits in Cleveland. While we're at it, I hereby nominate them for the Tribe honor as well!
Can I push a shameless plug here? Check out my review of the show at http://www.odeumentertainment.com/article/2011/03/kansas-brings-gre...
A Whiter Shade Of Pale is a great song, but I don't consider it prog-rock (certainly not like some of the other Procol Harum stuff), I think of prog-rock as music having several movements like a classical work. AWSOP has verse-chorus-verse setup. From the same year there are several examples one could come up with, but I will choose - not because it is a favorite, I don't even own it - The Moody Blues' Days Of Future Passed. A multi-movement song suite accompanied by an orchestra, no less.
Some of my favorite bands under the prog-rock banner:
Amon Duul II
Van Der Graf Generator
I'll cosign that the first 5 Kansas albums are GREAT, but fathers of prog rock, and esp. "40 years of good music" is really pushing it.....
btw, I'd say the album #s 2 thru 10 (Trespass to Duke) Genesis albums might be the best sustained no-shark-jumping records not just among prog, but among rock bands period.