Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Venue, Classic Tunes ; Concert Won't Feature Songs from New Album

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

New Venue, Classic Tunes ; Concert Won't Feature Songs from New Album

Article excerpt

When progressive rock band Kansas returns Saturday night to Topeka, where it began in the 1970s, an expected capacity audience in the Kansas Expocentre's Landon Arena will hear a few more of its old songs but none of its new ones.

As far as previously recorded material, band co-founder and Topeka native Richard "Rich" Williams said the set list should include some songs Kansas fans haven't heard performed live in a while.

That is because the band has a new lead singer, Ronnie Platt, who two years ago replaced Steve Walsh, who retired. Williams said there were songs that other band members wanted to perform at concerts, but Walsh declined to sing them.

"Not being a singer myself, it all seems a bit silly to me, but I also do understand that to stand up there and sing you really have to believe in what you're singing," Williams said. "There were some songs that Steve just wasn't comfortable doing anymore."

Williams said Platt is more than willing to mine Kansas' rich catalog, which includes two albums recorded with lead vocalist John Elefante during Walsh's earlier departure from the band.

Some of the songs Walsh wouldn't sing may not have been radio hits, but they remain near and dear to some Wheatheads, which is what the most ardent Kansas fans called themselves.

With each Kansas song the band has suggested to Platt, Wiliams said, his response has been, "Sure, I love that song. Let's do that."

As far as the songs recorded, performed or written by Walsh, Williams added, Platt is respectful of the way Walsh did them, keeps in mind how audiences expect them to sound and doesn't disappoint.

Platt has fully embraced Kansas' sound and contributed to the songwriting for "The Prelude Implicit," the band's first new album in 16 years.

"The Prelude Implicit" was co-produced by Williams, co-founder and drummer Phil Ehart and Zak Rizvi, who started the project as an outside songwriter but joined the band in May as its second guitarist. …

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