Review: Pittsburgh show proves Kansas still ready to rock

October 13, 2018

The Fountain of Youth has served the members of Kansas well.

Celebrating the 40th anniversary of “Point of Know Return,” the best-selling album of the band’s impressive career, which it played in its entirety, along with a set of hits and deep cuts, the band returned to Pittsburgh, its second home, more than ready to rock.

Showcased inside the beauty of Heinz Hall on Saturday, the band served up a two-and-a-half hour set without intermission with all the passion and energy of a young group just entering the business.

And fans were more than ready to take this memorable ride with them, offering at least 12 enthusiastic standing ovations, starting just three songs into the evening when Kansas offered a spirited “Hold On.” It may have been the most standing O’s I’ve seen in one show in 50-plus years of reviewing concerts, other than perhaps Bruce Springsteen.

The music and vocals, including the tight harmonies, were stunningly powerful. Violinist David Ragsdale was among the stand outs.

“Hall of fame”

Shortly after band members took the stage, the fans were shouting “hall of fame,” a reference to the fact that the group has not yet been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

The night couldn’t and didn’t conclude until Kansas presented its signature songs, “Dust in the Wind” and “Wayward Son,” the latter which the crowd helped them sing.

“Wayward Son” remains one of the top five most played songs on classic rock radio and “Dust in the Wind” has been played on radio more than 3 million times.

Thanks to Rich Engler

Band members thanked local promoter Rich Engler, who has supported them through the years and first introduced them to Pittsburgh in the 1970s.

Veteran Tarentum musician and Kansas super fan Patrick Segriff, currently a member of the WannaBeatles tribute band, was in attendance at his 41st show by the group since it debuted in the 1970s.

“I have to rank this show as the best I have seen since the original line-up in the ’70s,” he said, “maybe even better because they are hungry to prove they are still relevant.” The Heinz Hall response proved that indeed they are, he said.

“Their music is so complicated, with hints of classical and soaring melodies and harmonies. Their lyrics are very uplifting to me. I feel like they are family to me after following them all these years,” he adds.

Rich Williams, the original guitarist and a co-founder of Kansas, says he continues to be motivated and driven by “the fun.”

“It is just fun,” he says. “We are musician friends who are still musicians. Some of our friends had to get a job, but what they would most really like to do is play. I really like to play.”

He became a guitar player, he explains, because of that fact. “That’s the biggest joy of all. Making a living at it is secondary. It’s really the act of doing it.”

Kansas is a band that still does it exceptionally well.

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