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Asia - Asia In Asia (VHS) CD (album) cover




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4.16 | 23 ratings

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4 stars Well. I added this video to the Progarchives database 6-7 years ago and finally today I watched to this concert in youtube! I knew about this concert because I read about it in a Mexican newspaper in late 1983. I knew then that John Wetton was replaced by Greg Lake in Asia. But it was until later in the eighties when I saw some Laser Disc copies being sold in the record stores. I never bought it. Much later in the web I learned that this video was also released in the Betamax and VHS formats. I think that this video is now out of print in any home video format, so youtube is a good source to find it and to watch to it. The history about this concert now is easier to know, thanks to the web too. John Wetton was fired or he left the band. He has said in recent years that he had a drinking problem then. But I don't know the real history behind his leaving. Some information sources said that it was because the 'Alpha' album wasn't as successful as their first album and that by that reason he was fired by the management and the record company. Other sources say that there were personal problems between the members of the band due to external pressures to have more success with 'Alpha'. Others say that John Wetton and Steve Howe had some personal conflicts. Anyway, Greg Lake says in his personal website that he was called by Carl Palmer some weeks before the Japanese tour dates of December 1983, saying that Wetton had left the band and they were without a lead singer and bassist, and asking Lake 'as a favour' to join the band because they were under pressure because they had these tour dates (4 or 5), one of which included a MTV live broadcast. Before agreeing to join the band, Lake called Wetton (who is his friend) to ask him what he thought about him replacing Wetton. Wetton said to Lake that it was fine with him, and that Lake could join the band without any problem. So, Lake joined the band for these Japanese tour dates, being very nervous and having a very short time for rehearsals. Lake says that he was paid a very good quantity of money, but anyway he was very nervous to do it, but he did it anyway. After knowing these details about this late 1983 Japanese tour dates, I can say that Lake did a very professional job replacing Wetton. His voice is not as high in tones as Wetton's (and it sounds to me that some songs were played in lower tones to adjust them to Lake's voice) but he sounds well. He even learned the bass guitar parts well and he even used some bass pedals in some songs as Wetton did. He looks a bit nervous as the other members of the band too, particularly Geoff Downes, but the band played very well, even if in some parts of some songs they sound a bit like being played without enough rehearsals. Maybe with the passing of time they could have improved in sound as a band, but they played a very good concert anyway. These four musicians (Downes, Howe, Lake and Palmer) are very good musicians, and they played all the songs with a lot of energy and professional attitude. So, even if Wetton is not present, the band sounds very well. The end of Lake's involvement with Asia came in early 1984. He says that the band's musical style wasn't very much for his musical personal taste, but that it was a good experience to be with them for this very short time. He knew that he was more a hired hand for the band and that there never were formal plans for him joining the band as a full time member. So after this short Japanese tour, Wetton rejoined the band, and they started to compose songs for their third album (which later became 'Astra', released in late 1985 and recorded without Howe), and they started rehearsing them, but Howe said that 'out of the blue Wetton said that he couldn't play with me in the band anymore, so I left'. I think that due to the management and record company problems and their personal conflicts, Asia lost a very good opportunity to gain more recognition with this MTV 'Asia in Asia' concert, which now is more remembered as a 'rarity' on which Lake replaced Wetton. Maybe with Wetton this 'Asia in Asia' concert could have helped them to re-establish themselves in the public mind and to have more success in the future. Unfortunately, it wasn't the case, and the original line-up up the band had to wait until 2006-2007 to play and record more albums together again, apparently finally leaving their personal conflicts behind.
Guillermo | 4/5 |


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