Kansas in Kansas

Kansas on Kansas: A Downtown Celebration
moved from Downtown Topeka to Kansas Expocentre (due to rain)
July 2, 2016
unless otherwise noted,
photos and videos by Danl Blackwood
We decided to brave the rain and the guaranteed crowd issues, and headed to the Kansas Expocentre to hear some of the earlier music being held in the adjacent Exhibition Hall pictured above. As you can imagine, the acoustics were horrid. We got there in time to see Jarrod Guth. Brief video of Jarrod Guth's performance.
Next up was another of my favs. The New Blues. Brief video of The New Blues' performance. We were planning to move into the next venue to hear Smith & Liston, but were stopped at a security check and informed I could not brng in my umbrella. OK, so it wasn't one of the small fold up kind, but a great big golf style umbrella. But the fact that an event was relocated due to weather, and then wouldn't alliow umbrellas, was baffling. We left! Went to PT's College Hill Coffee House to hang out, very disappointed, with no intention of going back. While there we ran into a few old friends in town for the concert. (clockwise from lower left) Roxanne DeGraw, Doug Hope (brother of Kansas original bassist Dave Hope), David "Scotty" Scott, and yours truly Danl Blackwood. While visiting we got a call from friends at the concert wondering if we were coming as they were saving us seats. We decided we might as well try it, and headed back.
I dropped Roxanne off at the door since it was now raining very heavily. I parked about 200 yards away, left my umbrella in the truck (assuming they were still being a bit ridiculous with security), and ran faster than a 62 year old asthmatic should to the nearest door. I had to sit quietly for a while hoping my wheezing didn't develop into a full-fledged asthma attack, but was later OK. As you can see from this panorama, there were still quite a few seats available in the upper balcony, but it was still filling fast. We moved down to the next section when we saw some seats open, but were eventually invited down to the floor to sit right in front of the sound board (visible on the left on the floor). Of course, I didn't have my Nikon since professional grade cameras were also being turned away (though this was reasonable), and got at least a few pics and videos with my iPhone from the floor. It didn't take long to ber thankful I made it, as the band was awesome! This was my first time to hear them live since Ronnie Plattt took over lead vocals, and I was very impressed. After the concert I had a chance to meet him and tell him that. He asked, "so I passed the audition?" :-)  Since he joined they have been able to perform many songs that had been removed due to Steve Walsh's declining voice. They were also able to now perform songs from the John Elefante era, which were understandably eliminated from live sets. The overall mix was amazing and not too loud, which was particularly amazing due to the horrid acoustics. Most noticeable though were the vocals and harmonies, which were equally amazing.
Chris Livgren and I, showing signs of being still soaked even after an hour or so. (Photo by Teri O'Trimble) Brief video of Kerry Livgen joining the band for one of those John Elefante songs, Hold On. Here's a closeup of Kerry on stage. (Photo by Teri O'Trimble)
This was also the first time I heard them with the new guitar player, Zak Rizvi. Zak has apparently also contributed songwriting and producing on the upcoming new studio album, The Prelude Implicit, due September 23rd. I am hoping to see them again in Kansas City this October, and hear the new music live. Me and Roxanne Brief video of Sparks Of The Tempest including Robby Steinhardt.
Brief video of the encore/finale, Carry On Wayward Son, also including Robby Steinhardt.