Kansas – Leftoverture Live And Beyond


Pomp Rock Lives Again!

Released on 3 November 2017 by Inside Out Records and Reviewed by Paul Quinton

Way back in the Triassic period, Sounds magazine, the absolute best rock periodical around in the days before Kerrang! was launched, ran a piece with what became a famous headline ‘Pomp Rock Lives! Run For The Hills!’ They weren’t referring to the end of the first age of Prog, supposedly swept away by the likes of the Clash and the Sex Pistols, but to a group of bands emerging in the States who blended the ambition and musicality of Progressive Rock with the hooks and commercial sensibility of the major AOR bands. Styx and Kansas were two of the most successful exponents, making multi-platinum albums like Pieces of Eight and Leftoverture, and both bands are still able to tour shows built around these albums several decades later.

Kansas’ Leftoverture was one of a string of hugely successful releases for the band at the time, and the 40th anniversary of its release coincided with the band recording their first studio album for sixteen years, The Prelude Implicit, so it was a natural decision for the band to tour with a show to promote the new album and also including a full performance of Leftoverture, as well as playing some more songs from their lengthy career.

The first half of the set, CD1 in this package, includes songs from the new album and the other older material, but it’s interesting that on a tour to celebrate the new album and one old album, that another older and multi-platinum album is very strongly featured in the opening set, namely Point of Know Return, which has three songs here, the same as the new album. If ‘Icarus II’ isn’t perhaps the most dynamic way to start the show, the next song, Icarus (Born on Wings of Steel), a fantastically prog song title, is much better, giving the set a really epic feel, with David Ragsdale’s violin well to the fore, and the ‘sail on’ hook still hits home after all these years.

‘Point of Know Return’ and ‘Paradox’ are just as good, but while they are an important part of the band’s history, I do wonder at the inclusion of ‘Journey From Mariabronn’ and ‘Lamplight Symphony’, rather than crowd pleasers like ‘Song For America’ and ‘Play The Game Tonight’, which would have given this part of the show even more impact, especially when followed by the emotional and moving ‘Dust In The Wind’, still one of the band’s finest moments. The three new songs are played in a block at the end of this part of the show, the first one, ‘Rhythm of the Spirit’ being by far the best, typically Kansas but with a slightly harder edge, and a fine taster for the album. I’m not so sure about ‘The Voyage of Eight Eighteen’, which is overlong in this context, and ‘Section 60’ is a much briefer, instrumental song, bringing things to a subdued close. Again, I’m not sure why the band chose these latter two tracks in favour of some of the other songs on the album.

CD2 is Leftoverture in full and it’s easy to see why it was such a successful album and why many of its songs are staples in the band’s set 40 years later. Like a number of albums, though, it is a bit front loaded, in that playing it in sequence requires opening with probably the band’s best known song ‘Carry On Wayward Son’ and while there several more excellent songs to come, like ‘Magnum Opus’, ‘The Wall’, and ‘Miracles Out of Nowhere’, the band do run the risk of having those overshadowed by the ‘Hit’. Nevertheless hearing the album played through in the live setting is a real pleasure and a reminder of what a great band Kansas have been and still are. There’s also an encore of ‘Portrait’, another song from Point of Know Return.

Although the band have had numerous line-up changes over the years, with only drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Richard Williams having played on the original album, they’re still as tight as ever, and a mention, too, for former Shooting Star singer Ronnie Platt for doing a fine job of filling the rather large hole left by original singer Steve Walsh’s retirement a couple of years ago. Whatever reservations there are about some parts of the set list, as live albums go, this is still a pretty good one. For their own reasons, Kansas felt unable to bring this show over to Europe this year, but until that situation changes, this isn’t a bad carry over.

Kansas – Leftoverture Live And BeyondCD1:

  1. Icarus II
  2. Icarus (Born On Wings of Steel)
  3. Point of Know Return
  4. Paradox
  5. Journey From Mariabronn
  6. Lamplight Symphony
  7. Dust In The Wind
  8. Rhythm In The Spirit
  9. The Voyage of Eight Eighteen
  10. Section 60


  1. Carry On Wayward Son
  2. The Wall
  3. What’s On My Mind
  4. Miracles Out Of Nowhere
  5. Opus Insert
  6. Questions Of My Childhood
  7. Cheyenne Anthem
  8. Magnum Opus
  9. (Encore) Portrait (He Knew)