Monday, April 1, 2013

"A" is for





Asia
ASIA "XXX"




Asia is a supergroup formed in 1981 with members of Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer and Uriah Heep. The current members are Geoff Downes, John Wetton, Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, but the membership has seen many changes over the years, with celebrated musicians popping in and out of the band.

Their eponymous debut album was a commercial success, though future albums never exceeded the sales of this first one. The singles "Heat of the Moment" and "Only Time Will Tell" reached the charts in the UK and the US.

Although they never achieved the critical acclaim one would expect of their respectable rock credentials, they have a loyal band of fans who love their blend of easy-listening AOR with progressive flourishes.


The original lineup reformed in 2006 and continue to tour. Their latest album, XXX, celebrates the thirty years since their mega-selling debut climbed to the top of the Billboard charts.

The band has managed to outdo themselves with this release-while long time fans have come to expect catchy songs, this collection really exceeds all expectations. One thing that struck me as odd was that the better songs are on the second half of the album (side two if it were vinyl).

The album's running order was put together with each song getting better until the closing song, and this is by far the strongest of their three releases since the original lineup reunited.

The tandem of Wetton and Palmer on bass and drums seem to be playing together better than they ever have, and I guess I do not need to mention Howe's guitar work. I think what adds most to this performance is the fact that this does not sound like a "supergroup," it sounds like four friends who enjoy performing together. Fans of the band and of prog should enjoy the results.


FACE ON THE BRIDGE



FAITHFUL



I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL




Before we get too far into April, how about we also do an April 1st "A" is for Arlee Bird shout out to the madman who came up with this A to Z concept in the first place!

Lee-apparently this idea interested more than a few people! Congrats on having started a tradition!

17 comments:

  1. They were part of my high school soundtrack. I liked the songs I remember, but was a little heavier into the metal than they were at the time. Thanks, though, for the time travel! It's been ages!

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    1. Hart-they were the band that got me into progressive rock. While I'd had friends who loved it in high school, and had even inherited "The Yes Album" from an older sibling, it did not become a passion until the Asia debut.

      It was college for me, and I loved the song "Sole Survivor."

      LC

      Delete
  2. Cool post, brings back fond memories of talking about music in the high school cafeteria with friends (maybe that's showing my age, ha ha). Asia's always been one of those bands respected by fans and musicians alike. Looking forward to seeing what other music you cover this month. I've got a music theme going on too, so feel free to hop on over!

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  3. Jessica-

    Many of the other bands will be on the obscure side, but worth a listen anyway!

    Larry

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  4. That brings back memories. Loved "Don't Cry"! Thanks for posting!

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    1. Dawn-

      Thanks for not saying something about being in grade school when this one came out!

      Everyone was referring to high school and I was almost out of college when this hit...

      LC

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  5. Brings back memories. Loved "Don't Cry". Thanks for posting on Asia. Listening to YouTube now. :0)
    The Write Soil

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    1. Dawn-

      There must be an echo in here!

      LC

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  6. For me, Asia suffers from the fact that, when music sucked so bad, Heat Of The Moment was more than a breath of fresh air, but something entirely new and powerful and hopeful. While the rest of the debut lp held close to that, it was too high a pedestal for anything else they did. That said, on an afternoon when I'm not feeling good, trying to watch the Reds game, and Laurie getting ready to go to work, Face On The Bridge caught my ear.

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    1. CW-the debut did set the bar pretty high...

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  7. Asia is still around? This is the second post I've seen about this group. I remember them, but don't recall too much about their music.

    I think I'm gonna enjoy your topic pick. Waiting to be stumped.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. Lee-

      I think I've found some head-scratchers for the month...

      Delete
  8. I didn't realize they'd reformed. Just like Yes, they always had cool album covers. Will have to go listen to the album on iTunes.

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    1. Alex-the band itself never left-continued with a different line-up...but a few years back the original line-up reformed.

      The debut album is still their best effort, but this one is pretty good.

      Delete
  9. Heat of the Moment will forever be linked to Supernatural (the tv show) for me. A hilarious and touching episode about the epic bond of these two brothers.

    Thanks for the memory and looking forward to your posts.

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    1. Taryn-wasn't that the one where they kept reliving the day (a la Groundhog Day?

      If memory serves me, Same gives Dean a lot of crap about liking the Asia song...

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  10. I'm loving this trip down memory lane, thanks!

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