Monday, November 12, 2012

ASIA - Resonance: Live and Precise

Resonance is a live DVD/CD recorded in Switzerland in 2010 - captured by 18 HD cameras, and it's filled with exceptional singing, playing, and songcraft. Asia occasionally gets hit for not being more prog, but that's a crock. This live set rocks, pure and simple. Four great musicians playing well crafted songs with precision, passion, and excitement. What's not to like?

Asia is only Asia when John Wetton is singing. When he's on board, I'm on board - if he's not, don't call it Asia, because it isn't. No disrespect to any of the fine musicians who earn their keep in the 'other' Asia, but Wetton is one of rock's giants - a talent that has maintained consistently high quality for over four decades, his voice, writing, and playing are all incredibly his own. He seems to have a reserve of energy to which he goes back to, and he comes back as powerful as ever. His voice still cuts through the mix with great command, and beauty.

I'm consistently and pleasantly surprised by how much Asia rocks on this live set. The hits are all here, and they are as compellingly pop as ever, but Steve Howe's guitar howls in ways it seldom does in Yes, Carl Palmer is as exuberant as he was in The Crazy World of Arthur Brown in 1969, and Geoff Downes provides tasteful fills, pads, and flourishes that keep things melodically interesting - they hit every song head on, and there's not a moment in which they let down their guard. This isn't an oldies act in any way, shape, or form. The numbers from later albums Phoenix, and Omega are a breath of fresh air, and fit perfectly with the band's earlier output.

As I said, the hits are all here and these renditions are fantastic, but it's newer tunes such as Wetton's tour de force, An Extraordinary Life, the compelling Holy War, and the majestic I Believe will have you reconsidering the Asia catalogue if you've missed some of it in the past. This set is a must have for Asia's fans, but it will also please any past doubters, and I know there are those of you out there - at times I've been right there with you, but now I'm catching up on some great rock that I've missed.

John Wetton keeps amazing me - I say it over and over, but the man is a wonder. Health issues have come and gone, but he's resilient and keeps coming back in full force, and with tremendous resonance. Resonance rocks - pick up a copy as soon as it's out, and you'll be well pleased.

I hope Asia keeps up this pace - I really enjoyed this year's new album, XXX, and this live set is a complete victory.

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