|Guitarist Steve Howe, singer-bassist John Wetton and drummer Carl Palmer.|
|Geoff Downes on keyboards and backing vocals.|
Many veteran performers who resume careers after extended hiatuses find audiences only want to hear classic hits. The audience that filled the Coach House, however, cheered throughout the 110-minute concert, quick to welcome recent material like the stirring “An Extraordinary Life” (off 2008′s Phoenix) and the fiery “Holy War” (from 2010′s Omega).
Early set highlights included “Wildest Dreams,” featuring Palmer’s astounding drumming, and “Tomorrow the World,” an XXX standout that boasts a straightforward rock feel in the verses but unfurls into an instrumental bridge that had Howe and Downes blending their instruments in a sonic dance as the song soared.
Almost every piece showcased skills from a member or two, but there wasn’t the kind of excessive soloing that can bore. “Cutting It Fine,” boasting a neoclassical symphonic section and an extended Howe spotlight, fused together perfectly. A rousing version of “Sole Survivor” outdistanced the original studio recording, with Wetton nailing his distinctive high notes in the choruses and the audience’s well-timed clapping in the bridge bringing an arena-like energy to the intimate club setting.
A lengthier version of “Heat of the Moment” closed the show, with the audience singing along and the band commanding their instruments with superhero-like craft.
|Steve Howe played several instrumental works.|
“You’ve been a fantastic audience,” a visibly thrilled Wetton said during a brief breakdown in the midst of the final number. “We love playing here and we’ll see you soon.”
Set list: Asia at the Coach House, San Juan Capistrano, Nov. 12, 2012
Main set: Only Time Will Tell / Wildest Dreams / Face on the Bridge / Time Again / Tomorrow the World / Ride Easy / Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons (Steve Howe solo) / In the Course of the Day (Howe solo) / I Know How You Feel / Don’t Cry / The Smile Has Left Your Eyes / Cutting It Fine / Holy War / (Carl Palmer drum solo) / An Extraordinary Life / Here Comes the Feeling / Open Your Eyes
Encore: Sole Survivor / Heat of the Moment