Sands Event Center – Bethlehem, PA – 5/30/19
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Classic, progressive rock band, Kansas played the Sands Event Center in Bethlehem, PA on May 30th. They played a 16-song set containing hits from over their 45 year career, in just under 90 minutes.
Kansas consists of Ronnie Platt (vocals, keyboard), Richard Williams (guitar), Zak Rizvi (guitar), Bill Greer (bass), David Ragsdale (violin), Tom Brislin (keyboard) and Phil Ehart (drums).
Rich and Phil are the last two remaining original members of the band but honestly you wouldn’t know it. They started out with 1977’s “Point of Know Return” from the album of the same title. Ronnie started out situated in the back corner of the stage playing the keys and singing. This song had a big opening with the dramatic keyboard sequence then went right into the poppy sound with the smooth and charming vocals of Ronnie. Next up was “Paradox” off of the same album. This one started off with keys and sharp violin playing by David. This song was fast past and had the crowd somewhat out of their seats and dancing. That’s always a hard one when the show is seated, most never know if they can stand and let loose, or if they have to just sit in their chairs for the performance. Towards the end of the song there was a battle between guitar solos and violin solos.
One of the neat features of this show was each band member getting their moment to shine; that’s the fun part of progressive bands. Many times instruments take on their own life and the lyrics are secondary in nature. Rounding out the opening three songs was “Two Cents Worth”. For this song Ronnie took the stage front and center, his vocals were super clean, hitting the high notes with ease and dropping back down. He has tremendous control while dancing around the stage. About three quarters through the song the instrumental solos started and each member got to shine, I was exhausted from just watching these guys rip.
Mid set they hit my all-time favorite Kansas song, “Dust in the Wind”. The soul soothing acoustic guitar riff and the vocals in this song brought me back to my childhood. Although the song was released in 1977 (the year I was born) I remember hearing it so much growing up. Ronnie’s vocals were goose bump worthy. They closed out the night with a song everyone knows, whether you are a fan of Kansas or not, “Carry on My Wayward Son”. This song just plain rocked from the perfectly harmonized vocals down to the groove. The crowd loved every second of this performance.
While Kansas may not have all of its original members, this show proved that the integrity of the band and its music remain intact. They played an energetic show filled with everything that is right in a live performance. They have tour dates booked out through February 2020 already so it won’t be hard to catch them out on the road. They put on a show that will not disappoint.