Wednesday, September 27, 2006

ASIA (late, late - I know....)

I've been busy. Very busy.
So sorry, but just today I want to update you on the most recent show I caught - has it really been a full week already? I was lucky enough to catch a reunion of ASIA on Wednesday night, Sept. 20. It was my first time ever to hit the Vault 350 in Long Beach (Warning, get there late like I did and be prepared to stand).

I am old enough to have caught ASIA when they played in Long Beach (I don't recall where now; it has been 23 years or something) after the release of the band's self-titled 1982 debut. I can tell you while guitarist Steve Howe (of Yes fame), keyboardist Geoff Downes (the Buggles, Yes), singer-bassist John Wetton (King Crimson) and drummer Carl Palmer (Emerson Lake & Palmer) were great that night eons ago, they were magical on the last night of summer '06.

Performing all of the great songs from "Asia" and the sophomore effort "Alpha" with fire would have made the show memorable. But throwing in seminal tracks from their various other projects added to the power of the night.

While "Heat of the Moment" is the song best known to casual listeners and was a great way to cap the night, several of the other songs were delivered showcased the many strengths of the fifty- and sixty-something players. "Sole Survivor" has remained one of the best recordings from the 1980s and its power was increased in the live setting. The complicated arrangements of that song and others worked well, with the melodic hooks and emotive vocals of Wetton clearly hitting their marks. Other highlights of the winning night included "Don't Cry," a sparse "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes," "Only Time Will Tell" and "Roundabout." And the night's most unlikely moment came when the foursome performed a lively "Video Killed the Radio Star" (the first song/video ever aired on MTV).

And while the majority of citics continue to dismiss prog rock, I have to be honest. Far more than a guilty pleasure, songs such as "Cutting It Fine" and "Here Comes the Feeling" just flat out rocked.

No comments: