Mr. Karen and I went to see Kansas last night at what I’ve decided to call the DTE Music Knob. Of course we did; we only miss their Detroit area shows if we’re out of town ourselves. We’ve even traveled to see them a few times when their tours didn’t come through Detroit or didn’t come through when we’d be in town, though we’ve not yet gone so far as to fly somewhere to see them.
Kansas and Mr. Karen and I go way back. More precisely, Mr. Karen and Kansas go way back and I’ve been sucked in. I first saw the band at Poplar Creek Music Theater outside of Chicago (a venue that is no more) back when Mr. Karen are I were just dating. Since then, I’ve seen them more times than I can count (well, no, I could count the times, except I haven’t kept good records, so the count would be inaccurate and perhaps materially different from the truth, so let’s just say “lots”). We’ve seen them in big venues, like Joe Louis Arena, and small ones, like a beer tent at a little festival in Chicagoland. We’ve seen all the lineups–the original six, Elefante, Morse, etc. We’ve seen them accompanied by a symphony orchestra. We’re not diehards to the degree that we score high on the 22-point “you may be a Kansas fan” quiz on a site I will not link to because it’s on pop-up-riffic Tripod, nor do we have any plans to attend Wheatfest, but we’re still pretty serious fans of long standing.
So I know whereof (whatof?) I speak when I say that last night’s show was one of their best. I’ve heard these songs a hundred, maybe a thousand times or more. Perhaps the music last night wasn’t as tight as it could have been, but the band seemed to be having fun and the audience was into it (well, except for the young teen behind us, who had his head in his hands every time I saw him, except for during the encore, when he looked almost happy, probably because he knew it’d be over soon). The aspect that really put it over the top was the visuals. They’ve got a new stage setup that looks good and really seems to work well for them. It features a huge rear-projection screen behind Phil Ehart (the drummer) that they used to excellent advantage during a lot of the songs as well as lighting that was very effective (and colorful– I love colorful). Being a visual person, I really liked that there was so much to see; it wasn’t just them playing the songs. I also like the Dippin’ Dots we ate during the opening act (sorry, the special guest), Asia. The had a big backdrop, but no animation and no props and there didn’t seem to be enough of them or the right ones or something, yet still somehow they managed to get “Heat of the Moment” stuck in my head so firmly I’ve been hearing it all day, especially the “and now you find yourself in ’82, the disco hot spots hold no charm for you” part. Disco hot spots? Save me.
A year ago, I wrote the entry that started all the how to do a chignon hits I get from search engines. (I did eventually explain how here. I have not yet decided how I can help the people who come looking for “uterus hat”.)
Two years ago, I cried over an oil change.
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