Chattanooga Now Kansas carries on performing new material and classic album 'Leftoverture'

Chattanooga Now Kansas carries on performing new material and classic album 'Leftoverture'

Progressive rock band performs Wednesday at Tivoli Theatre

September 28th, 2017 by Barry Courter in Chattnow Music

Kansas, featuring Richard Williams, from left, Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart, Ronnie Platt, David Manion, and David Ragsdale.

Photo by Contributed Photo /Times Free Press.

If you go

› What: Kansas

› Where: Tivoli Theatre, 709 Broad St.

› When: 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 4

› Admission: $49.50, $69.50 and $99.50 plus fees

› For more information: 423-757-5580

Apparently, fans of Kansas do in fact want to hear the band do their classic "Leftoverture" album live in its entirety. And they want to hear some other favorites and even songs from the group's 2016 album, "The Prelude Implicit."

Richard Williams, the band's guitarist since Kansas formed in 1972, said the guys in the band were so happy with "Prelude," they wanted to play as much of it live as they could. They also realized "Leftoverture" from 1976 was celebrating an anniversary, so they improvised.

"We wanted to do something different," he said. "We had this new material and thought, 'What if we do a 40th anniversary tour and play some of the new album?' We'd thought we'd maybe do 15 or 20 shows."

Fans loved it so much that more dates were added, including a stop here at the Tivoli Theatre on Wednesday, Oct. 4.

"We'll end up doing about 80 dates of it, so it's been a big surprise for us," Williams said.

The band's follow-up to "Leftoverture," "Point of No Return" turns 40 next year, so Williams said they will likely do a similar tour for it. He said the band has plans to return to the studio at the beginning of 2018 to record a new album as well.

"Carry on Wayward Son" was a break-through hit for Kansas in 1976, peaking at No. 11. It has become popular with new fans, as well, thanks to the TV show "Supernatural." It has been downloaded more than 2 million times in the digital era and was used often on the show. The band was asked to perform at Comic Con for fans this year.

"That was a tremendous experience," Williams said. "They didn't know we were going to be there. Because of it, our fan base at shows is now younger than it has ever been. It's also older than it has ever been," he said with a laugh.

"The Prelude Implicit" was the first studio album in 16 years. Williams said everyone in the band except Steve Morse and Kerry Livgrin wanted to make a new record, so when those two left, it opened the door.

"It was frustrating not to do it. To do a record, you have to have everybody willing and when your two main songwriters choose not to be involved, you are handcuffed."

He said the remaining guys — Billy Greer, Zak Rizvi, Phil Ehart (the other lone original member), Ronnie Platt, David Manion and David Ragsdale — all sequestered themselves into a space in Destin, Fla., and worked on the project.

Williams said it was like back in the early days.

"Strangely, that's exactly what it was like. This band is very reminiscent of the early days. We all love playing. We love writing and we feel like we have something to prove."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.