Legendary rock group Kansas will take the stage at Cox Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon while Macon’s own Gregg Allman performs a sold-out show at the Grand Opera House on Saturday night.
More than 40 years later, Kansas’ early hits such as “Dust in the Wind” are still in heavy rotation on local classic rock radio stations.
“(Kansas is) one of those bands that everyone knows the songs and everyone sings along (to),” said Roger Riddle, marketing manager for the Moonhanger Group, which manages the theater. “Macon is a classic rock city. ... There’s still a lot of enthusiasm for music from that era.”
Arc & Stones, an up-and-coming group that formed in New York City two years ago, will open for Kansas.
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“They’re a really young band but they’re one of those young bands (in which) the guys have a strong respect for the classic rock sound and they’re big fans of it themselves,” Riddle said. “Their sound is very reminiscent of bands from that era.”
Richard Williams, the original guitarist in Kansas, spoke with The Telegraph about the upcoming show in Macon.
Q: Have you ever played in Macon before?
A: “Sure ... probably over 10 years (ago) in an auditorium-like place. The catering came from (H&H Restaurant) and it was awesome. We recorded there, too. We did (the ‘Monolith’ album) there in Macon. That was back in the early ’80s I guess.”
Q: Do you have any connection with Macon’s musical roots?
A: “I was playing in a band called White Clover, which turned into Kansas eventually. Three of the Kansas members were in the band (including) Dave Hope, me and Phil Ehart on drums. We played in New Orleans in ’69 and ’70, we lived down there, and I saw the Allman Brothers play at The Warehouse right as their first album came out. So, I’d never heard of them before so (I was) like, ‘What’s this? The Allman Brothers?’ It kind of sounded kind of corny. I will never forget the moment when they came out. From the first note, I was a fan.”
Q: Do you know that Gregg Allman will be playing a couple of blocks away from you on the same night?
A: “No, I had no idea. Wow! Hopefully we’ll have somebody there (to hear Kansas perform). I’d go see Gregg if I had the opportunity.”
Q: Why do you think it is that Kansas has been able to maintain such a huge and loyal fan-base over the years?
A: “We were fortunate to have some songs that really stood the test of time. That definitely helps. We’ve also been a really good live band and that’s kind of been our bread and butter. ... Like the Allman Brothers always were, we are a band. We are not an act, we’re not a combo, we’re not artists. We’re a blue collar band that likes to work and that’s really what we enjoy the most about all of this is the travel, the camaraderie and the performing. That’s where the fun lies for someone who loves to play their instrument.”
Q: Speaking of capturing the essence of y’all, what can you tell me about the “Miracles Out of Nowhere” documentary about the band that’s coming out later this year?
A: “That talks about the beginning of the band up through the ‘Point of No Return’ album. Really, it’s our story at that time. The original six guys and coming out of nowhere. Topeka, Kansas, was not a musical Mecca. (We were) against all odds, climbing to the top of a mountain and that’s really what the story is. ... We really wanted to capture that time in this documentary. I’m very happy with the outcome.
Q: What can people expect for this concert?
A: “We’ve been around a long time. This is what we love to do and it comes off live. So, you know, we’re going to kick butt. It’s what we do. I love live music. You can sit there and listen to records and that’s one thing, but (our music) has an organic overwhelming power live that makes goose bumps.”
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 10
Where: Cox Capitol Theatre, 382 Second St.
When: Saturday, Jan. 10. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets: $45 in advance, $50 the day of the show
Information: www.coxcapitoltheatre.com; 877-987-6487