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Kansas (review)

Colonial Theatre

Pittsfield, MA


In case you haven’t noticed, something magical is happening to our teens and their choice of music: They are shunning contemporary tunes, and turning back the hands of time to enjoy and celebrate the same classic rock and roll mom and dad enjoyed when they were that age.

The first hint of this was the astounding comeback of Tony Bennett, who, at age 80, became a best seller with twenty year olds. This momentum continued with his duo with Lady Gaga, who showed the world she has the class to sing with one of the best.

Mr. Bennett simply recognized that society was begging for great, meaningful, non-violent, innocent music. He proved the crowds were waiting for the classics, that they were starved for something truly good, and not just trash thrown at us.

There was more to come.

The evidence of a comeback of classic rock was everywhere. It just needed to be uncovered. I first noticed this change a few years back, when my son, now fourteen, and his friends, the same age, all turned on the “Classic Rock Station” in the car. Then something else happened: With the advent of his guitar lessons, every other song he started playing was a classic from “Kansas”, the iconic classic band that has been rocking our ages for over four decades. “Carry On Wayward Son” seemed to be echoing through my house at every waking moment—not that I minded. When we heard “Kansas” was having a benefit concert for the United Cerebral Palsy at the beautiful Colonial Theatre, tickets were a must-do. Alas, a chance to fist pump to the classics with my son.

The last time I saw Kansas in concert was back in the 70’s, when we were all a tad younger. Now, old friends came together to see this fantastic group of musicians we grew up with. Kansas came out to see us, and we came to see them, friends from yesterday reaching across the decades of memories to touch hands one more time. Yes, this group still has it, and the crowd was foot-stomping, clapping and fist-pumping just like ‘way back when’, but this time there was a difference: We had our kids with us: Mom and son, dad and daughter--all came out to hear the incredible, timeless, streaming artistic work of the ageless “Kansas.”

The opening song, “Point of No Return” was just as good today as it was when I heard them the first time. This was followed by “Dust in the Wind” and a host of other tunes and small talk with the crowd that loves them. That one illusive song, however, was not yet played when the stage went dark. The booing started. The clapping. The foot stopping. “Where are they?” my son beckoned, waiting to see his heroes sing the song he waited all night to hear.

“Don’t worry,” I assured him. “They’ll be back.”

And yes, they were back, winding up the five-star rock extravaganza with “Carry On Wayward Son.”

Kansas still rocks on after all these years. They sounded no different this time, than when I saw them almost forty years ago. Their lyrics and music are timeless, bringing to light and emotion our human condition. This is why rock is connecting with kids, and why adults are still clinging to it: Rock was about us, who we are as people, the human condition, our needs, wants, and fears. Not a soul among us has ever listened to “Dust in the Wind” and not pondered that statement for the rest of the evening. In the end, that’s all we are—dust in the wind. The phrase resonates with us as much as Shakespeare ever did, which is why he, too, is still alive and well today. Capturing the human condition is what Kansas is all about. It’s what all the greats are about. We are the same inside today as we were five hundred years ago, as we will no doubt be five hundred years from now.

With this concert, and their timeless footprint on music, Kansas reminded us why we fell in love with them forty years ago, and why our kids are falling in love with them now. They have spread their joy across the generations, but still rock on like yesterday.

--Kim DiMaggio, didyouweekend@gmail.com

For tour dates: http://kansasband.com


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Address: Pittsfield, MA, USA

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