All these years later, KANSAS still rule the classic rock radio airwaves, and continue to put on simply spellbinding shows of the highest caliber. And what better way to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the release of KANSAS' self-titled 1974 debut than with a live DVD, "There's Know Place Like Home", which will be released on August 4. A hi-def for Blu-ray release (mixed in 5.1 surround sound), the show was filmed on February 7 of this year in their home state (at Washburn University's White Concert Hall), and was certainly not your average affair. For this show, the group — which includes singer/keyboardist Steve Walsh, guitarist Rich Williams, violinist David Ragsdale, bassist Billy Greer, and drummer Phil Ehart — was united with former members Kerry Livgren (guitar/keyboards) and Steve Morse (guitar), as well as the 50-piece Washburn University Orchestra.
When asked how it was to play alongside an orchestra, Ehart responds, "It's always an adventure. Adding another 50 people to your 'band' can always prove eventful. Our biggest memories are usually of certain symphonies that look down their noses at our music. What's funny about this is that those symphonies are usually the ones that have the most trouble playing our scores!" And when the topic of playing with Livgren and Morse comes up, Williams gets downright philosophical. "Very comfortable...like loose fitting underwear." Comprised of a solid track listing that includes fine renditions of KANSAS classics ("Dust in the Wind", "Carry On Wayward Son", etc.) and fan favorites ("Hold On", "On the Other Side", etc.), "There's Know Place Like Home" will surely go down as one of the group's best-ever live performances.
In addition to the DVD's release, KANSAS will appear on the popular syndicated radio show, "Rockline", on Wednesday, August 5, from 11:30 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. The group will also be supporting the DVD's release with a summer's worth of tour dates. And if that wasn't enough, KANSAS' members (save Walsh) are preparing the debut release of their new side band, NATIVE WINDOW, which will issue their self-titled album on June 23, and "open" for KANSAS on the summer tour. And as far as KANSAS' popularity, it continues to flourish, as their classic ballad, "Dust in the Wind" recently obtained gold status as a digital download, while their classic rocker, "Carry On Wayward Son", is featured on the games Guitar Hero II and Rock Band II. "They still get a lot of attention, still get a lot of airplay," says Williams about the enduring popularity of KANSAS' songs. "They have retained a relevance through the years, that only a small percent of recordings do."
KANSAS tour dates with NATIVE WINDOW:
Jun. 13 - Joplin, MO - Landreth Park
Jul. 24 - Merced, CA - Fair
Aug. 23 - Rochester, MN - Mayo Civic Center