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Wayward son carries on

Steve Morse made a surprise guest appearance at the Kansas gigs in Clearwater, Florida, on January 19 and 20, 2024.

In other SM news, that Flying Colors appearance at the Cruise To The Edge that was originally scheduled for 2020, is finally happening this year. The cherry on top is Steve Morse band joining the cruise as well. The cruise itself is all sold out already, so a warm-up SMB gig was arranged for the day before the departure in Miami.

Thanks to stevemorse.com on both counts.

19 Comments to “Wayward son carries on”:

  1. 1
    MacGregor says:

    Wondering where Rich Williams their original guitarist is. He was still in the band a month or so ago, maybe he couldn’t make these few gigs or he is back stage enjoying a cup of tea. Good to see Steve Morse still connected to Kansas. Those two bands (The ‘Dixie’ Dregs) have known each other for a long time. Although I don’t follow Kansas these days they certainly do still rock out very well indeed. Thanks for the posting. Cheers.

  2. 2
    Gregster says:


    Great news to hear about, & certainly it will be a cruise to remember lol !

    Peace !

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    Apparently Rich Williams was down with the flu at that time. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Nice to see Steve revisiting his past, great playing by all concerned too, but my first thought was where the hell is Rich ‘Eye-Patch’ Williams, together with drummer Phil Ehart the two remaining original members of Kansas?


    But the description to the vid cleared it up, he couldn’t play that night due to illness so Zak Rizvi (lead guitarist to the far-left), also their producer, stepped in.

    Of course, Kansas too have their Blackmore looming in the shadow: Here is a recent performance with Kerry Livgren (original lead guitarist and chief songwriter) & Dave Hope (original bassist):


    Livgren plays the – immaculate – solo at 02:25, Williams is mostly cut out by the cell phone camera, but you see a glimpse of him at 00:20 to the far-left (left of Livgren) playing acoustic guitar.

    I’m happy to hear that Flying Colors remain a going concern, I had feared that – just like Neal Morse’s & Mike Portnoy’s other project Transatlantic – they had called it a day. That said, Mike (having returned to the Dream Theater mothership) will probably have a busy touring schedule going forward. I’ve been listening to a lot of Flying Colors more recently, I find them the most rewarding musical setting for Steve’s talents.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    I forgot about another link between Deep Purple affiliated ‘members’ & Kansas. Ronnie James Dio singing two songs on Kerry Livgren’s first solo album from 1980, Seeds of Change. It created a little bit of a media frenzy in that Livgren having converted to Christianity in 1979 & why he would have a member of Black Sabbath on his album. From what I have read Livgren stated on the album liner notes that Dio was NOT a ‘satanist’. Glad we had all that cleared up at the time. Another potential drama averted, dark versus light etc. When will that ever end? Cheers.

  6. 6
    MacGregor says:

    That is wonderful to see Kerry Livgren out & about playing again. He suffered a nasty stroke about 15 years ago that floored him. To be able to play agin even in a somewhat reduced way is something else. A superb guitarist, keyboard player & back in the day the main songwriter to so many classics from Kansas. Co writing with Steve Walsh also at times. So prolific was Livgren that the Somewhere to Elsewhere album from 2000 was entirely written by him even though he was not officially in the band at all, from my memory at least. Dave Hope on the bass guitar, now that has been a long time indeed. Cheers

  7. 7
    Marcus says:

    Glad to see Steve still wants to get out and play.

    Even if the circumstances mean that he is still restricting appearances to the area commutable from home.

    Just a pity I am not going to be in that magic circle.

  8. 8
    George Martin says:

    I saw the entire show on you tube, I forget at what point it was but they mentioned Rich Williams had the flu and was too sick to make the show so the guy they got to replace him was a former Kansas band member from years ago. I guess when you get to be my age it’s always nice to have spare parts around.

