28 May 2008

Kansas: Two for the Show reissue/expanded edition info

Thirty years later, TWO FOR THE SHOW: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION will arrive in stores July 1st on Kirshner/Epic/Legacy, a division of SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT. The double-CD package will be housed in a beautifully designed, environmentally friendly, plastic-free soft pack, containing a 24-page full-color booklet with many unseen photographs, and a new liner notes essay written by Jeb Wright.

"Looking back," Wright reflects, "it is hard to believe that these six long-haired, rough and tumble Midwesterners took only a few years to go from playing local bars to selling out Madison Square Garden...but that is exactly what happened." Wright, a native of Topeka, Kansas - the band's hometown - is the owner/editor of Classic Rock Revisited online music magazine, which can be found at www.classicrockrevisited.com.

Wright also points out the story behind the album cover graphic - the familiar rendering of the two cleaning ladies seated in the empty red velvet orchestra seats after a show, their mops in view, perusing the Kansas playbill. It was based on a Norman Rockwell painting titled "The Charwomen" that originally appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post of April 6, 1946. The 1978 version went on to win an award from the Norman Rockwell Foundation. Today it serves as the homepage of the band's website, with the red curtained stage serving as the backdrop for the site views.

After five RIAA gold, platinum and multi-platinum LPs, the original release of Two For the Show was welcomed in November 1978 by fans of Kansas, a band whose career has always been based on their reputation as live performers. The double-album chronicled their mammoth tours of 1977-78, which built on the breakthrough success of their consecutive Top 5 LPs Leftoverture (1976, with "Carry On Wayward Son") and Point Of Know Return (1977, with "Point Of Know Return" and "Dust In the Wind").

To the delight of Kansas completists around the world, TWO FOR THE SHOW will finally restore the live version of "Closet Chronicles" to the playlist (on disc two). This rarity was first heard on the Point Of Know Return album, and as the B-side of the "Point Of Know Return" single. When the first-generation CD of Two For the Show was issued in 1989, "Closet Chronicles" (which preceded "Magnum Opus" as the next-to-last track on the double-LP) was cut for length reasons.

The live version of "Closet Chronicles" anchors CD two on the new package, whose 10 other live tracks gathered from the 1977-78 tours are previously unreleased. Among them is the closing track, the cover of J.J. Cale's "Bring It Back," which Kansas picked up from Cale's debut LP of 1971, Naturally. The band recorded it (as "Bringing It Back") on their own self-titled debut album of 1974, Kansas, on the Kirshner label, distributed by Epic Associated Labels. It remained their only non-Kansas composition recorded during their entire first decade 1974-83, and their nine studio LPs on Kirshner (before moving to MCA in 1986, when they began to record 'outside' material).

The album, Wright concludes, "is a testament to a great band at the top of their game. A large majority of the track listing is still found in the band's set list today, proving their music remains both majestic and timeless.This album is a true testament to their abilities. So, the time has come for me to Welcome you to Kansas and invite you to sit back, crank up the volume, and enjoy TWO FOR THE SHOW."

TWO FOR THE SHOW: 30th ANNIVERSARY EDITION (Kirshner/Epic/ Legacy 88697 30836 2, originally issued November 1978, as Kirshner 35660)

Disc One - Selections:
1. Song For America (B)
2. Point Of Know Return (E)
3. Paradox (E)
4. Icarus - Borne On Wings Of Steel (C)
5. Portrait (He Knew) (E)
6. Carry On Wayward Son (D)
7. Journey From Mariabronn (A)
8. Dust In the Wind - acoustic guitar solo (E)
9. Lonely Wind - piano solo (A)
10. Mysteries And Mayhem (C)
11. Excerpt From Lamplight Symphony (B)
12. The Wall (D)
13. Magnum Opus (D).

Disc Two - Selections:
1. Hopelessly Human (E)
2. Child Of Innocence (C)
3. Belexes (A)
4. Cheyenne Anthem (D)
5. Lonely Street (B)
6. Miracles Out Of Nowhere (D)
7. The Spider - drum solo (E)
8. Closet Chronicles (E)
9. Down The Road (B)
10. Sparks Of The Tempest (E)
11. Bringing It Back (A).
(All live tracks previously unreleased except number 10.)

Song originally from studio album:
(A) - Kansas (1974)
(B) - Song For America (1974)
(C) - Masque (1975)
(D) - Leftoverture (1976)
(E) - Point Of Know Return (1977)


firefly said...

I wonder if the first CD on this is "digitally remastered?"
A couple of comments: I've seen Kansas many times, and have been recently impressed how they survive(d) with less and less players, ever since Kerry left, too, occasionally adding the likes of Steve Morse. But at the Fraze in Kettering, OH, and in Mason, OH they were a slim band of original members aside from the bassist who has been with them now awhile.
And at Mason, they played "Rainmaker" which suprised me. They were as good as Asia that day, too, whom came on first if I recall correctly.

Anonymous said...

What's with the eco-friendly, plastic free packaging? Are they worried that people are gonna throw it away?

Mark said...

I realize this is a source error, and not the blog author, but above should say all tracks previously unreleased except track 8 (not 10), which obviously was released on the "Best of" remaster.

Bill K. said...

I think the unreleased bit refers solely to CD 2, which is all unreleased material save for Closet Chronicles.

But yes, it was a poorly worded press release from that standpoint.

Mark said...

Right...CC is track 8 in the tracklist above, not track 10. :-)

Bill K. said...

Umm...yes. It is.


Time for more caffeine I think.

Anonymous said...

It's great to see this is finally being expanded. I only wish they would have resequenced the album into a more linear flow. Something like this perhaps:
Disc One
Lonely St.

Disc Two
Lonely Wind

This still needs a bit of readjusting but this is a good set list.

Bill K. said...

All things considered equal, I wish they had done the first disc to recreate the original LP release of the album (re-instituting the track that was excised when released on CD), and kept the bonus tracks as they are, on a separate disc. I don't necessarily like the idea of resequencing an album that already exists. It's why I liked what EMI did with the Marillion reissues a few years back...keep the bonus tracks on a separate disc and keep the original album intact. It is, to me, the best way to do it.

Mark said...

Does it (the original track list) fall under 80 minutes with CC back in the lineup?

Bill K. said...

have to check...if it's over 80 minutes, it's just barely over 80 minutes.

Bill K. said...

And it's funny as heck that I Google for info, including maybe pix of the 4 LP sides, and on the first page of Google responses is a link to this entry ;-)

Anonymous said...

The original CD is 73 minutes and adding Closet would make it make it about 80m15s.

I still think resequencing the album would have been better. When I first heard the live version of Sparks on the Point remaster it starts with the very end of Carry on. It just seems logical (at least to me)to put the performance back in its rightful place. Even The Spider drum solo must merge into the beginning of Portrait. I never really liked that it faded in when there was obviously something played before it.

You may also note that I didn't mess with what was originally side 3 of the album. (Dust to The Wall) because I always liked the way those songs flowed together.

I can still see the point of having the original album in its usual order, but I think we all have the old CD version of this where only one song has been taken out and the order is maintained.

I can't wait for this to come out. What they need to do now is release Monolith. You all heard what they did to the Masque album. They could do it for this album as well.

Dave said...

On that tour Kansas actually opened with Hopelessly Human. So the preferred song order listed above is incorrect.