Flashback: Kansas' Robby Steinhardt Wows the Crowd With 'Dust in the Wind' Violin Solo
The official video for Kansas’ “Dust in the Wind” is typical of many music videos from the late Seventies: There’s an endless amount of hair, a few questionably ruffled tuxedo shirts, and some more hair. In the same way that Journey’s 1978 video for “Lights” humorously featured light literally beaming out of the band members’ extravagant outfits, the Kansas clip uses a fog machine to dramatically represent all that dust in the wind.
But this is a song about living in the moment — so why not check out a great live performance of “Dust in the Wind” instead? This one comes from the 1978 Canada Jam festival in Bowmanville, Ontario, where Kansas performed on a bill that also included the Doobie Brothers, Commodores, Village People, Dave Mason, and others. The absence of cheesy effects allows the greatness of the song to shine through, as a sweaty, shirtless Steve Walsh tears through the vocals in incredible track shorts and tube socks.
But the highlight of the performance is undoubtedly Robby Steinhardt, the band’s violinist and co-lead vocalist, who died last week at the age of 71. He performs a melancholic solo, swaying back and forth as his wild mane stays perfectly in place. Steinhardt, who left the band in 1982 and rejoined for a second stint in 1997, thrived playing the classic rock staple — he really knew how to live in the present.
“‘Dust’ is a pleasure to play because the crowds get off on it so much,” he told Music Magazine in 1982. “It helps me a whole lot in my performance. I need feedback from the crowd for me to perform to the best of my ability.” Bandmate Kerry Livgren added in 1992: “Robby was the link between the band on the stage and the audience.”
Steinhardt died on July 17th from acute pancreatitis and sepsis. His wife, Cindy Steinhardt, confirmed he was working on his solo debut at the time of his death. Hopefully, the album will see a posthumous release.
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