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    LOL, among my most treasured pieces of Purple Family-related memorabilia is a makeshift leaflet by some religious fringe group which was obviously designed to be shared with concert goers of Black Sabbath, Born Again era, making reference to both the sleeve, the Disturbing The Priest lyrics and, of course, Black Sabbath’s band name. I don’t even know how it got into my hands (the one time Gillabbath toured Germany I didn’t go because I had to work that night, hoping I could see them on the next tour – could still kick myself for that …). I keep it stored in the sleeve of my Born Again vinyl, when it doesn’t find application in my regular home Satanic rituals …


  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Guitar isn’t the only thing our Little Stevie has helped Kansas out with …


    And since his departure he’s of course guested with them before:


    Here even with Kerry Livgren …


    Entertaining US service men and women in the UK when he was still with the band, Steve even doing backing vocals:


    Look no further than 19:40 if you always wondered how Steve would look in an accelerating M1 Abrams Tank and a tanker’s helmet! And Steve Walsh is so Colombian-produce-geared-up during the gig, he makes mid-70ies Glenn Hughes look like a cocaine teetotaler. Oh, and you don’t see Kansas (or Steve Morse for that matter) do Steppenwolf’s Born To Be Wild everyday either – with a servicemen choir (at 23:02)!

    A curio performance if I’ve ever seen one. It was the wilderness years for Kansas and they reunited with Livgren shortly after though that once again didn’t last long.

    Rich Williams saying something nice about Steve (as you would expect):


  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Damn, in hindsight, I shouldn’t have posted that vid where Steve plays violin. It will only feed the flame with a certain Honorable Gregster who will now insist that Steve is better than Ritchie ALSO because his violin playing is more developed than Ritchie’s attempts on the cello.

    (caption: “Can anybody provide me discreetly with the address of this Gregster guy?!”)

    What have I done …

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    For all you Morse nuts, I didn’t know this was even available, demos and outtakes from his first album with Kansas (Power):


  13. 13
    MacGregor says:

    The 1980’s again eh? Not the best representation of who Kansas are as a band & that is being a progressive rock band from the 70’s. AOR etc & there are some good songs on those two Morse related albums but it shows in concerts how different the dynamics are & how that had changed. The band changed in the early 80’s to AOR & Walsh left & Livgren being too religious & then he left. The 1980’s & MTV again. Steve Walsh yes he had his problems for sure & he ended up in major trouble around that time or perhaps a little after that. Thankfully he recovered & in the mid 90’s they returned to the Kansas that everyone knew. Violin has to be in that band played by a virtuoso player as that is what was always there in the compositions from the mighty 1970’s with Robby Steinhardt RIP . The best dvd concert is the early 2000’s Device Voice Drum when he returned for a few years. A wonderful gig filmed in front of a small audience & all those epic 70’s compositions are played. David Ragsdale was a mighty violinist also in the 1990’s & post 2000’s. They have a new member there now as Ragsdale left a year or two ago. I ceased listening to them about the time of the post 2005’s era when Walsh’s voice was deteriorating & everything became a bit tale in certain ways. Thanks for live Morse era videos as I have never seen those. Cheers.

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    I always thought about Morse joining Kansas & how Rich Williams would adapt to Morse’s very busy style. Although Williams was more the second lead & rhythm guitarist in many ways back in the 70’s, so prolific & talented that Kerry Livgren was. So Williams would have been use to being a ‘rhythm’ player as such & backing up a more virtuoso guitar player. It was interesting watching Morse ‘playing’ the violin, boy did he look tense there, ha ha ha & rightly so. A lot of pressure there indeed. At least he was able to get the main part down. He may have been thinking ‘I have to get this right otherwise I will be crucified by the audience’. Little did he know then that he would be repeating that thought in ten years or so in DP. ‘I have to get this Blackmore bit correct otherwise they (the audience) will crucify me’. Poor chap, still he rose to the occasion as the professional & positive individual that he is & marched onwards. Cheers.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think the stuff by the new line-up is worth a listen.

    Admittedly, I was never too much a fan of Steve Walsh’s voice even in his younger years, something in his tone didn’t quite appeal to me, not his fault. I did see them live though at an open air in 1981 with, inter alia, Foreigner, BÖC and a still Di’Anno-fronted Iron Maiden – the festival was heavily geared towards US Armed Forces members who were back then still plentiful in the Rhine-Main-Region where I live (hence a lot of US mega-acts toured there that would have otherwise had issues getting butts on seats, or, as was the case here, on the grass). Anyway, that was Kansas still in their heyday line-up and though I knew little of their music except for the two obvious hits, I remember it as a very dynamic and professional performance, Steve Walsh, bare-chested and in tight yellow basketball shorts skipping around the stage between his frontman and keyboarder roles. They presented their rather complex music with a perfect sound. The GIs dug it a lot, but I was really there for BÖC, Eric Bloom is more my frontman type, I lean toward the dark as you all know!

