“British Live Performance Series” by Asia

Artist: Asia
Title: “British Live Performance Series”
Label: Rainman Records
Release Date: 6/24/2016
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 4/5

When I think of the band Asia the first thing that comes to mind for me is the level of juggernaut success that their self-titled debut album received back in 1982 when Steve Howe, John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes all joined forces to deliver an album that would bring a very radio friendly Progressive Rock into the homes of music fans worldwide. Granted it was a very different sound from their original groups of Yes, ELP, King Crimson and The Buggles and it might had annoyed the more purist of the Progressive Rock faithful but there was no doubt that the band was an Arena Rock staple from the signature track “Heat Of The Moment”. This classic concert from 1990 delivers a band looking back on the previous decade with a smile as they deliver tracks from the debut along with “Alpha”, “Astra” and “Then And Now” which would be the final album that the original members worked on together until their reunion in 2006 some sixteen years later.

Recorded in the Central Televisions Nottingham studios the band is on fire as they deliver solid hit after hit. Of the thirteen tracks, a very heavy emphasis is placed on the 1982 debut which gets five full tracks and the band is locked solid into their groove as every melody blasts by your ears. I felt that the oldest material sounded the most vibrant to me as I listened and maybe that it because the band had been playing those tunes the longest or perhaps its only my imagination based on this debut album remaining as one of my favorites more than thirty years later. I also enjoyed the tunes from “Alpha” a lot but will admit that by the “Astra” release the band was sounding very repetitive in scope and this is likely why there was a division in the ranks after the “Then and Now” piece. “The Heat Goes On” is one that you are going to pay some attention to because there is a powerful drum solo by the legendary Carl Palmer. The band sounds great throughout the concert but sadly I must share that Steve Howe is not a part of the lineup at this point in their history and the work that you are hearing on this one is US guitarist Pat Thrall. Hopefully that doesn’t sway you from purchase because it’s still a very sound release and I’m saying that as someone who’s listened to them for decades.

Packaging wise there is a foldout insert that spans four double sides pages and with this we get a track listing, an in-depth bit of historical notes and several photos from the time. If you enjoyed anything about Asia as a band over the years you are surely going to want to add this to your music library. In today’s music world the band still tours with all original members outside of Steve Howe who only works with Yes at this time. In his place is the very talented Sam Coulson.

Track Listing:
1. Wildest Dreams
2. Sole Survivor
3. Don’t Cry
4. Voice Of America
5. Time Again
6. Praying For A Miracle
7. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
8. Only Time Will Tell
9. Days Like These
10. The Heat Goes On
11. Go
12. Heat Of The Moment
13. Open Your Eyes

Official Website: http://www.originalasia.com

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