Jackson, NJ — The original members of ASIA are on tour with Yes:
Steve Howe – Guitars, Madolin, Pedal Slide, Vocals
John Wetton – Bass, Vocals, Guitars
Carl Palmer – Drums
Geoff Downes.- Keyboards, Vocals
The show started with two songs from the first self-titled album Asia “Wildest Dreams” (Downes, Wetton) followed by “Only Time Will Tell” (Downes, Wetton). The sound was sharp. This might have had something to do with Geoff Downes abilities as a producer. The third song was from 2008’s Phoenix, “An Extraordinary Life”.
Then, the show took a turn in an un-anticpated direction. John Wetton asked, “Does anyone remember MTV? I mean when MTV was MTV? Well, the first thing ever shown on MTV was Geoff Downes hands. Those hands on this song!” They then went into The Buggles’ hit “Video Killed the Radio Star”. The crowd got a real kick out of this as they danced and sang along. Next, they played a song from one of John Wetton’s former bands, King Crimson’s “Court of the Crimson King”. ["The Court of the Crimson King" (McDonald, Sinfield) including "The Return of the Fire Witch" and "The Dance of the Puppets".]
Hmmm… isn’t that kind-of like one of those six degrees of separation? Though John Wetton had played the song live with King Crimson, he wasn’t in the band when it was recorded. Greg Lake did the studio version’s bass and vocals. Of course, Greg Lake went on to play with Emerson, Lake and Palmer (ELP). Carl Palmer playing drums and John Wetton on bass and vocals was an interesting combination to consider for six degrees of separation. It would seem that six degrees from this combination would just about touch every musician you could think of… Robert Fripp, Tony Levin, Peter Gabriel, Phil Collins to Eric Clapton.
The concert went back to Asia, again, with two songs from their second album Alpha. “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” featured Steve Howe on a pedal slide guitar followed by Steve playing mandolin on “Don’t Cry”.
Next, it was Carl Palmer’s turn to be featured on a song ELP brought back to life on their 1977 album Works Volume II. Fanfare for the Common Man was originally written in 1942 by a 20th-century American classical composer, Aaron Copland. Asia had all the musicianship to pull it off. Though some of these guys have been playing live since the 60’s, they still had plenty of umph. Carl Palmer looked as fit as a 20-year-old athlete and played the drums in the same manner. He has to be one of the best drummers of all times. To see him play is like watching a fine artist create a sculpture, but instead of stone he sculpts in rock rhythms. The drum solo was a breath taking spectacle.
They concluded the show with two more songs from the debut album “Sole Survivor” (Downes, Wetton) and “Heat of the Moment” (Downes, Wetton). The journey from radio-friendly AOR pop-rock, MTV, new wave, progressive rock, jazz to classical came to an end.
Asia Photo Gallery
Also played in:
Steve Howe – Yes, The Syndicats, Bodast, Tomorrow, Anerson, Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe and GTR
John Wetton – Mogul Thrash, Family, King Crimson (with childhood friend Robert Fripp), Roxy Music/Bryan Ferry band, Uriah Heep, UK and Wishbone Ash
Carl Palmer – Crazy World of Arthur Brown, Atomic Rooster, Emerson, Lake & Palmer
Geoff Downes.- Yes and The Buggles
[*note: UK is a great band to check-out if you have never heard of them.]