BOSTON, July 13, 2012 - I bought something special called XXX. Did I have to enter a seedy store and leave with my head down? No. I bought ASIA’s new album XXX celebrating the band’s 30 year anniversary. And it’s phenomenal. It’s hard to believe that 30 years have past since John Wetton (King Crimson, UK), Steve Howe (Yes, GTR), Geoff Downes (Yes, The Buggles), and Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer) released their self titled ASIA debut album.
The album went on to sell 10 million copies worldwide with smash hits “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell”. The album was pure magic. Four music Gods coming together and creating something special.
The following year, the band released “Alpha” which was a nice success with hits “Don’t Cry” and “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes”. The magic of ASIA took a break during the “Alpha” tour. Wetton left the band and was replaced by Greg Lake for the “ASIA in ASIA” MTV special. Lake is a legend, but he is not John Wetton. This was not ASIA. Wetton returned to the band for 1985’s “Astra”, but Howe was replaced by Mandy Meyer. A good album with some fantastic songs, but again without Howe the ASIA magic was missing.
In 1990 ASIA released “Then and Now” and the great song “Days Like These” was a hit on the radio. ASIA was back, but only original members Wetton and Palmer played on the track. Wetton and Palmer were rejoined by Downes and guitarist Pat Thrall for a tour and a live album. In 1991 Downes reformed ASIA with new band members. The group went on to produce many albums through the 90s and early 2000’s. Purists were not against the group for making music, but for calling the band ASIA. The ASIA magic seemed to be gone forever.
But then the magic returned in 2006. The four original members reunited for a 25th anniversary tour. And it was special. I saw the band on tour and it brought tears to my eyes. And I was not alone. Fans embraced their heroes on tour. The legends were on top of their game and it was apparent that they were having a blast playing together again. The band recorded a new album “Phoenix” in 2008 and another new album “Omega” in 2010. Fantastic new music and fantastic live shows made long time fans ecstatic.
This brings us to the present day. ASIA has released another new gem. On XXX, John Wetton’s voice is as strong as ever. His vocals soar without any special effects or studio help. A true God given gift. His background melodies are fantastic and it is easy to hear his hero Brian Wilson’s influence. The mix of Howe’s signature guitar playing and Downes’ keyboards are highlighted on the impressive “Tomorrow The World” and other great tracks. Palmer’s drums rock throughout the album. A man in his 60’s rocking the drums? Yes and better than most youngsters! XXX is easy on the ears and will have you singing along, playing air guitar and thumping your foot with the beat. The magic is back. Don’t miss out. Buy the album and see the legends on tour.
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