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Asia - Ensŏ' Kai (Live in Tokyo 1983) CD (album) cover




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3.13 | 12 ratings

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3 stars A rare album of the short-lived Asia line-up featuring Greg Lake.

"Ensŏ' Kai" is a pared-down version of the 1983 MTV concert for Japanese television, the same show used for the "Asia In Asia" video, though a little shorter with the opener from the video ('Time Again') missing from the play list . and over 20 minutes missing from the original concert.

This is a unique musical document as "Ensŏ' Kai" is the only official album release featuring Greg Lake on vocals after replacing the ousted John Wetton. (I suppose it is a British prog thing: Wetton replaces Lake in King Crimson; Lake replaces Wetton in Asia, albeit for a very short time.)

As for this concert: the band is in fine form; Greg Lake picked up in a short time and delivered a reasonably solid vocal performance in Wetton's absence, though he may be missing a little passion for work that is not his own; Steve Howe's solo 'Sketches In The Sunset' is a great early version of this track (that would later appear on GTR's eponymous album in 1986); there is an interesting untitled keyboard solo by Geoff Downes; and there is Carl Palmer's fantastic solo in 'Wildest Dreams'.

So, what lets this album down? The 20 minutes of music missing from the original concert that could have been included; the absence of 'Time Again', which featured on the "Asia In Asia" video; and some poor editing of the references to MTV and Westwood One in the between-song dialogue.

All that said, "Ensŏ' Kai" is a fairly sound piece of work that would be a good find for any Asia fan, and a fair addition to any 'pop-prog' collection - even if only for the presence of Greg Lake in this Asia line-up. 3 stars from me.

T.Rox | 3/5 |


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