Two For The Show (30th Anniversary Edition)

Kansas

Epic/Legacy, 2008

http://www.kansasband.com

REVIEW BY: Mark Kadzielawa

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/31/2008

Kansas was always one of those bands that everyone loved to hate.  Despite the lack of media support, the band soldiered through and always managed to be on top of their game.  Fantastic musicianship and great songwriting was always Kansas’ forte, and very few bands could match them in that ability.

This live set captures the group at its peak, in the ‘70s.  It’s a great reissue and far more complete than the previously available version.  First of all, it’s a two disc edition, and the use of CD technology is felt here.  Not only do you get the complete record, but there’s also plenty of extras included here that never made it onto the original vinyl issue.  The band went back and found plenty archival materials, and as a result, they were able to construct the best possible concert set from the particular time frame. Overall, the freshness of these recordings is very exciting. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The live record includes all of the Kansas staples, such as “Song For America,” “Point Of Know Return,” “Carry On Wayward Son,” and, of course, “Dust In The Wind. “ But all those are tracks are to be expected.  It’s the less radio-friendly songs that really make the album sound so intense. Deeper cuts like Point Of Know Return’s “Portrait (He Knew)” and “Closet Chronicles,” the multi-sectioned, primarily instrumental “Magnum Opus” off of 1976’s Leftoverture, and the very driven “Belexes” from their 1974 self-titled debut are truly shining here.  All of them are played with rehearsed discipline yet still leave room for improvisation.

Musically, Kansas on stage is always exciting; they were never afraid to think outside of the box, and this live set proves just that. When it comes to performing these songs live, the group appear to be ready to take on the world, and it’s always exciting to hear how they feed off the crowd.  The material is, as always, very strong, and it all works well on stage.  The anthemic nature of many of the songs adds to the overall wall of sound. 

This reissue is released in form of a digipack, and it includes beautifully put-together liner notes, with many pictures that some of you may remember from the old magazines.  It’s a great package for your hard earned pesos, and your old single-disc version of Two For The Show can now be reassigned to your car, sold off to the used CD store, or simply given away to any potential new Kansas fan.

Having seen the band two weeks ago and after hearing this set, this writer can admit that Kansas is still equally as good on stage.  How about some new music now?

Rating: A

User Rating: A


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© 2008 Mark Kadzielawa and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Epic/Legacy, and is used for informational purposes only.