04 February 2008

Update/news about Asia's new album (Wetton/Downes/Howe/Palmer)

(from Original Asia)

Frontiers Records, the Italian-based record label, announced today acclaimed British progressive rock group Asia, will release Phoenix, its first studio album since 1983. The new album, recorded by all four original members following singer/bassist John Wetton's emergency heart surgery last August, marks a return to the classic Asia sound, with some surprising contemporary twists.

“Everything that was there 25 years ago is still there, and quite simply if you liked it then, you'll love it now,” says Wetton. “It does exactly what it says on the tin.” “The recording has gone very well, especially since John is writing, singing and playing great,” adds guitarist Steve Howe. “I believe we've all found the team work creatively rewarding and we look forward to playing some new songs, on stage.”

Phoenix is a collection of songs that speak to the millions of core Asia fans who, like the group, have come a long way since the dawn of the MTV age in 1982. “We're older now, and our audience has grown up with us,” says drummer Carl Palmer. “I think the lyrical themes on this record are some of the best John has ever developed. One track in particular, 'Extraordinary Life,' is among the best tracks we've ever recorded, and I believe could go on to be another Asia classic.”

Phoenix has a very poignant underlying theme placed at the intersection of love, discovery and reflection, no doubt due, at least partly, to Wetton's unexpected serious health issues (which included open heart surgery), and forced the cancellation of Asia's 2007 West Coast North American tour and a sold-out tour of the United Kingdom. “It kind of knocked me sideways on another level,” said Wetton of his recent surgery and physical rehabilitation, in an interview with journalist Jeb Wright. “You tend to become very aware of your mortality and your vulnerability.”

“John is a survivor,” adds Asia keyboardist Geoff Downes. “He has proved that a few times, now. There was never any doubt in our minds that he would recover and be better than ever. We all look forward to hitting the road once again.” Adds Carl Palmer: “The last few years since we reunited have been a very natural process. The recording started and ended on a big high with the sense that Asia now was truly reborn and ready to move forward once again - onto the global stage where we all feel it justly belongs."

Coinciding with the release of Phoenix, Asia, will return to the stage for an extensive World Tour that kick off on March 1, 2008, in Falmouth, UK. It will be the first show by the band since Wetton was sidelined last August.

The four original members reunited in 2006, twenty-three years after all four had last played together. The much publicised reunion resulted in two highly successful world tours in 2006 and 2007; an acclaimed double live LP and DVD, (entitled FantAsia: Live In Tokyo); and an overwhelming response from fans and the media, which continues today. This will be the third world tour for the four accomplished musicians, whose debut album, Asia, was released 26 years ago in 1982, and remains one of only 4 albums in history to stay at the Billboard album chart position of #1 for a staggering nine weeks! Formed at the dawn of the MTV era, Asia was the first super group of the 1980s, featuring members from Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson and The Buggles. Videos made for the band's first two albums, Asia and Alpha, were a staple part of the historic music channel's initial programming.

“1982 feels only like yesterday,” comments keyboardist Geoff Downes about the first time the original members of Asia made their landmark debut album. “Four guys in the studio, making music together - John, Steve, Carl and me. Fast forward to 2008. Once again, here we are. The same four guys doing the same things. Maybe we're all a bit older now, but nothing's really changed that much over the years - that's the beauty of Asia."

Continuing his thought, Downes is reflective on the creative success of the early albums: Fortunately for his fans, Wetton has recovered fully and his bandmates say he is singing and playing better than ever. “What we set out to achieve way back then- Timeless music that only sounds like the four who created it-, is what we attempted to bring to Phoenix. Still, it remains contemporary and refreshing to us all. Nothing more, nothing less. This is the Asia story, and it remains the same today - so listen on, and enjoy.”

2008 Asia World Tour - United Kingdom
March 1 - Falmouth Pavilion
March 2 - Bournemouth BIC Pavilion
March 4 - Liverpool Academy
March 7 - Ebbw Vale Leisure Centre (Wales)
March 8 - Frome Cheese & Grain
March 9 - Wolverhampton Civic
March 11 - Nottingham Rock City
March 12 - Oxford Zodiac Club (Academy)
March 13 - Manchester Academy
March 16 - London Shepherds Bush
March 18 - Newcastle Academy
March 19 - Glasgow Academy (Scotland)
March 20 - Perth Concert Halls (Scotland)

North America
April 4 Wilkes Barre, PA - Kirby PAC
April 5 Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Casino Wolf Den
April 7 Harrisburg, PA - Sunoco Performance Theater
April 8 Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
April 10 Collingswood, NJ - Scottish Rite Auditorium
April 12 Westbury, NY - North Fork Theatre
April 13 Peekskill, NY - Paramount Center For The Arts
April 15 Verona, NY - Turning Stone Resort & Casino
April 16 Red Bank, NJ - Count Basie Theatre
April 17 Englewood, NJ - Bergen Performing Arts Center
April 19 Cleveland, OH - House of Blues
April 20 Chicago, IL - House of Blues
April 21 Indianapolis, IN - Music Mill
April 23 Milwaukee, WI - Pabst Theater
April 26 Marksville, LA - Paragon Casino
April 27 Dallas, TX - House of Blues
April 29 Espanola NM - Big Rock Casino
April 30 Phoenix, AZ - Celebrity Theatre
May 2 Agoura Hills, CA - Canyon Club
May 3 Las Vegas, NV - House of Blues
May 4 San Juan Capistrano, CA - The Coach House
May 5 San Francisco, CA - Grand Ballroom @ The Regency Center

May 8 Fukuoka, Japan - Shimin Kaikan
May 9 Osaka, Japan - Koseinenkin Kaikan
May 11 Nagoya, Japan - Shimin Kaikan
May 12 Tokyo, Japan - International Forum

May 17 - Santana 27 - Bilbao, Spain
May 18 - Hall de Martigues - Martigues, France
May 19 - Luz de Gas - Barcelona, Spain
May 21 - Lisbon Coliseu - Lisbon, Portugal
May 22 - Joy Eslava - Madrid, Spain
May 24 - Tenerife Auditorium - Tenerife, Canary Islands
May 26 - Zenith- Lille, France
May 27 - O-13 - Tilburg, The Netherlands
May 29 - Prumyslovy Palac – Vystaviste - Prague, Czech Republic
May 30 - Petofi Hall - Budapest, Hungary
May 31 - Divadlo Arena - Bratislava, Slovakia

More Dates To Be Announced. For all things Asia please visit: www.originalasia.com.

1 comment:

firefly said...

They played an outdoor show not too long ago in Mason, OH, as an opener for Kansas. Both bands rocked. It might have been just before John's heart attack??
It was last year in the summer, so it must have been before his heart attack in August of '07.
John had a bandaid on his playing thumb. It wasn't their entire show, however.