Asia – Resonance (Frontiers) review
This two CD / one DVD live set comes from the reunited band’s 2010 Omega tour, recorded live in Switzerland. This trek was already documented on 2011‘s Live at the London Forum with virtually the identical set list. What sets Resonance apart is the DVD, which captured the band with EIGHTEEN different cameras, all filming in high definition (I think that’s more than is used on the average NFL game?).
The closeups of guitarist Steve Howe’s fingers flying around the fretboard are worth the price of the set alone. As far as the music goes, for guys that have been around as long as they have, they can still pull off the material spot on. Surprisingly, they only grab four songs off their mega-selling debut – “Sole Survivor,” “Only Time Will Tell,” “Time Again,” and and extended encore of “Heat of the Moment.” This gives room for the band to explore other, lesser-known tracks, like “Open Your Eyes,” or “The Heat Goes On,” which extends into a long Carl Palmer drum solo. The understated arrangement of “Don’t Cry” featuring just Geoff Downes on piano and John Wetton’s vocals is quite nice. Mercifully, they only grab “Go” from their ill-fated third album, Astra, which did not include Howe.
The band was touring for their second reunion album, Omega, from which five songs are pulled. Of those tracks, “Finger on the Trigger” rocks, and sounds the best in this live setting. Steve Howe does two acoustic pieces – “All’s a Chord” and “The Valley of Rocks,” which is reminiscent of “The Clap,” from The Yes Album. Out of the older material, “Sole Survivor” is particularly good, with Howe coming alive for a killer wah wah pedal solo near the end. Wetton sounds particularly good vocally. Although his “An Extraordinary Life,” which he wrote after battling a life-threatening disease, does sober the mood a bit.
The band has also been known to dig into their past, playing songs by some of their former bands, like King Crimson, Yes, and Emerson Lake & Palmer – but they’ve decided to only concentrate on Asia material here. Also, even though this is just being released now, there’s nothing from their excellent 2012 studio album XXX.
For Asia fans that want an example of their live abilities, Resonance does not disappoint. –Tony Peters