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Asia - Fantasia - Live In Tokyo (DVD) CD (album) cover




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3.70 | 38 ratings

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4 stars Well, at last I bought this DVD this week, and I think that it was a good buy for me.

For years many people waited to see a concert video of the original line-up of ASIA, which in my opinion, it is the only real line-up and the best from this band. I consider the nineties line-ups of the band as a way that Geoff Downes found to maintain his musical career. Even the 1990 Tour that Downes, Palmer and Wetton did without Steve Howe showed that the original quartet was the best. Even John Wetton recognizes this in the Interviews which this DVD has as a Bonus Feature. In his opinion he says that the other line-ups without the four original members really didn`t work.

This DVD has very good quality in video and audio. Filmed in Tokyo in March 8, 2007, at the same concert from which the CD of the same name was recorded. But the audio of the DVD is better than the audio of the CD, I think. I could hear some mixing diferences, but maybe I could be wrong.

Other differences between the CD version and this DVD version are the inclusion of several song introductions which were cut from the CD. So, every member of the band had the chance to introduce songs and the other members of the band.

It is a very enjoyable concert, showing that these musicians still play very well. Despite that there are not very much visual interactions between the members of the band and that sometimes they look like they are simply doing their jobs, the performanes of the songs are very good anyway. In comparison to the DVDs of recent tours of the band YES that I have seen, in this concert Steve Howe uses almost only one electric guitar during the concert. With YES, he changes guitars in the same songs and between songs. In this case, he uses one electric guitar, another electric guitar which sounds like an acoustic guitar (!), one acoustic guitar during his "Intersection Blues" solo, a slide guitar (a dobro?) during "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" and an electric mandolin during "Don`t Cry". Geoffrey Downes plays a lot of keyboards, and he also uses an Apple computer on which he maybe controls the sounds of his keyboards. One of his keyboards has a sound maybe sampled from a Mellotron and another keyboard sounds like a Vocoder while he sings some backing vocals. Carl Palmer`s drum kit is simpler in structure as in the past, but it sounds very good. His "drums and cymbals" solo is very good, with him even playing the cymbals with different techniques to make them sound different. He is a showman really duing this solo, throwing the drumsticks to the air without losing the rhythm! John Wetton also only uses one bass guitar, and he also plays some bass pedals parts to reinforce the bass sounds in some songs. He also plays an acoustic guitar in three songs, and a "lead bass part" during "Fanfare for the Common Man".. The stage and lights designs are simple, really, with three screens in the back of the stage on which some images are shown. I think that in comparison to oher bands, ASIA is more interested in the musical aspect more than in the visual aspect during the concerts. I also could see that they really used some backing tapes to reinforce the backing vocals, because in some songs only Downes is singing the backing vocals and they sound more than being sung by only one voice! Anyway, a lot of bands have done this since a long time ago.

The most interesting performanes in this DVD, are, in my opinion: "Time Again", "Cutting It Fine" (I don`t know if Downes also used backing tapes during his keyboards solo in the final part of this song or if he had the sounds of the othe keyboards programmed to sound at the same time he played the piano part), "Here Comes the Feeling" (my favourite song from their first album, with very good guitar riffs by Howe), "Sole Survivor" (a very good heavy version with very good guitar parts and sounds by Howe) and "Ride Easy" (a very good song which was previously released as the B- side of the Heat of the Moment single in 1982, here played in an acoustic version). Like GENESIS`"Evidence of Autumn", "Ride Easy" is for me one of the very good songs which were originally relegated to B-sides of singles by some bands.

Wetton`s voice is still very good, and sometimes he sings very high notes without showing in his face to be doing a very hard effort to sing them. Howe plays all the songs very well, with little variations as he played in the albums. Downes also plays very well, and he also looks a bit like Chris Squire sometimes! He also uses a Keytor keyboard to play the final parts of "Heat of the Moment" and he interacts a bit with Howe and Wetton.

The Interviews are interesting, too. They tell the story of how the band was formed by Wetton and with the aid of A&R man John Kalodner, famous for being behind the scenes of several successful bands like JOURNEY, FOREIGNER and others. Each member tells how they joined the band: Wetton and Howe started the band, Palmer was the third member to join, and Downes the last to join.

I couldn`t attend the concert they played in my city six days after this concert was recorded. So, for me this is a very good chance to see them playing live.

Guillermo | 4/5 |


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