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Today’s Blimp Time-Hop

35 years ago today, Kansas returned to Portland with a new lead singer. When they made their first appearance at the Civic Center in December of 1977, the show was a sellout. Kansas was one of the biggest bands in Blimpville with their masterpiece album, Leftoverture getting mighty significant airplay at the WBLM Trailer in Litchfield. They came back and sold-out in Portland again in November of 1980. Soon after that show, creative differences began to set in. Lead singer, Steve Walsh left in 1981 and guitarist Kerry Livgren had become a born-again Christian sticking around for only two more albums. Steve Walsh was replaced by John Elefante. The first Kansas album with the new lead singer was Vinyl Confessions and the band came back to Portland in support of it on August 8,1982. This one was not a sellout and was the last time Kansas played the CCCC as a headliner. They returned in December of ’83, opening for Heart.

It would be 17 years until Kansas rocked Portland again. The played the State Theatre with Steve Walsh back on lead vocals.

Steve Walsh retired in 2014. Kansas now tours with lead singer Ronnie Platt and remaining original members drummer Phil Ehart and guitarist Rich Williams. They were just here less than two weeks ago at the State. Their latest album is The Prelude Implicit staying true to the classic sound of this great American band.


Here’s Kansas with John Elefante on vocals filling the mighty big shoes of Steve Walsh one month before the 1982 Civic Center show.

Alrighty, now we gotta see the original line-up bustin’ out Carry On Wayward Son live! Them tiny gym shorts and tube socks are a site to behold!

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