By Chad Hobbs

The thousands of fans that packed Columbus' Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fair on Thursday were treated to a two act concert that was sure to be nostalgic for the older fans and exciting for younger fans that maybe had never seen Kansas or Boston live before. Twenty eight songs were played between the two classic rock giants which was well worth the $30 ticket price.

Kansas kicked off the evening and quickly played through their nine song set. I had never seen them before and wasn't real familiar with their non-hit songs. Their live performance, however, was impressive. The crowd reacted well to them, especially during hit songs Dust in the Wind and Carry on Wayward Son. After their performance on Thursday I would definitely see them again in a headliner role.

The main event, Boston, lived up to their top of the bill standing. This was the second time I have seen them. Just as they did nine years ago, Boston played a lengthy set list full of the hits and several obscure, deeper cuts. There were a some new faces on the stage since the last time they played Columbus in 2003. Lead everything and founder of the band Tom Scholz was joined on stage by long time guitarist Gary Pihl and drummer Curly Smith. New singer (as of 2008) Tommy DeCarlo, new guitarist David Victor, and bass player Tracy Ferrie (read my interview with him here) rounded out the 2012 edition of the band.

The six piece blistered through nineteen songs that included six from their self titled debut album from 1976. 1978's Don't Look Back album was represented four times. Rather surprisingly, seven songs from 1986's Third Stage made the cut while two songs from 1994's Walk On album rounded out the set. Corporate America, released in 2002, was the only Boston record to not be featured during the concert.

Studio recordings of Boston music are great enough in their own right, but seeing them in a live setting, really makes one appreciate what they are witnessing. The sheer musicianship that comes together during their many extended instrumental pieces should make any real music fan bow in Wayne's World fashion saying "We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"

The highlight of the night, while there were several, would be Foreplay/Long Time. When the extended instrumental of Foreplay came into the thumping intro to Long Time; that was the moment where the audience erupted into a frenzy. The only disappointment was the omission of Hitch a Ride from the set list, however, with albums and albums worth of material to choose from it is certainly understandable. Although the band has sold a bajillion records during their career (31 million actually) they once again proved why they are the most underrated live act that I have seen.

Kansas set list

Magnum Opus
Point of Know Return
Hold On
Dust in the Wind
Miracles Out of Nowhere
Icarus (Borne on Wings of Steel)
Fight Fire With Fire
Carry on Wayward Son

Boston set list

Rock & Roll Band
Feelin' Satisfied
Peace of Mind
Cool the Engines
Surrender To Me
Don't Look Back
Something About You
We're Ready
The Launch
More Than a Feeling
My Destination
A New World
To Be a Man
Walk On
Foreplay/Long Time

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