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Asia - Fantasia - Live in Tokyo CD (album) cover




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3.63 | 52 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I bought this album this afternoon, and now I am listening to it for the second time. I bought it at a very good price in one of "the richest man of the world`s" record shops at a good price of approximately $17 U.S. Dollars.Yes, he is now the richest man of the world (above Bill Gates!), and I say that it is a good price because his record shops (which now includes his former competition record shops which he also bought recently!) have the tendency to sell most CDs and DVDs at a very expensive price (in some cases a two CD set at $30 U.S. Dollars or more!). I have to recognize that these record shops still have the best CDs and DVDs of Prog Rock here.

But enough of free publicity for this man.

This album is a "Nostalgical Trip" for me to 1982-1983. For me, the very criticized and underrated ASIA was and is a very good band. I`m talking about the original line-up, of course: Downes, Howe, Palmer, Wetton. I have their "Live in Moscow" album, and of course, without Howe this band was very different and with guitarists who never could replace Howe. Howe`s guitar arrangements and playing are very "Entangled" with the music of the original ASIA. So, I think that all the previous live albums which were recorded without him or even without Wetton and Palmer are now easily forgotten with this very good live album recorded in Tokyo this year. Two years ago I was glad to see in those same record shops some live CDs recorded by the band and released by Voiceprint, sold here at the spectacular pirce of $33 U.S. Dollars! I was so glad that I added them to the Prog Archives database, only reading later some reviews in this website and in others saying that the quality of the recordings were not good, and I also listened to some samples in a very known record shop website, and yes, it seemed that the recordings were not good, so I never bought them (and for that price, less!). But now, at last, here it is, a good quality live album from ASIA with their original and best line- up, sold at a very good price: a two CD set at the price of one CD!

I couldn`t attend their concert here which they played in March or April of this year, but this album is a good concert from the tour, showing the band in good shape:

Geoffrey Downes:his keyboards are good, the same as his backing vocals. Steve Howe sounds very good, and his playing is almost as good as in their first album. Carl Palmer still plays with a lot of energy and technique. His drums sometimes sound like "thunder", particularly his bass drum, maybe because of the mixing. John Wetton still has a very good voice, but sometimes he forces it a bit, but he still is a very good lead singer and bassist. The only thing that is sometimes weak are the backing vocals, which maybe were mixed lower.Also, sometimes Howe`s guitar is very low in the mixing.

The songs:

Most of the songs are played very well, particularly "Sole Survivor", "Time Again" and "Here Comes the Feeling" . Unfortunately, some of the songs from their "Alpha" album were played in acoustic guitar versions, which are very good new arrangements, but I could prefer "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" and "Don`t Cry" played as they did in the album. "Ride Easy" is a new song for me, because I never have listened to the studio version, and it also a very good song, but again played ith a new acoustic arrangment.

Now, about the covers:

-"Roundabout"(YES): it sounds good, but Wetton sounds a bit forced in his vocals. Palmer plays the song mostly in Bruford`s style, and Downes plays a very good organ solo. Why they didn`t choose to play "Machine Messiah", for example, having in the band two former members of the YES`"Drama" album line-up?

-"Fanfare of the Common Man"(ELP): a very good arrangement, with Palmer shining in his playing, and good solos by Howe and Downes.

-"In the Court of the Crimson King"(King Crimson): a very good short version, with all the members playing very well, particularly Howe and Downes.

-"Video Killed the Radio Star"(The Buggles): obviously the most commecial song in this album, played very well and in a funny way. A very Pop song from 1979-80.

All the members of the band have their "spotlight moments" in some songs. Howe`s solo acoustic guitar piece (thanks for not playing again "Mood for a Day" or "Clap"!) called "Intersection Blues" is very good. Downes plays his solo part in "Cutting It Fine" in a very similar way as he did in their first album. Palmer`s drums solo in "The Heat Goes On" is amazing, and Wetton`s vocals and acoustic guitar in "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" are very good too.

In conclusion: if you like the first two studio albums of the band this is a very good and enjoyable live album from ASIA. I`m waiting for the release date of their concert DVD, which it seems it is going to be released at the end of this year.

I know that John Wetton has some health problems. Best wishes and a quick recovery for him.

Guillermo | 4/5 |


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