I was a very big Kansas fan during their
prime and saw a few of their concerts, once at a small venue and
then an arena for the Point of No Return tour.
Their first five albums are worthwhile, but after that I don't have care much for their music.
My two favorite Kansas albums are Leftoverture and Masque.
Kansas has several compilations.
Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection is a good choice if the price isn't too high. It has two CD's and one video disc. The music is
chronological and disc one covers the first four albums, Kansas,
Song For America, Masque, and Leftoverture; all of these albums
very good to excellent. The second disc has a large helping of Point of No Return material and a sampling of songs of material that extends to the Steve Morse era and beyond.
The DVD included with Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection is not one concert but excerpts of
a few different performances. In all cases the quality is not great, but not horrible. The first five songs get my
attention. They cover material up through
Masque and are from the Don Kirshners Rock Concert. These
performances remind me of why I used to listen their albums over and
over. The cameramen aren't as familiar with the material as they should as during
"Icarus," they showed Rich Williams hands rather than Kerry Livgren
during key parts. The video also includes a collection of their
MTV type of videos and a 2002 performance of two songs from Leftoverture.
There is another very good two disc cd option, The Ultimate Kansas.
This compilation focuses primarily on material with the bands
initial personnel line-up through Vinyl Confessions; that
album saw the first change, Steve Walsh was out and vocalist John
Elefante replaced him. The reason I don't like this CD as much as
Sail On is that it does not include one of my favorite songs,
"Icarus: Bourne of Wings of Steel." Also, Ultimate Kansas does not sequence the songs in chronological order or
in a sequence that flows.
Below we have listed a few
of the compilations that are available and the track list of their
first five albums. Be aware of the release dates of some of the
compilations as some are not the re-mastered versions. That is another
reason that our top Kansas pick is Sail On: The 30th Anniversary Collection,
or their first five studio albums.
Personnel at inception:
Robbie Steinhardt - violin, vocals
Kerry Livgren - guitar, keyboards
Steve Walsh - keyboards, vocals
Rich Williams - guitar
Phil Ehardt - Drums
Dave Hope - bass
Steve Morse - guitar
Billy Greer - bass
John Elefante vocals
David Ragsdale - violin
Regarding personnel, I
thought the partnering of Steve Morse would be a great match. I
haven't heard all of this material, but from what I have it is
Kansas' or Steve Morse's best material. I've seen both Dixie
Dregs and Steve
Morse and heard plenty on CD and that is where to hear Steve
Morse at his best.