Kansas “Point of Know Return” 40th Anniversary Tour at Old National Centre 11/11/18
After 40 years and over 6 million copies, Kansas’ “Point of Know Return” album remains an icon of progressive rock. To see and hear it performed live, in its entirety, is an amazing experience, and one which I wholeheartedly recommend! I was privileged to be part of the sold-out crowd when Kansas came to the Murat Theatre at Old National Centre in Indianapolis November 11. I wondered if I’d recognize all the songs, how they’d sound after all these years, and if I’d like the new Kansas tunes. The answers to those questions were YES, ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, and YES!
Kansas began their 2+ hour set with several acoustic songs, including “Refugee,” from their latest album, “The Prelude Implicit,” and an emotional version of “People of the South Wind,.” They then transitioned to a full electric set, playing “Dust in the Wind,” as well as deep cuts off their various albums, and “Summer” from “The Prelude Implicit.” They then ripped through the entire “Point of Know Return” album – and it was incredible. To be honest, I had kind of forgotten how much I loved this album. I must’ve listened to it dozens of times, because I remembered all the melodies, cool riffs, key changes, and chord progressions. But I had forgotten how revolutionary, intricate - and technically difficult - these songs were. As leaders of the progressive rock movement, Kansas the set the bar tremendously high, and few, if any, bands have surpassed them.
But Kansas’ music isn’t just for audiophiles. Sure, those who understand the complexity and depth of Kansas’ performance will get more out of it, but honestly, there were a whole bunch of people in the audience who were there just to hear the hits they listened to on the radio, turntable, and/or 8-track back in the 70s, and I’m 100% sure they had a blast, too.
As for me, I loved every single song. And although I was jamming along with everyone else to “Portrait (He Knew)”, “Spider,” and “Point of Know Return,” I gained new appreciation for “Lightning’s Hand” and “The Tempest” after watching them being performed live. Fingers, bows, and drumsticks were flying, and the energy levels were out the roof for those songs, both of which completely engaged the crowd. Which reminds me: props to the lighting maestros, who did a brilliant job (no pun intended) of spotlighting each artist at just the right time throughout the whole show.
Kansas closed out the set with “Hopelessly Human,” and even though they left the darkened stage, there was no question they were returning for an encore, because one key song had yet to be performed: “Carry On My Wayward Son.” The entire crowd went nuts for this one, myself included. To say this song is iconic is cliché, but dammit, it’s true. The poignant lyrics, the harmonies, the heavy bass and guitar, and of course that hook in the chorus, come together in a masterpiece that generations know, love, and sing along to – at the top of their lungs. Although I’m sure it would’ve sounded a whole lot better if it wasn’t sung out of key by several thousand people, but it was still a beautiful thing.