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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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Symphonic Team
4 stars A fanfare for these uncommon men!

Even though I have most of their albums, I have never really been a big fan of Asia. If it wasn't for the fact that I am a huge fan of Yes and to a somewhat lesser degree of ELP, UK and King Crimson, I probably never would have been interested in Asia (the same is probably true of most people on this site, I guess). But since I am a follower of the members individual careers, especially Steve Howe's, I decided to pick this DVD up, even though my expectations were not that high to start with. I was positively surprised with this DVD, it's really great!

The four original members really seem to be having a great time playing these songs together once again. And there is much more energy and excitement in this live recording than in any of their studio albums (by this line-up or otherwise).

Every song from the first album is here, and every one of them sounds better here than the original studio versions. There are also three songs from Alpha. Don't Cry is here performed in an acoustic version that I think works much better than the original version.

The set list also includes one song each from the members individual pasts. From Steve Howe's past they picked out the Yes song Roundabout. It is really interesting to hear John Wetton sing this song, and even more interesting to hear Carl Palmer's drumming and Geoff Downes' keyboards in this song. Geoff has a hard time impersonating Rick Wakeman in this song, but he does his best here and he just about gets it right. Geoff has, of course, played this song live before when he was a member of Yes in the early 80's, but I have never heard him play it before. This is probably the best-sounding recording of him playing this song, and definitely the best filmed version of it featuring Geoff.

Even if Roundabout is one of my favourite songs of all time, it would have been even more interesting if they had performed something from the Drama album, which is the only Yes album Geoff ever played on. But obviously Roundabout is more well-known.

From Carl Palmer's past they perform Fanfare For The Common Man (which was made famous by ELP, even if they didn't write it). It's really fun to hear them play this piece, and it is interesting to hear Steve play guitar in this song since there is no guitar in the original ELP version.

The King Crimson song In The Court Of The Crimson King is also performed in an attempt to represent John Wetton's past. However, this is a weird choice because Wetton didn't write this song, he wasn't even in King Crimson at the time when they wrote this song. Something from the Red album would perhaps have been more appropriate, or maybe something by UK. Still, it is a great song and it is interesting to hear Steve, Carl and Geoff perform this song.

Every member must have his fair share, so they perform The Buggles' Video Killed The Radio Star. And this time around, they perform this song with vocals and everything instead of just as an instrumental like Geoff used to do on previous Asia tours. This is the only song in the set list that doesn't really fit in. I would have preferred the instrumental piano version of this song.

Each member also gets his own little solo spot. Carl plays a drum solo in The Heat Goes On, Steve plays an acoustic little number called Intersection Blues, Geoff has a short (way too short!) solo spot at the end of Cutting It Fine and John gets the spotlight during The Smile Has Left Your Eyes and Don't Cry.

The encore consists of the hit single Heat Of The Moment and a song called Ride Easy that was the non-album b-side to that single. This is a very good ballad and it is apparently not available anywhere else than the original single. All the more reason to get this DVD!

As a bonus feature on the DVD there are also 40 minutes of interviews with the four members. They talk about how they got into music in the first place as well as how they met each other and formed Asia. Nothing new maybe, but still quite interesting to hear it in their own words.

This DVD is highly recommended for fans of Asia, Yes, ELP, UK and older King Crimson. This is not only the best Asia DVD out there (both the Classic Rock Legends DVD and the Live In Moscow DVD look completely lifeless and dull in comparison with this), it is also the best Asia product whatsoever. So, if you only want one Asia product then this is the one to have! These guys have fun here and it shows in the music.

SouthSideoftheSky | 4/5 |


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