    Foreigner were headliners, but I didn’t even watch them all the way through, arrogant little sod that I was. 😂

  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    Here is Dio talking in 2008 about that Kerry Livgren solo album that he participated in. Also Livgren talking from an older interview about Dio’s vocals etc. A lot of mutual respect between the two as expected. Cheers.


  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “In The Spirit Of Things”, Steve’s second and last studio album with Kansas, seems to be the ‘Come Taste The Band’ of Kansas. After the rather conventional ‘Power’ they really branched out with the Bob Ezrin produced concept album about Neosho Falls, a Kansas town that was hit by massive floods twice (1926 and 25 years later again in 1951) until most of its inhabitants gave it up and it turned into a now legendary ghost town:


    I’ve found a comparatively recent reappraisal of the album and it is really one of the most in depth reviews I’ve read about a rock record in a while:


    Even Bob Ezrin himself (who chips in in the comments section at the end of the review) is impressed.

    Some of the songs are no less than theatrical, but in an impressive way:




    (live – with Steve as a guest)

    If you don’t know it yet (or haven’t heard it in a while like I had until this thread reminded me of it) that album is really worth a (re)listen.

    Of course, with Bob Ezrin producing one thing may not be missing … Guessed it? What do

    Alice Cooper’s School’s Out,

    Kiss’ Great Expectations,

    Peter Gabriel’s Games Without Frontiers,

    Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall and

    Hanoi Rocks’ High School

    all have in common (other than the Bob Ezrin production)? Right, a kiddie choir in the chorus!!! And Kansas couldn’t escape that on “In The Spirit Of Things” either, here’s the afflicted track:


    I’m waiting for the DP track where Bob will finally get his way and include a children’s choir too. :mrgreen:

  18. 18
    MacGregor says:

    Thanks Uwe for that wonderful review of the In The Spirit of Things album from Kansas. It is a very good album in many ways, just as the reviewer says it falls flat in the middle a bit from all those power style ballads. A cracking opening haunting song is Ghosts. Thanks for that link regarding that small town, haunting images & story indeed. Is there a more dramatic & emotional lead vocalist in rock music than Steve Walsh? Superb vocalist & a very good keyboard player & songwriter. I actually think the album is too big & rich in its overall production. I prefer the Power album sound overall, a drier & punchier rock album produced by Andrew Powell the English composer & conductor.. Too much keyboard programming & electronic drums & BIG choruses at times on The Spirit of Things. However it is a good powerful concept recording & it was the 1980’s after all. As always the songs are the main thing. Nice to also read that Bob Ezrin comment. Regarding children singing there is a lovely acoustic song on Power titled Taking in the View. Some of the band members children I think it is that sing a middle eight section on that song.


    The opening track on Power ‘Silhouettes in Disguise’ is a good opening track with a wonderful guitar solo from Steve Morse closing at the end. An album worth checking out is the Power album. I do think Morse did well joining Kansas in getting some of his ideas into more song based scenarios. His ‘Stand Up’ album from 1985 was an attempt at going that way with 3-4 vocal tracks that sound very AOR. I didn’t buy that solo album or is it a SMB album. Kansas enabled Morse an opportunity to flex that ‘AOR’ commercial style muscle within a better environment to my ears. I do think anyone who is a follower of Morse or Kansas should have both albums because of the different songs & instrumentals etc. Below is the Silhouettes in Disguise song. Cheers.


  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    You were fortunate to see Kansas live in concert even if you didn’t know their music as such as there is no way they ever came out to Oz, not that I am aware of. Although I wasn’t introduced to them until 1989 by a progressive rock guy I had met who was into the British bands. He was a Kansas freak & lent me all their albums so I could tape them. I had heard of them plenty of times since the 70’s but no one I knew had their music. Of course I also was well aware of the two Morse recordings but hadn’t heard them. That might sound strange as I was a owner of so many of The ‘Dixie” Dregs & Morse’s music at that time, but that 1985 Stand Up album put me off. I thought Morse may be trying to get into that AOR thing & I ignored those two Kansas albums thinking along those lines. Yes the front man running around & performing their ‘fitness regime’ is embarrassing for any front man to me, cue David Lee Roth etc. Walsh had his demons for a while throughout the 1980’s & into the 90’s & is deeply embarrassed about his behaviour. Fame, fortune & hedonism, again. The other thing I like about Kansas is they represent the plight of the American Indians in some of their songs. Is Walsh from that lineage, possibly but as he was adopted he probably doesn’t know, he sure looks like he could be. Cheyenne Anthem song below. Cheers


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