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Asia: Fantasia — Live in Tokyo (Blu-ray Review)

26 Mar, 2009 By: John Latchem


Street 3/31/09
Eagle Rock
$24.98 Blu-ray
Not rated.

Remember Asia, the 1980s supergroup composed of members of earlier bands?

This entertaining show features the band’s four original members in a reunion concert celebrating the 25th anniversary of the band’s eponymous debut album in 1982. The lineup includes Geoff Downes of The Buggles; John Wetton of King Crimson; Steve Howe of Yes; and Carl Palmer of Emerson, Lake and Palmer.

Playing to an enthusiastic Japanese crowd, the group performs a mix of their hits and some songs from the individual members’ original bands, including Yes’ “Roundabout” and The Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star.” It all leads to a performance of Asia’s most famous hit, “Heat of the Moment.”

There’s nothing really flashy about the concert. No pyrotechnics. Just four (older) guys on a mostly empty stage armed only with their instruments, and a few basic lighting tricks to enhance the mood.

The Blu-ray Disc version of the concert, with its crisp sound and sharp picture, is a perfect pickup for fans of the group, and ideal as background material for parties or even just enlivening the routine of daily chores.

The disc includes 40 minutes of interviews with the band members as they recount their personal histories, how they formed the band, and provide their insights into some of the songs.

Howe uses the moment to present an interesting notion that the group’s reunion tour was a chance to capitalize on its success in a way it didn’t do 25 years ago, as well as to thank the fans. He sums it up best by alluding to the cover of the band’s debut album, featuring a sea dragon chasing a pearl but never quite reaching it:  “I hope that you think maybe we reached the pearl.”

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