Kansas Launches U.S. Tour in Support of 40th Anniversary of 'Point of Know Return' Album
The iconic prog rock record was the band's best-selling release.
It’s not easy to avoid Point of Know Return, Kansas’ enigmatic fifth studio album on Kirshner/CBS -- whose title track is still a fixture of rock radio and the subject of debate and admiration in films like High Fidelity and The Rocker.
Now, 40 years after it was recorded, Point of Know Return is often listed as one of the greatest prog rock records of all time, anchored by the massive hit “Dust in the Wind,” a sparse acoustic ballad with a signature guitar opening that came to life almost accidentally by guitarist Kerry Livgren during a finger-picking exercise.
"Kerry told us he wasn't sure if we were going to like it, but he played the song and we thought it was tremendous and had the possibility of being on the radio," drummer and original lineup member Phil Ehart tells Billboard. "I don't think any of us really knew that it was going to be that gigantic, and, along with 'Carry on Wayward Son,' still played on every classic rock radio station in the country, every day."
In honor of the album’s 40th anniversary, Kansas is performing Point of Know Return in its entirety on a theater tour booked by Keith Naisbitt at APA, following their success touring the 40th anniversary of the Leftoverture album last year.
"It was incredibly successful," Naisbitt tells Billboard. "We took a different approach and after a couple years not playing major markets, we returned with sets that were really special in places like Atlanta, Nashville and Los Angeles. It took the band to a whole new level and now we're getting ready for Point of Know Return, which is obviously a bigger album and will mean the biggest shows we possibly can play."
The Point of Know Return tour kicks off Sept. 28 at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center in Atlanta, with stops at the Ryman in Nashville (Sept. 29), the Tobin Center in San Antonio (Nov. 2) and the Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania (Nov. 23), before ending at the Broward Center in Fort Lauderdale (Dec. 15).
“We start with an acoustic set," followed by a second set of deep cuts and a final set of Point of Know Return in its entirety, says Ehart. Lead singer Steve Walsh retired from Kansas in 2014 and was replaced by Ronnie Platt, who is currently fronting the group on this tour and sang for 2017’s 40th anniversary of Leftoverture.
It was the success of that tour that prompted the band to hit the road this year in support of Point of Know Return, which peaked at No. 4 on Billboard’s Album charts, selling over six million copies and spawning three Billboard Hot 100 hits.
“After a long tour in support of Leftoverture, we have a lot more confidence as to what we can do,” says Ehart. “The fans will get to hear stuff that we don't normally play, from both our deep cuts and the album. If you're a Kansas fan you'll hear something that you'll probably like.”