Kansas

Live at the Whisky

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AllMusic Review by

This long awaited release from the reformed Kansas band, featuring new violinist David Ragsdale, suffers from two major problems. First, Steve Walsh' voice is pretty well shot. On a good day, he can still belt it out like he always could. This recording was not made on a good day. Those pipes of his have been abused for too long. Secondly, this recording is, for the most part, a live recording of Best of Kansas. Kansas fans are like Grateful Dead fans on a smaller scale. They want to hear the obscure stuff. They have long since gotten used to the hits; they are waiting -- hopelessly waiting -- to hear a live version of Walsh singing a John Elefante song. Or Ragsdale's violin on the Steve Morse songs. What they wouldn't give to hear the band do "Stay Out of Trouble" or "Belexes." On this recording they play it as safe as they have for the past decade. The hits sound great, just like they always have -- and the fans are used to that. Founding member Kerry Livgren makes an appearance, but we can't see him on the disc and, unlike his songwriting, his playing isn't all that distinctive -- for all we know it might not even be him. The real treasure here is the bonus track, "Lonely Street," recorded in 1975 at the Agora Ballroom in Cleveland -- nice, cool, and mellow, with a few surprises in the middle. A nice coda to an otherwise mediocre recording.

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