Kansas Bring The Full Glory Of Classic American Rock To The State Theatre


When Kansas released their album “Leftoverture” I was a barely 10 years old and in my teenage years they did not suit my musical tastes at all. Rock, Guitar Heavy, and American? Not for this child of German / British New Wave! It took a youth music theatre production decades later to introduce me to “Carry On Wayward Son” and I started listening to more of Kansas’ music but it never became quite my cup of tea. So it was with quite a bit of curiosity that I found myself at the State Theatre last night covering a band that I knew to be rock legends.

Kansas started the show with an acoustic set that saw them perched on chairs performing several songs stripped down. The slow intro gave the few stragglers a chance to find their seats and to me dispelled any doubts that I was looking at the real thing. A few jokes from the stage about not remembering the theatre – or for that matter much of anything – from the 70s lightened the mood. There was also a serious note as the last song of the acoustic set ended with “Refugee” a song from their last album 2016’s “The Prelude Implicit” dealt with exploitation of children around the globe. As the song ended band members gradually dispersed and took their positions on stage.

The transition to the rock portion of the evening was smooth and very distinctive. The feel changed to something grand and almost operatic. The sound, the lights, the stage presence, everything became much bigger. The set was split again into song from all of Kansas’ albums and a front to back performance of “Leftoverture”. As the set moved along I found myself drawn deeper and deeper into the music. All the stuff that usually gets me to tune out, the wild guitar parts, the long drawn out songs, all that suddenly worked for me. On my way home after a long set, I suddenly realized that I had this experience once before. The first time I saw an opera by Richard Wagner (you know the German composer with the Valkyries and 6 hour operas) –  one simply has to experience it live, there is no substitute.

So you may not find me at our local record store desperately trying to find vinyl releases of Kansas albums, but I can promise you, the next time Kansas come to town – I will be there!

Set List:

Acoustic Set

  • Reason to Be
  • All I Wanted
  • Hold On
  • Chasing Shadows
  • Refugee

Full Band

  • Icarus II
  • Icarus – Borne on Wings of Steel
  • Point of Know Return
  • Paradox
  • Journey From Mariabronn
  • Lamplight Symphony
  • Dust in the Wind
  • Rhythm in the Spirit
  • The Voyage of Eight Eighteen
  • Section 60


  • Carry On Wayward Son
  • The Wall
  • What’s on My Mind
  • Miracles Out of Nowhere
  • Opus Insert
  • Questions of My Childhood
  • Cheyenne Anthem
  • Magnum Opus


  • Portrait (He Knew)