Somehow the Joe Perry Project ended up on the same bill as Kansas Saturday night at Merriweather Post Pavilion. A strange combination, this.
Perry comes across as your typical rock 'n' roll Hun. Wearing leather pants and with a couple of guitars strapped across his bare chest, the guitarist did everything in his power to blast the amphitheater off the ground, but to no avail. The response to his unrelenting volume and theatrics was polite at best; and when Perry, in one final attempt to get a rise out of the crowd, trashed the guitar and amplifier, the show short-circuited along with a good deal of equipment on the stage.
Then came Kansas, a band about as menacing as a Lacoste alligator. Its collective attire included jogging shorts, sweat shirts, even a tuxedo; and its music was equally sedate by Perry's standards. Coloring its rock with semiclassical and jazz elements, the band alternated between arrangements that were refreshing and indulgent. Even so, the hits -- "Dust in the Wind," "Point of No Return" and "Got to Rock On," among others -- as well as the band's amiable, energetic showmanship -- had virtually everyone in the crowd roaring their approval from start to finish. After the Perry exhibition, perhaps they felt it was the least they could do.