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News:
Kansas at the Fox Theatre, 5 Things to Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

» See more SOUND CHECK

After 45 years together, Kansas is a lot more than, well, dust in the wind.



The veteran group has been blending hard and progressive rock, with some sophisticated classical touches, since the early 70s and is at the point now where it's celebrating significant anniversaries of its best-selling albums. That began with a commemoration of 1976's "Leftoverture" and it's hit "Carry On Wayward Son," while this year the group has turned to its follow-up, 1977's "Point of Know Return."



Kansas' fifth album gave the group its highest chart position ever -- No. 4 on the Billboard 200 -- and was certified quadruple platinum. The single "Dust in the Wind" was also the band's biggest hit, reaching No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and certified platinum. Now Kansas is playing it live in its entirety for the first time ever, taking fans down a memory lane they've never been on before...



• Guitarist and co-founder Richard Williams says by phone that after the "Leftoverture" tour's success, moving on to "Point of Know Return" was a no-brainer. "When we started playing 'Leftoverture,' that was going to be 10 or 15 shows. We did not plan on it going for 81, 82, 83 shows. It was just very well-received and continued onward. Then it became evident once that was over we should do this."



• Williams, 68, also remembers a sense of pressure in making "Point of Know Return" as the follow-up to the "Leftoverture" album's commercial breakthrough. "'Leftoverture' was a monstrous record; To actually top that with 'Point...' was a real challenge. And it was a quick turnaround, too, and there was pressure to keep that momentum going, but there wasn't a lot of preparation time. We just went in and were like, 'What do you got?' 'I dunno, what do you got?' Kerry (Livgren) really rose to the occasion; He had a writing streak during 'Leftoverture' and 'Point of Know Return' that was pretty remarkable. Those two back to back really made a career that lasted a lifetime."



• The gentle and simple "Dust in the Wind," with singer Steve Walsh accompanied only by acoustic guitar and violin, was shockingly different from anything else in the Kansas repertoire up to that point. "When 'Dust' came along, we were like, 'Boom! There's our next single.' We just knew it -- although Kerry didn't think so. He didn't even think we would (record) it because it was unlike anything we'd done previously. But we heard it and were like, 'God, that's awesome!' That song more than anything else is what kept ('Point of Know Return') equal to and even above the caliber of 'Leftoverture.'"



• Williams says Kansas is starting to consider what other full-album shows it might do in the future. "We're going to be playing ('Point...') all through '19, and I think we've already taken a few days in 2020 that will still be this tour. There’s talk of doing 'Leftoverture' and 'Point of Know Return' back to back, with other things, or maybe going back even further and do something like (1975's) 'Song For America' in its entirety, or doing 'The Best of.' There's lots of options out there, but our next year and a half is already decided, so we don't have to make any decisions yet."



• In 2016 Kansas also released "The Prelude Implicit," its first new album in 16 years, and Williams says the group has "probably half of new album written," though with no firm plans to record yet. "Instead of going into a studio for two months and recording...That's a model from 1979 for making a record. Now it's more like, 'Let's take a week here, take a week here, work on a couple of songs on a time.' We rehearse constantly, so we can work on something without having to come off the road for a long time and sitting in a studio. We'll see. There's a lot of ways to do it now that are very different than when we did those big albums back in the 70s."



Kansas celebrates the 40th anniversary of its "Point of Know Return" album by playing it in its entirety at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 27 at the Fox Theatre, 2211 Woodward Ave., Detroit. Tickets start at 445. Call 313-471-6611 or 313Presents.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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