Asia - 'Resonance : The Omega Tour' Live in Basel, Switzerland CD Review (Frontiers Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Asia - 'Resonance : The Omega Tour' Live in Basel, Switzerland CD Review (Frontiers Records)

Asia - 'Resonance : The Omega Tour' Live in Basel, Switzerland CD Review (Frontiers Records)
In looking at the current state of some of the bigger prog-rock bands of the 80's, King Crimson has gone on indefinite hiatus, Genesis became a pop band before going out with a whimper (and a poorly received new lead singer) and Yes is on the cusp of heading onto the greatest hits/revival circuit having replaced Jon Anderson with a second tribute band vocalist. Thirty years ago, who would have thought that Asia (who started off as AOR/pop band) would have matured with such grace and end up as the last of the great prog-rock bands?

Similar to Asia's Spirit of the Night live album which documented the band's 2009 Phoenix tour, Resonance is a 2CD/DVD set that captures the band in front of an enthusiastic audience during their Omega world tour. This show was recorded on May 4th 2010 in Basel, Switzerland and John Wetton describes the show as "Asia live on the road, in-your face and for your pleasure".

What is refreshing is that the band does a nice job of balancing material from Omega (five tracks from this disc are part of the live set) and Phoenix with the obligatory greatest hits. Even the greatest hits though get new life breathed into them as a number of these songs are reinterpreted as stripped-down numbers or extended jams. What is also a pleasant surprise is that the set includes "Go" from the post-Howe disc Astra as I've seen video bootlegs of the Payne/Downes/Howe lineup where Howe would leave the stage when the band played "Go" (and the rumor was that Howe wouldn't play on anything from Astra).

Here is how the band mixed up the set list: "Don't Cry" is John singing with just Geoff playing behind him, "All's A Chord" and "The Valley of Rocks" are songs from Steve Howe's solo albums and it sounds like he is the only one on the stage at the time and the extended version of "Don't Cry" starts with just Geoff and John before Carl Palmer fires up the drums midway through the song and Steve Howe follows right behind. Some of the other highlights are Carl Palmer's drum solo during the extended version of "The Heat Goes On" and Steve Howe playing Mandy Meyer's (Krokus) metallic licks on "Go".

The band sounds in great form - John Wetton's voice has held up well through the years and Carl Palmer hasn't slowed down so the song tempos remain crisp. Both Howe and Geoff Downes are integral contributors to the "warm sound" of the show and their melodic riffs, chords and experimental flourishes keeps the set sounding fresh. Resonance was recorded after the reunited band had been back together for four years and this show documents the sound of a band that has maintained their musical chops and aged with grace.

Asia - Resonance Track List
I Believe
Only Time Will Tell
Holy War
Never Again
Through My Veins
Don't Cry
All’s A Chord
The Valley Of Rocks
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Open Your Eyes

Finger On The Trigger
Time Again
An Extraordinary Life
End Of The World
The Heat Goes On
Sole Survivor
Heat Of The Moment