Thursday, September 18, 2014

ASIA: "High Voltage Live" (CD/DVD)

Rating: Live
Label: Frontiers 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Where do I begin? Recorded live at the High Voltage festival in London, Asia stormed the stage at 6:30 in daylight, before any hint of any summer dusk. The short introduction by Roger "Art Machine" Dean, and you're about to watch something else as the DVD give a completely new meaning to the old saying of warts and all. It's the pale, the chubby, the hoarse, and the nearly over excited drummer, "are you having fun? cause we are".

Nah. That's a bit harsh. It's ASIA in 2010 and people need to understand that certain things DO change with time and it's no longer 1982 (even if they say/sing so in 'Heat Of The Moment'). Let's not put down people for being animated and especially not Carl Palmer since he's the proper legend, still bashing away behind the skins. The sign of a great drummer? If there's a gong in the set-up of course. Or is the opposite? Just kidding. Palmer's on fire through out the gig and no doubt the most energetic and fun member of the band.

"Hello east-enders. How ya' doin". John Wetton may not spend much time with banter (or walking for that matter) and the vocals are not quite as smooth as in the eighties. Perhaps not his best performance overall, a couple of blue notes, it's at least the real deal, warts and all. The backup vocals of Stevie Howe and especially during, "One Step Closer", hardly perfect pitch (and that's nice, very nice of yours truly). It doesn't matter in all honesty, since it's the rather boring song, way too pompous and dated. The almost jazzy and progressive work of "Time Again", the nice surprise as it clearly works the best live and in front of an audience.

Speaking of the folks at the festival. Waaay too laid-back and silent, merely the closing track of "Heat Of The Moment" gets them going. The mix is at times hard on the ears and basically the polished bootleg. But again, it's at least the reality of a band and not the fake-azz production.

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