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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 I bought this DVD recently on a whim, my trusted "spider" senses whispering oh so gently to my credit card "Buy it, buy it" and like a metronome, I went to the cash register and paid obediently for it. I am not a big fan of Asia (having purchased the first 2 albums when they came out mainly because it was the flavor of the month and we were all hoping for some prog royalty back then). So why am I writing this? Well it turns out that while I am not gaga over Asia's music itself, I must guiltily admit that observing these amazing and legendary musicians was a whole new ball game and elicited some goose bumpy emotions. Think of it, it's the exact polar opposite of Blackfield, whose two albums are brilliant but the Live in NYC DVD, which I reviewed, just felt like chalk screeching up a black board, what with Aviv Geffen visually not being a pretty sight (sic!). Our genial Gatot has already explored the cut by cut critique of this live in Asia concert, so I will dwell on the generalities instead of the specifics and mostly the unexpected surprises. It's a great DVD, full of obvious passion from the totally genuine artists, all of whom exhibit childlike glee at the whole event (not what I expected from these potentially jaded rock stars). The Japanese, as I have stated recently in another review, are the most undisciplined/disciplined audiences who will ever encounter, one minute effusively polite and then, outright hysterical!!! Here, the reverence is palpable immediately and the response is effervescent. Steve Howe looks like a mad professor (in the 70s, he appeared like a mad student!) with impish grins & toothy grins, obviously having a blast. John Wetton has put on some weight but that rarely affects the voice which is in fine form, yet the glee is apparent from the get go. Geoff Downes does look like Chris Squire's brother and while a bit more reserved than the other three , he clearly enjoys being on stage with the guys. The biggest kid and the most visually appealing is Carl Palmer, who is fit as a whistle (between drums and martial arts, what do you expect?) and who, I must most humbly admit, just blew me away. I guess seeing is believing. The man is a monster drummer but also most amazing to watch, just like his equally famous co-percussor Bungalow Bill Bruford (those who have ever seen him live know exactly what I mean=eye candy). Palmer's drum solo verged on the ridiculous, highly technical but the sheer fun oozing from his being is just priceless. Since the Asia material on record is a tad syrupy, the inclusion of "Roudabout" (hey Gatot, Wetton's vocal is pretty good!), the superbly introduced by Palmer as a contemporary music classic "In the Court of the Crimson King" and the stunning ultra-prog moment of "Fanfare for the Common Man", that's worth every penny of the measly $15.00 dollars I spent. Yummy! I will also confess that, under the circumstances (and in that Tokyo environment) "Video killed the Radio Star" was delicious entertainment. A megaphone, really! The interviews are surprisingly heartfelt and genuine, this reunion was perceptibly not motivated by money (they are all loaded anyway) but by legacy. That is a most honorable tradition that deserves our applause. Again, much to my astonishment, I really enjoyed this visual document, proving once again that in the magical world of progressive (in all its diverse forms), you never know what your gonna get. Just like a box a chocolates. 4 eastern stars
tszirmay | 4/5 |


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