By Steve Newton
One of my earliest arena-concert memories was of seeing Bad Company on the Run with the Pack Tour at Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum back in the spring of ’76, I think it was. The opening act was a prog-leaning rock band from Kansas called Kansas, who I remember most because they had a violin player.
This was just a few months before the release of Leftoverture, which boasted the huge hit “Carry on Wayward Son”, which I’ve never gotten tired of hearing. It was the most-played track on classic rock radio in 1997, so I’m not alone in my fondness for the killer guitar riff delivered by composer Kerry Livgren.
The band’s next album after Leftoverture was 1977’s Point of Know Return, which boasted another Livgren-penned tune called “Dust in the Wind”. That’s one of my all-time faves. I’ve been trying to master its tricky chord progression from “C” to “G” to “A minor” for 30 years now, without much luck.
Anyone else with a fondness for Kansas should be aware of today’s announcement that Epic Records and Legacy Recordings will release Kansas–Miracles Out of Nowhere, a DVD/CD package that includes a new, full-length documentary film and a companion audio disc of greatest hits and “deep album cuts”, whatever that means. Here’s some of the bumph released by Groundworks Marketing today:
2014 marked the 40th anniversary of the release of Kansas, the band’s debut album. To commemorate the occasion, the classic Kansas lineup reunited, for the first time in more than 30 years; at the place their incredible journey began, Topeka, Kansas! There, they relived the incredible untold story of one of the most successful American rock bands of their era. Returning to monumental career landmarks in their hometown, as well as sharing untold memories ranging from touring to songwriting and recording, the band shares how the smash hit “Dust in the Wind” was just a passing comment away from never being recorded! Viewers will hear the band tell stories about recording in the studio next to John Lennon, a backstage fight with Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler, and how the words “free beer” changed their lives forever! Miracles Out of Nowhere presents Kansas in a way they have never before been seen.
Directed by Emmy-nominated Charley Randazzo, the documentary features interviews from legendary Queen guitarist and former tourmate Brian May, acclaimed producer Brendan O’Brien, Rolling Stone journalist David Wild, and more. These extraordinary new insights are coupled with rare and unseen footage, including live performances and candid, fan-shot footage of the band on the road. Miracles Out of Nowhere offers an unprecedented look at the incredible ascent of Kansas, a story that will appeal to new fans and veteran enthusiasts alike.
Miracles Out of Nowhere will be released in March 2015.