Asia Featuring John Payne — Scandinavia (AKA Extended Versions)
(Devgel DEVGEL1CD, 2007, CD)
by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-10-01
Among the finite number of prog fans who are Asia fans there is a subset that enjoys the lineup with singer/bassist John Payne (i.e., the non-original Asia that’s been on tour recently). This disc captures that group, which also includes original member Geoff Downes on keyboards, drummer Jay Schellen and guitar player Guthrie Govan, during their European tour supporting Silent Nation. The odd thing about the disk is that seven of the ten songs are from the first album which tells me that Payne, who is managing this release now that Downes has thrown his lot in with Howe, Wetton and Palmer, knows that crowds came to see the older material. No doubt he’d rather feature more songs from his tenure with Asia, but as the man said, give the people what they want. As for the songs, there’s no need to detail the relative merits of “Wildest Dreams,” “Sole Survivor,” and “Heat of the Moment.” You either like this stuff or you don’t. Of the newer songs all I can say is that, while Payne’s vocals are more naturally suited to them, there’s a reason people prefer the older songs. Govan’s guitar work – like Howe on the old Asia songs – is the best thing about the album, though his playing is limited by the rote rock/metal styling he conforms to that never touches Steve Howe’s gift for the unexpected and eclectic, despite his best efforts on songs like “Cutting It Fine.” Recommended for a select few.
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more
Col. Bruce Hampton RIP – The phrase "He died doing what he loved" is almost a cliche, but in the case of Col. Bruce Hampton, it couldn't be more true. Hampton, who was born Gustav Berglund III, collapsed on stage at his own 70th birthday celebration and later passed away. The event took place at the Fox Theater in Atlanta. » Read more
ProgDay 2017 Announces First Bands – Flor de Loto, Sonar, and Infinien are the first three performers to be announced for the 2017 edition of the long-running ProgDay Festival. The 23rd ProgDay takes place Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd, at Storybook Farm in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. » Read more