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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 An excellent concert by classic line-up!

Having enjoyed the audio recording and now it's time for me to watch the audio-visual performance of the band. As I have admired the audio record, I expected something great from this DVD and I got it right because this DVD has satisfied my expectations. In fact, I'd rather watch this DVD than enjoying the audio record because now I can see how grand pas play rock music on stage. Well, this is in fact my first chance to see the whole line-up on stage. The laser disc of "Asia In Asia" which was great also did not feature John Wetton and was replaced by Greg Lake (ELP). So, John Wetton is right when he said to the audience right after "Wildest Dream" that this is the band's performance at the first time with this line-up.

As I previously said, Asia was never intended as a progressive band at its first inception. It was actually created as a project outside the legendary bands players: Steve Howe (guitar) of Yes, John Wetton (bass, vocals) of King Crimson, Carl Palmer of Emerson Lake & Palmer and Geofrey Downs of Yes. The result was a debut self-titled album in hard rock vein that I personally like it.

Just before the show, a classical music was played as background. The cameras shoot the audience which most of them are at minimum in their 40s age and above, using corporate suit and all of them are well seated with some front row seats are empty. The playback also features when the members of the band appear on stage waving to the audience.

This live album starts the appearance of the band at the concert with the nice song from debut album "Time Again". The audience stand up during this opening of the show. The opening (intro) part of this track is very memorable for me. It was quite surprise for me when I heard this song at the first time because I could not imagine that Steve Howe had ever played such guitar riffs in this intro. Carl Palmer drum works have been tailored in such a way that suits this song. It's quite uplifting that this song is put as opening for the show.

"Wlidest Dreams" is also taken from the debut album with some sort of symphonic touch through the work of Geoffrey Downes keyboard. Carl Palmer drums make the song sound like a prog one. The intro part is really wonderful. This is one of the songs that I like from Asia. "One Step Closer" is a straight pop rock song and it is performed excellently by the band. During the communication with the crowd, Wetton mention that this is the first show from the original members of the band for "the first time". As far as band concern they already played in Budokan with "Asia in Asia" - but Wetton was replaced temporarily by Greg Lake for bass and vocal. I owned the laser disc of this show.

Right after the completion of "One Step Closer" Carl Palmer made himself upfront of the stage and taking a microphone introducing that the band is going to play "Roundabout". "Roundabout" started with the intro using acoustic guitar work like the original version in Yes "Fragile". But when the vocal enters the music, it' quite clear that Wetton does not suit the requirements for this song in terms of vocal. So, overall, I don't think that this is a good cover of Yes, and in fact it's a bit disappointing. But watching this DVD is different than the audio CD because I can see the live vibes, especially the positive responses from the crowd. Right after "Roundabout" Steve Howe made some conversation with the crowd introducing the song that he and John wrote the next song. "Without You" from Asia debut album is a good one performed here and it seems that John enjoying with his singing here. I am touched with this beautiful song. It is followed by "Cutting It Fine". Right after "Cutting It Fine", Geoff Downes introduced Steve Howe to play "Guitar solo" acoustically. Steve Howe rules!

"Fanfare For The Common Man" from ELP is performed nicely, especially the keyboard part by Geoff and powerful drum works by Carl Palmer. Keith Emerson in opening act of Led Zeppelin Reunion concert also played this tune with Chris Squire, Alan White. This "Fantasia" version augmented by guitar fills by Howe nicely. The addition of guitar makes this song much more interesting. In fact the guitar sounds amaze me because I have never heard Howe guitar work like this one. So, this cover of ELP is much better than the original version. "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" is also a nice track played excellently with good piano work and acoustic guitar work accompanying vocal.

"Don't Cry" demonstrates wonderful combination of guitar by Howe and keyboard by Geoff. It's symphonic at the intro part and it moves as straight rock music in unplugged version. Acoustic guitar and piano serve as main rhythm section. It's cool. The band also plays King Crimson's debut album "In The Court of The Crimson King" with good vocal line of Wetton and wonderful guitar work by Howe as well as mellotron drenched background. The band then returns to their own creation "Here Comes The Feeling" energetically. The piano work is really good during the passage of this song.

"The Heat Goes On" has a great opening part in which the music is symphonic followed by Howe guitar solo just before Wetton enters his first lyrical verse. The structure of the song is good and interesting and it moves the music smoothly in good upbeat mode. I can see that the band performs this song as good as when they still united at the first time the debut was released. The keyboard solo demonstrated in this song is really stunning with its melodic and catchy notes, soaring from start to end with organ style. Howe's guitar solo during vocal line is also nice. At minute 4:37 Carl Palmer enters with his jaw dropping drum work. It's so powerful. Carl still rock! In fact, this is probably the best track from this live album because it has a very energetic nuance from start to end.

"Only Time Will Tell" starts eloquently with its soaring keyboard sounds that remind us to the symphonic music followed with a break that lets vocal to enter the music. It's really cool opening. In fact, the beats and melody of this song are very good that make this song is enjoyable. The music is heating up with the next track "Sole Survivor" which has great opening nuance in uplifting mode. "Ride Easy" is a mellow track with catchy piano and wonderful acoustic guitar accompanying transparent voices of John Wetton. It's so catchy and making this song a pleasant experience to listen to. The vocal characteristics of John Wetton fit with this song. It's really excellent. The live album concludes with "Heat of The Moment" which was the band's one of major hits from their debut album.


Overall, I can only summarize from a subjective point of view that this live album has really pleased me. I do enjoy spinning this DVD from start to end. I enjoy it very much because Asia debut album means a lot to me in terms of my quest of rock music when I was in undergraduate study in Bandung, west Java, by the time the debut album was released. I mostly enjoy seeing the members of the band, individually, because each of them is legendary in the progression of rock music. Carl Plamer with his unique drumming was famous with his brilliant work in "Karn Evil 9" he performed with his friends at ELP. John Wetton who contributed in wonderful vocal and bass playing of "Easy Money" in King Crimson. Steve Howe who has been so famous with Yes. And of course Geoffrey Downes with his contribution to Yes "Drama" and further development of Asia. The band's appearance at Budokan under "Asia in Asia" title was remarkably good and provided me with good satisfaction enjoying the CD as well as laser disc. I cannot comment about this DVD for those of you who have not been familiar with songs in this album - so sorry for that. So, my rating is very personal and subjective. It's four stars ratting, for sure. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Gatot | 4/5 |


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