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Music Review: Kansas – Setlist: The Very Best Of Kansas Live

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TheSetlist series concept is to gather live tracks from an artist’s career and combine them to create the perfect concert. The finished products are basically live greatest hits collections. The unreleased tracks tend to be performances of well known songs. Still it is nice to have some of the artist’s better live performances on one disc.

I have now listened to over half of the eleven Setlist releases.Setlist: The Very Best Of Kansas Live is representative of the series. The ten tracks are taken from their most commercial period, 1975-1982.

Kansas began its formation during the early seventies and in 1974 released their self titled debut album. Vocalist Steve Walsh, drummer Phil Ehart, guitarist/keyboardist Kerry Livgrin, bassist Dave Hope, and vocalist/violinist Robby Steinhardt formed the nucleus of the band during the height of their popularity. 1976’s Leftoverture sold five million copies in The United States and 1977’s Point Of No Return four million. Both reached the top five on the American album charts.

This new album breaks no new ground but covers the old very well. Their hit singles “Dust In The Wind” which is an unreleased performance from the Uptown Theatre in Chicago during October of 1980, “Play The Game Tonight,” and “Carry On Wayward Son” are all included and instantly recognizable.

The two interesting unreleased tracks are “Cheyenne Autumn” from a New York Palladium Show from 1977 and “Down The Road” from Cleveland’s Agora Ballroom in 1975. They catch the group before they evolved into more of a traditional rock band as they are innovative and experimental.

My only real complaint is the packaging. The digipak is basic and there are no notes or history of the band and tracks. Too access any information you must do it via your computer as it is embedded within the disc. While it is a budget type release a few easy extras would have been appreciated.

Setlist: The Very Best Of Kansas Live provides some tasty stops from the concert career of the group. If you do not have any of their live albums in your collection this release will serve as a nice introduction.

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