Classical rock band Kansas feels a special vibe in their homeland



Kansas is playing an outdoor show at Wave next Wednesday night.


It’s always special when the band Kansas performs in their home state, says Tom Brislin.

“I really felt it the first time I was in Kansas with the band,” the New Jersey native said of Sunflower State’s reaction to the classic rock band that made their Topeka debut. “There is something special about the audience that comes to see us play there. “

The keyboardist and singer joined the group in 2018, having recorded and toured with artists such as Meat Loaf, Yes and Blondie.

Kansas is playing an outdoor show at Wave next Wednesday night.

The band known for hits like “Dust in the Wind”, “Carry On Wayward Son” and “Point of Know Return” has seen several personnel changes over its nearly five decades of existence, drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams being the only constants. .

“They’ve always maintained that Kansas is the band and that Kansas is about the music,” Brislin, 47, said from her New Jersey home. “And they want this music to live on forever, as far as it can go and as long as people want to hear it. These guys live to play music and why not? It’s a great legacy, it’s a large group.

Brislin said he can understand skeptics who think a band might be downsized because the band on stage might not have all of the members like on the original singles and albums.

“If anyone is skeptical, I would just say, ‘Hey, come see a show and see what you think,’” he said. “I feel like we’re putting on a really strong show and giving people value for their money. We put our hearts on the stage and respect this Kansas music and Kansas heritage. “

Once hired, Brislin said, he had to travel to work to learn all the material for a tour – without the help of sheet music.

“Kansas’ music is complex,” he said. “There’s a lot more going on than a lot of people think, and it’s very progressive, very deep music. I just had to dive in and do my homework.

Brislin plays four keyboards on stage, adapting to whatever is needed in each of the songs of the touring band.

Like everything else in 2020, Kansas has had to stop and take a break during the coronavirus pandemic.

It hurt Kansas more than other bands, Brislin said, because in the summer of 2020 the band were due to release their first album in four years, “The Absence of Presence,” and hoped the general public would. the tour would boost sales.

“We were hot too,” he said. “The group was cooking and we were firing at full blast. It was a big blow, but what can you do? “

Instead, the band rose to prominence on social media, using it to promote the album, which consistently ends up in the top 10 rock albums, he said.

“It was nice that we could still reach out to our audience during that time and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got some new Kansas music for you,’” said Brislin.

Brislin has co-authored some papers on “Absence of Presence”.

“Being a part of Kansas history was important to me,” he said.

Brislin weathered the pandemic with her high creative mind.

“I got to work making sure that I was writing something, that I was composing something, every day,” he said. “Whether it was good or not, I just wanted to show myself. “

Kansas has a tour based on the anniversary of its “Point of Know Return” album from November through May 2022, and is about two-thirds of the way through its “Kansas Classics Tour” when it stops at Wave.

Brislin said that over the past year and a half he and the group have been aware of what is going on around them and have stayed safe and healthy.

“We have to be careful. We want to play it safe – the health of everyone involved is of course the most important thing, ”he said. “We stay on top of advice and protocols and we adapt, that’s what you need to do.”


When: 7:30 p.m. Wednesday September 22

Or: Wave, 650 E. 2nd St.

Tickets: $ 49 to $ 129, on

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