If 2012 was a year to remember for ASIA, with the release of the acclaimed studio album ‘XXX’ marking the band’s thirtieth anniversary, then 2013 is set to be another. John Wetton, Geoff Downes and Carl Palmer are delighted to announce that not only do they have an incredible talent in place to step into Steve Howe’s shoes, but also that their first international show with newcomer Sam Coulson will be a high profile performance at Sweden Rock 2013. Sam is a wonderful player, world-renowned amongst guitar virtuosos. Additionally, a new studio album, to be entitled ‘Valkyrie’, will be recorded for Frontiers Records during 2013 continuing the band’s relationship with the label.
John Wetton said, “ASIA is ready to take its next steps along this remarkable road. We cannot wait to perform again for the fans and also to unveil some of the new material, of which we are very proud”. Geoff Downes said, “We look forward to writing another chapter in Asia’s history”. Carl Palmer commented, “We’re all looking forward to the next decade of great ASIA music”.
You can read Steve Howe’s Statement here!
ASIA’s “OMEGA” – A REQUIRED ROCK MUSIC REALITY CHECK!
ASIA – releases their fourth studio album on May 4th, 2010, on Frontiers Records, that features the four original members of this vastly influential and Rock historical band. This new album is “Omega”. I could never put into words, just how talented and important to the history of Progressive Rock Music these four musicians are: Geoff Downes, (keyboards, backing vocals), John Wetton, (bass lead vocals), Steve Howe, (guitar, backing vocals) and Carl Palmer, (drums, percussion).
Granted, the Asia franchise has created music with other lineups while Geoff Downes has steered the Progressive ship, (twelve all-encompassing album releases, spanning three decades, since the iconic and self titled debut release of 1982). With that said, this “Omega” release is testament as to the unmatched Progressive Rock prowess that this original lineup possesses.
As I listen to “I Believe”, I actually do believe this Asia lineup has reached that milestone point in their music career, where they can create what I consider to be the most beautiful Progressive Rock Music one could listen to in 2010. “There Was A Time” progressively plays out at almost six minutes and it is rich with the glistening softness of Geoff Downes’s keys, that weaves its way through Steve Howe’s unearthly guitar, while Carl Palmer and John Wetton apply an almost magical rhythm section. I really do hear magic on “Omega”, excuse me if I feel this way.
If there ever was a progressive element in Rock Music that can be considered the super glue of its layered parts, it is the keyboards. Geoff Downes incredibly inspires the song “I’m Still The Same” with his majestic keyboard play, giving this song it’s progressive decor and mind flight sound and feel. “Don’t Wanna Lose You” is the Classic Rock journey back in time, only Asia musically adds the relevant Rock ambiance that reminds me it is still 2010.
The short and extremely creative guitar leads of Steve Howe resonate his fondness for that 1970’s tone, that so many guitar gods of his generation have captured with splendor. John Wetton may still play as astute as ever on bass, still it is his timeless vocals that are all the listening splendor on “Omega”.
Steve Howe may incorporate the tonal spirit of Classic Rock’s guitar elegance throughout “Omega”, just remember that this is a guitarist that has fortified his very own sound through the decades as well… and his trademark licks are peppered throughout this entire album. “Finger On The Trigger” can easily be pointed out as the Rock out moment on Omega, proving that this legendary lineup has a bounty of uplifting Rock ‘N’ Roll left inside of them… and I never doubted that for one Rockin’ second!
“Holy War” begins instantly on a spirited note, with Geoff Downes hitting the keys in epic fashion. As this song kicks into progressive gear, the realization that Asia is back once again making a song so structurally sound is a Rock Music reality check. The Progressive Rock elegance of “Holy War” has reminded me once again, that Asia has staked their claim as THE most talented supergroup I can ever describe to someone.
“Ever Yours” may just be the tear jerker of “Omega”. The lyrics of Asia’s songs are synonymous with its respective music’s energy it radiates. The musical highs will inevitably catch up to the musical lows, creating a dazzling union of parts and that is what separates Asia apart in the Rock Music world. The songs on “Omega” are musical moments that have personality, feelings and emotion. “Ever Yours” is as sentimental as it is inspirational, proving to me it’s importance to the overall assemblage of songs heard on “Omega”. An Asia ballad is a work of art, not a filler song for iphone lighters at a live concert.
Not to sound silly or corporate in any way, those who know me realize I am not either when it comes to music, especially Rock Music… yet after each listen to “Omega”, I want to stand and applaud this original Asia lineup. Certainly, many will pump their fists into the air and jump up and down with progressive glee, that Asia is not only back, they are back on top. I myself want to do the same fist pumping and jumping in joy, only the Rock historical reverence, that I uphold for these four musicians, has me restraining myself and saying… bravo.
Rating: Out of 10
1. Finger on the Trigger
2. Through My Veins
3. Holy War
4. Ever Yours
5. Listen Children
6. End of the World
7. Light the Way
9. Still the Same
10. There was a Time
11. I Believe
12. Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
John Wetton – vocals, bass
Steve Howe – guitar
Geoff Downes – keyboards
Carl Palmer – drums
9 Out Of 10 Flying V Guitars!!
The classic rock band Yes, which was forced to cancel their 40th anniversary tour this year due to the illness of its lead singer, has decided to relaunch the tour with an “understudy” — a Yes tribute band singer.
Benoit David, who sings in several Yes tribute bands in Montreal, will replace Jon Anderson on the “In the Present” tour, which kicks of Nov. 4 in Ontario, Canada, according to bassist Chris Squire. “I think it’s all going to work out fine,” Squire told The Associated Press on Wednesday. “Of course, realistically, there’s an element of risk, but there always is.”
Yes, which consists of Squire, Anderson, guitarist Steve Howe and drummer Alan White, scrapped their anniversary tour in June after Anderson suffered acute respiratory failure and was ordered by doctors to rest six months.
Squire found David on the Internet after a friend sent him a YouTube clip of David’s tribute band, Close To The Edge. Squire liked what he saw and called David to offer an audition.
“The first thing he said to me was, ‘Well, I’m looking around to see where the cameras are in case I’m being punked,'” Squire said. Yes has taken a page from another classic rock group, Journey, who selected Arnel Pineda, a sound-a-like of old lead singer Steve Perry, to be their singer after the group discovered him singing Journey songs on YouTube. Pineda sang on the group’s successful comeback album this year and has also been touring with them.
It’s not the first time Yes has had a singer besides Anderson. Trevor Horn sang on the 1980 Yes album “Drama” when Anderson briefly left the band. Squire hopes to work songs from that album into the set for the upcoming tour, plus a few songs he said were not Anderson’s favorites to perform live but the rest of the band likes.
“You can’t ever really replace Jon Anderson, because he’s been such a force in the music business,” Squire said. “We look upon his replacement as more of an understudy.” Squire said he is hopeful Anderson will be well enough to do shows next year.
Yes’ hits include “I’ve Seen All Good People” and “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”