Kansas Point of Know Return album tour at Count Basie, Mayo PAC

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After 45 years since its release, Kansas guitarist Richard Williams never got tired of playing “Dust in the Wind.” The 1977 acoustic track contemplating people’s place in the grand scheme of the universe is a staple of classic rock music.

“It’s the song that everyone knows from the first note and can sing word for word,” Williams said. “We knew from the first time we heard the finished track that it was special, and it’s still special to play today. It’s also a song that means so much to people. Everyone has a personal and moving story to tell on “Dust in the Wind.”

“Dust in the Wind”, a Billboard Top 10 single, was the highlight of the band’s “Point of Know Return” album. With “Dust in the Wind”, the disc sold 6 million copies (the group sold 30 million in total).

Kansas will perform the disc in its entirety at their show on Friday, Feb. 25 at the Count Basie Center for the Arts in Red Bank; Saturday, February 26 at the American Music Theater in Lancaster, Pennsylvania; and Friday, March 11 at the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown.

Ironically, “Dust in the Wind” was a last minute addition to “Point of Know Return”.

“We worked for months, and then on the last day of rehearsal before we went into the studio, (guitarist) Kerry Livgren said, ‘I’ve got another song,'” Williams said. “Our first reaction was, ‘We’re tired of learning songs, let’s move on.’ Then we listened and thought, ‘Whoa, that’s pretty cool.’ ”

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Upcoming concerts also include a special acoustic set and a career-spanning hits and deep cuts section that includes tracks from the band’s current album, “The Absence of Presence.”

“The album came out in the summer of 2020 at the height of the pandemic, so it’s great to be able to tour for him as well,” Williams said.

For a classic rock band, getting casual fans interested in new music can be difficult.

“With a new record, the question is how do you get people to care about it,” Williams said. “Linking it with ‘Point of Know Return’ will ensure that people who pick up the hits will get a taste of new music.”

Kansas first garnered widespread acclaim with “Carry On Wayward Son”, the Billboard Top 20 single from the band’s fourth album, “Leftoverture” (1976).

“Point of Know Return” (1977) and “Monolith” (1979) continued Kansas’ success throughout the decade, and the band had a number of well-received releases in the 1980s.

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Kansas suffered a significant decline in the 1990s amid many lineup changes.

“The 90s were tough,” Williams said. “We were seen as dinosaurs. We started playing club again. It was the dark ages.”

Williams and fellow drummer Phil Ehart set out to reboot the band as the 2000s dawned.

“We decided it had to be fun and there had to be a reason to do it,” he said. “We reinvented ourselves, and the time was right because classic rock was starting to make a comeback. We held on. »

The band’s current lineup also includes longtime bassist Billy Greer, violinist David Ragsdale, keyboardist and Dunellen native Tom Brislin, and vocalist Ronnie Platt. The group is also the headliner of the NJ Lottery Festival of Ballooning July 31 at Solberg Airport in Readington.

Williams said Kansas has a good outlook for 2022.

“We’re looking to get through this year and make it as successful as possible,” he said. “What we will do in the future, I don’t know. But what I do know is that there is a future. There are no plans to retire and end this.

Goes: Kansas, 8 p.m. Feb. 25, Count Basie Center for the Arts, 99 Monmouth St., Red Bank, $49 to $125, 732-842-9000 or thebasie.org; 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, American Music Theater, 2425 Lincoln Highway East, Lancaster, PA, $59-$99, 800-648-4102 or https://amtshows.com/; and 7:30 p.m. March 11, Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St., Morristown, $49 to $129, 973-539-8008 or mayoarts.org

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