A few months ago, I was looking for news about the new Kansas DVD (There's Know Place Like Home) and the new band Native Window, when I noticed Kansas would be playing in Europe again.
It was not clear to me at the time they were support act for Status Quo, a whole different genre of music.
Being a true fan of the band since the early seventies I wanted to go out and see them live.
Since Kansas only would play nine concerts in Europe, all of them in Germany,
I chose a suitable date in a venue not too far from my hometown (Almelo, Netherlands) and started to look for a contact address to try and get a photo pass.
Through Frank van Liempd I was directed to the German representatives Peter Klapproth and Sascha Merkel and a photo pass was arranged instantly.
After a somewhat boring drive (works on the road, mostly maximum speed 80 km's/hr) my son and me arrived at the huge venue, a multi-purpose building for events like congresses, shows and sports.
Only half the hall was accessible and in the end that half was not even filled, but still approximately a crowd of 1250 people were anxiously awaiting what would come.
It was only then I realized, the main act would be Status Quo, a bit naïve perhaps, but at first I was disappointed although I do not dislike "the Quo" at all.
Being allowed up front for the first three songs I could see my idols from the US up close.
A very professional band with a good sound and a singer, more lively and engaged than during the two gigs Kansas did in Holland on the consecutive Arrow Rock festivals in 2005 and 2008.
Although Walsh's voice does not have the range it used to have and not every note was in tune, still the man has one of the best voices in (progressive) rock music.
Playing the keyboards with remarkable ease, he seems to be on top of the game again.
After the retirement of Robbie Steinhardt, Greer took over his vocal duties and is the current communicator with the audience; the real front man however is the youngest band member: Dave Ragsdale.
He is a true violin virtuoso and is the only one constantly moving on the stage.
Because of his hair hanging over his head one could barely see his eyes but it was perfectly clear, this man does not even need his eyes to play his violin: I did not hear one false note.
He also proved he was able to play guitar as well, a most welcome addition in the band although I have always been a fan of "original line ups".
Rich Williams never moves around too far from his monitors also because he has to play the acoustic guitar,
only to be played from a fixed position of the left side of the stage (form the audience's point of view).
After his heart problems he changed his lifestyle, lost at least a 100 lbs and looks in good shape these days.
Rich is one of those guitarist who never sought to play as fast as Vai or Malmsteen, but still he has managed to create his own distinctive sound.
Gosh I love to hear that guitar and the violin playing together!
All songs played in Münster were from the debut album, from Song For America, Leftoverture and Point Of Know Return.
All these tracks are featured on the recently released live DVD as well.
Personally I would have loved to hear tracks from Masque, Audiovision or Somewhere to Elsewhere but I realize,
in front of an audience waiting to hear the Rock 'n Roll of "The Quo", with emphasis on the first 15 years, it made sense to perform the best known songs.
Unfortunately my favorites Kansas played only just over 45 minutes but for me it was definitely worth the trip.
The Quo is still going strong and the band performed their greatest hits with a remarkable enthusiasm.
Rossi still plays the audience with a single movement of his hand and his mimics are most enjoyable.
Both Parfitt's and Rossi's voices have become slightly less strong, but in the harmonies they sound a good as ever before.
The crowd went crazy on oldies like Black Veils and Pictures of Matchstickmen.
On the big screens behind the band there were animations, flashbacks and images related to some of the songs as with In The Army.
The whole place was rocking on Sweet Caroline, The Wanderer and Whatever You Want and even my 21 year old son (being a fan of Nickelback, Rhapsody,
Edguy and so forth) was highly impressed by the cheer joy the band on stage seemed to have as well as by the overall performance, the lights and the massive sound.
Indeed Rossi, Parfitt, Edwards, Bown and drummer Matt Letley (joined in 2000) were and still are "just doin' it"!!
Point Of Know Return
Miracles Out Of Nowhere
Dust In The Wind
Song For America
Down The Road
Portrait, He Knew
Carry On Wayward Son