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ASIA/Barclay James Harvest/Dare
Astoria, London 20 March 2005
Not a bad three band line-up this, although due to Dare's early start at
7pm I missed half of their set. Still caught the excellent ‘Silent Thunder'
and ‘Into The Fire' that came from the band's ‘must have' debut album. Only
vocalist Darren Wharton remains from the ‘Abandon' days and his voice is as
good as ever, backed-up by a tight-knit band. Great, what I saw of them, and
hopefully then will return soon and get a later, longer set they deserve.
Now Barclay James Harvest are one band I just can't get into at all
despite many attempts down the years. They have certainly pulled a few fans
in tonight and bizarrely, like when Uriah Heep supported Asia acoustically a
few years back, many of their fans left at 9pm after the BJH set. Why do
people do this? Surely you've paid your money and it can't hurt to at least
hear a few songs from the headlining band? Anyway, bass player/vocalist Les
Holroyd is the only original member in this line-up and although they are
superb musicians the music just does nothing for me I am afraid. They
doubtless have their many fans but they are not for me.
Asia took to the stage with a bang playing a storming version of ‘Wildest
Dreams' closely followed by ‘Here Comes That Feeling' from the band's debut
album. In fact tonight's set featured a lot of John Wetton-era Asia tunes.
Good mix of the new album, ‘Silent Nation' on display as well including the
title track and single ‘Long Way From Home'. Geoff Downes did his Buggles
solo piece ‘Video Killed The Radio Star' and drummer Chris Slade got a drum
solo (he is a big hitter and not like Carl Palmer, Asia's original drummer).
An acoustic set covered all eras featuring ‘Open Your Eyes', ‘Voice of
America' (this worked particularly well in acoustic mode), ‘The Longest
Night' and ‘Who Will Stop the Rain?' - a real showstopper tune.
‘Sole Survivor' went down a treat as did the closing encore of ‘Heat Of The
Moment' - those opening power chords are spine tingling! The whole band
played well and in guitarist Guthrie Govan they really do have a find. As
John Payne said the band feels like a band as this line-up has been intact
for over seven years now - a record for Asia line-ups!
Great night of timeless, classic rock music and the good news is that
Asia will be back early next year in the UK - can't wait.
Review: Jason Ritchie