Kansas Expands 'Leftoverture' Anniversary Tour: Exclusive

Michie Turpin
Kansas

The wayward sons of Kansas plan to carry on with their Leftoverture 40th Anniversary Tour deeper into the breakthrough album's 41st year.

With the second leg of the tour, which began last fall, kicking off March 24 in Salina, Kan., the group has announced 32 dates for late summer through late fall, beginning Aug. 25 in Shreveport, La., and playing mostly secondary markets in the U.S. -- including an Oct. 6 stop in Kansas' birthplace of Topeka -- before coming to an end Dec. 9 in The Villages. Fla. Tickets for the new dates go on sale March 31, with more details at kansasband.com.

"Way beyond our expectations is an understatement," drummer Phil Ehart -- one of two founding members still left in Kansas, along with guitarist Rich Williams -- tells Billboard about the success of the Leftoverture tour. "Last fall I said, 'If we could get 10 or 12 dates of this, that would be great,' and we just blew by that. I guess we'd kind of forgotten what a huge album that was and is, and people really want to come out and hear us do it in its entirety." 

Released during October of 1976, Leftoverture was a Top 5, five-times platinum smash that launched the hit "Carry On Wayward Son" and saved Kansas'  deal with Kirshner Records. The group had never played the album in its entirety until last fall, and the track "Questions Of My Childhood" had never been performed live. "Coming back 40 years later we did learn what a very good album it was and is to this day," Ehart says. "The album did everything for us, and going back and revisiting the music we realized what a great job (guitarist-keyboardist) Kerry Livgren did in writing the album and what a great job the band did in playing it and carrying it forward."

The Leftoverture idea was hatched during a 2015 conversation between Ehart and the group's agent, Keith Naisbitt of Agency for the Performing Arts (APA), who were looking for a way to capitalize on rising interest in Kansas since the group's 2015 documentary Miracles Out Of Nowhere received substantial airplay on music TV networks and boosted attendance at the group's shows. "I was seeing very solid ticket sales that I wasn't expecting." Naisbitt recalls. "Phil...wanted to do 10 to 12 shows doing the album in its entirety in the best-selling Kansas markets in the U.S.A. From what I was witnessing with the band and ticket sales I thought we could pull off. I didn't expect it to do quite as well as it did but the stars aligned and Kansas went from being a soft ticket fair and casino attraction to becoming a hard ticket act, selling out or doing incredibly well in theaters around the country."

The biggest adjustment for the band, meanwhile, is having "Carry On Wayward Son" fall in the middle of the show rather than in its usual closing spot. "Yeah, it's a little weird," Ehart acknowledges. "But we announce that we're now going to play Leftoverture in its entirety and people know that, so it's worked out."

The Leftoverture anniversary tour coincided with the release of The Prelude Implicit, Kansas' first new studio album in 16 years, as well as the arrival of three new members -- singer-keyboardist Ronnie Platt, keyboardist David Manion and guitarist Zak Rizvi -- both of which injected new life into the group. Kansas is so energized, in fact, that recording on a new album is planned to begin in January for a later 2018 release and another full-album tour, this time playing 1977's Point Of Know Return, Leftoverture's quadruple-platinum follow-up and home to Kansas' sole Top 10 single, "Dust In The Wind." 

"We'll have the new album and do some songs off that and then play Point Of Know Return in its entirety, so we're going to use the same formula," Ehart says. "We hope we're gonna be able to do this again, and that it'll be well-received like (the Leftoverture tour) has been. There's no reason it shouldn't be as successful."

For full tour schedule, including non-Leftoverture dates and European tour, head here.

Previously announced Leftoverture 40th anniversary tour dates
March 24 -- Salina, KS, The Stiefel Theatre
March 25 -- Tulsa, OK, The Brady Theater
March 31 -- Des Moines, IA, Hoyt Sherman Place
April 1 -- Peoria, IL, Peoria Civic Center Theater
April 7 -- Louisville, KY, The Clay Center
April 18 -- Denver, CO, The Paramount
April 20 -- Salt Lake City, UT, Delta Hall at Eccles Theatre
April 22 -- Las Vegas, NV, The Smith Center – Reynolds Hall
April 23 -- Chandler, AZ, Chandler Center for the Arts
April 26 -- Los Angeles, CA, The Wiltern
April 28 -- Portland, OR, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
April 29 -- Seattle, WA, Moore Theater
July 16 -- Loreley, Germany, Night of the Prog Festival

Newly added 2017 "Leftoverture" 40th anniversary tour dates:
Aug. 25 -- Shreveport, LA, Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
Aug. 26 -- Baton Rouge, LA, Baton Rouge River Center Theatre
Sept. 8 -- Santa Rosa, CA, Luther Burbank Center for the Arts
Sept. 9 -- Stockton, CA, Bob Hope Theatre
Sept. 12 -- San Francisco, CA, Warfield Theatre
Sept. 13 -- Thousand Oaks, CA, Thousand Oaks Civic Arts Plaza
Sept. 15 -- Bakersfield, CA, Fox Theater
Sept. 19 -- San Diego, CA, Poway Center for the Arts
Sept. 21 -- Wichita Falls, TX, Memorial Auditorium Wichita Falls
Sept. 22 -- Amarillo, TX, Amarillo Civic Center
Sept. 29 -- Corpus Christi, TX, Selena Auditorium
Sept. 30 -- Houston, TX, Cullen Performance Hall
Oct. 6 -- Topeka, KS, Topeka Performing Arts Center
Oct. 7 -- Sioux City, IA, Orpheum Theatre
Oct. 13 -- Champaign, IL, The Virginia Theatre
Oct. 14 -- Evansville, IN, Victory Theatre
Oct. 20 -- Dodge City, KS, United Wireless Center
Oct. 21 -- Wichita, KS, Hartman Arena
Oct. 27 -- Knoxville, TN, Knoxville Civic Auditorium
Oct. 28 -- Huntsville, AL, Mark C. Smith Concert Hall
Nov. 3 -- Saginaw, MI, Dow Events Center Theater
Nov. 4 -- Toledo, OH, Stranahan Theater
Nov. 10 -- Waukegan, IL, Genesee Theatre
Nov. 11 -- Appleton, WI, Fox Cities Performing Arts Center
Nov. 17 -- Madison, WI, Capitol Theater
Nov. 18 -- Minneapolis, MN, State Theatre
Nov. 24 -- Buffalo, NY, University at Buffalo Center for the Arts
Nov. 25 -- Akron, OH, The Goodyear Theater
Dec. 1 -- North Charleston, SC, North Charleston Performing Arts Center
Dec. 2 -- Jacksonville, FL, Florida Theatre
Dec. 8 -- Pembroke Pines, FL, Pembroke Pines City Center
Dec. 9 -- The Villages, FL, Sharon L. Morse Performing Arts Center