Kansas – “Leftoverture Live & Beyond”

kansasReplacing a vocalist as dynamic and unique as Steve Walsh is damn near impossible. Kansas did it before when John Elefante was recruited in 1982. He did a decent job and it kept Kansas afloat until Walsh returned in 1985. Now with Walsh leaving again, the band wanted to continue. While their current studio album “The Prelude Complicit” is more about missing Walsh and mostly Kerry Livgren’s songwriting, their current live album “Leftoverture Live & Beyond” spotlights how well current vocalist Ronnie Platt can handle replacing Walsh.

As the years have gone on, there’s no doubt that even Walsh couldn’t really do what he used to do back in the day. However, if you have to replace him, wouldn’t it make sense to get someone who can nail everything live? While Platt sounded good on the new material on this live album (since he was involved in writing and recording it), the earlier material is more of a problem. There are times he does okay and other times that his pitch is way off.

Additionally, he just doesn’t have the tone that Walsh and even Elefante did. Oddly enough, bassist Billy Greer has that tone! He does all of former member Robby Steinhardt and sounds more like Walsh (as he always has). Check “Miracles Out of Nowhere” for a prime example. It makes me wonder why they didn’t just promote Greer to lead vocalist since he is a great singer. Genesis did it way back when! Platt’s issues are often the higher notes when it comes to pitch and his mid range often sounds very thin. But he does the best he can and I know I could never sing any of those songs at all.

Musically, the band sound great live. The only time that sounds off (which is really weird) is the opening segment of their classic “Carry on Wayward Son.” They use a taped intro for it which is a shame and then the opening riff sounds clunky and the opening solo sounds off too. They do recover after that. It’s part of the second disc on which the band plays “Leftoverture” in its entirety. On the first disc, the band play a good mix of old songs and three new ones, including both “Icarus” tracks to start the show.

I’m not a huge fan of live albums. I suppose I should have started by saying that. Live videos can be fun but nothing replaces being at the show. And I find that very few live albums ever make me want to listen to those versions of the songs over the original studio versions. Such is the case here with “Leftoverture Live & Beyond.” It’s a nice effort by a band that wants to continue but it winds up reminding me what I loved and miss about the classic Kansas lineup.

Tracklist:

Disc One:
1. Icarus II
2. Icarus Borne 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

Disc Two:
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. Portrait (He Knew)

Label: Inside Out Music
Website: www.kansasband.com

About Rob

I have been a fan of progressive metal and progressive rock for most of my life. My music collection is insanely large. My passion for life is music...progressive music!
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