Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Asia Release the Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012

Multi-platinum selling English supergroup Asia will celebrate their 40th anniversary by releasing a 5CD boxset The Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012 through BMG Records on 11th June 2021.

This 5 CD deluxe clamshell box setfeatures the 2CD live recording Fantasia, Live In Tokyo together with the three reunion studio albums Phoenix, Omega and XXX.

Moving beyond their progressive roots, Asia embraced the commercial FM rock sound that dominated US airwaves and took that, and the new MTV video channel, by storm with their eponymous debut album, globally the biggest-selling album of 1982. The single ‘Heat Of The Moment’, a huge soft-rock anthem, reached the top 40 in over a dozen markets, peaking in the U.S.A. at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart.

A second platinum selling album, Alpha, was released in 1983, followed by a series of shifting line-ups down the years. Then, the four original members of Asia – lead vocalist and bass player John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music), guitarist Steve Howe (Yes), drummer Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer) and keyboard player Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Yes), reunited to celebrate their 25th anniversary in 2006 and 2007 with a world tour.

A live album from the tour, Fantasia, Live In Tokyo, was released in 2007 as they returned to the studio together for the first time in a quarter of a century. While the members were still heavily involved in other projects, the reunion would yield three albums; Phoenix (2008), Omega (2010) together with XXX (2012) as they celebrated their 30th anniversary. Albums acclaimed by their faithful fans and supported by more world tours.

Of these later albums Palmer said, “The chemistry and energy that comes out when the four of us are working together, is reflected in the new material.”  For his part, Wetton marveled at how far the band had come. “Each one of us is comfortable as a human being, and the sound reflects the collective maturity of these four people who are not only eager to explore but also relaxed enough to luxuriate in the strength of the material.”

Steve Howe stepped back from Asia to concentrate on his work with Yes and he was replaced by Sam Coulson for 2014’s Gravitas. Following this tour came the news of John Wetton’s treatment for cancer, a fight he sadly lost in 2017, just before Asia started an arena tour with Journey, a tour that became a tribute his life and legacy.  Wetton had requested that Billy Sherwood (Yes) replace him on bass and vocals.  Asia supported Yes’s 2019 US Royal Affair Tour with Ron ‘Bumblefoot’ Thal (Guns N’ Roses) on guitar and vocal duties.   Steve Howe also returned as special guest.

In 2021 Asia signed a deal with BMG to rerelease their reunion albums, along with Gravitas (with Sam Coulson), to celebrate the band’s 40th anniversary in 2022. They also plan to release a box-set Asia In Asia, of the first simulcast from 1983, with Greg Lake temporarily replacing John Wetton.

This new boxsetbrings together, these records together in one concise collection:

Fantasia, Live In Tokyo, the 2CD live show from their 2007 World Tour, features many of the tracks from their first two albums Asia (1982) and Alpha (1983) and includes ‘Heat Of The Moment’ and ‘Don’t Cry’ together with heritage tracks from each of the band member’s musical history. The band also performed live, for the first time, an acoustic version of ‘Ride Easy’, a B-side from the debut single ‘Heat Of The Moment’. While the three reunion studio albums – Phoenix, Omega and XXX – allowed the band to explore fully their rock and progressive roots.

These albums are presented together in a superb collector’s edition boxset designed by Roger Dean, who produced all of the original albums’ artwork. The boxset cover image was previously unused and the Fantasia sleeve design has been updated by Roger.  

You can pre-order Asia The Reunion Albums: 2007 – 2012 by clicking here.

Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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