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Asia stages Phoenix in concert
Original quartet launches a very strong reunion album tour

by Timothy Tilghman

Asia entertained loyal fans in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, at the Sunoco Performance Theater on Monday, April 7, 2008. For the record, Asia had appeared on City Island when the band was new all the way back in 1982. Now enjoying a renaissance celebrating their 25th Anniversary, Asia has embarked on a new tour to promote their studio album reunion on Phoenix.

Founding members keyboardist Geoff Downes, guitarist Steve Howe, drummer Carl Palmer and bassist John Wetton reunited in 2006 to recognize the band's milestone anniversary. The success of those early dates encouraged the quartet to continue touring. Subsequently, Asia released a double live album Fantasia: Live In Tokyo in 2007.

After tweaking the sound knobs during the earlier portion of the performance, Asia sounded tight and Wetton's confident vocals carried the majority of the concert. Asia reached deep into its catalogue to include some of its rare songs recorded and released as B-sides or as cassette bonus tracks. "Easy Ride" was certainly one of the highlights of their diverse setlist.

The original four members of Asia interjected minimal material from their past associations with alternate bands. Of these selections, "Roundabout' (Yes), "Court Of The Crimson King" (King Crimson), and "Video Killed The Radio Star" (The Buggles) were the outstanding solo contributions. Downes was particularly entertaining during the amusing VKTRS.

Tom Stank thought Asia's performance was, "Amazing. It was everything I anticipated and more." Stank enjoyed the new material and bought their new album Phoenix. His favorite song was " The Heat Goes On" (with drum solo). "Carl Palmer is a musical genius", he commented.

Stank, 26 from Harrisburg, had never seen Asia before. " I liked Asia", he stated. "They didn't change their ways despite it being 25 years later. You can tell they still care about the music they produce." Stank was born just as Asia began its career a quarter century ago.

Harrisburg setlist: Daylight * Only Time Will Tell * Wildest Dreams * Never Again * Roundabout * Time Again * Bolero * Clap * The Smile Has Left Your Eyes * Ride Easy * Voice Of America * Open Your Eyes * intermission * Fanfare For The Common Man * Without You * An Extraordinary Life * Court Of The Crimson King * Video Killed The Radio Star * The Heat Goes On * Heat Of The Moment * Encore: Don't Cry * Sole Survivor

RockonTour   Issue #79
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