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Thread: New Asia Box Set

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    New Asia Box Set

    It's missing Resonance (though the cover art is very similar), but pretty cool to box these albums together. Coming out June 11th.

    This 5CD deluxe clamshell box set features ‘The Reunion Albums’ from the 2006 reformed classic line-up of lead vocalist / bassist John Wetton of King Crimson, guitarist Steve Howe of Yes, keyboardist Geoff Downes of Yes, and drummer Carl Palmer from Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Featuring, ‘Fantasia’, a live show from their 2007 World Tour (containing ‘Heat Of The Moment’ live), and 3 subsequent studio albums: ‘Phoenix’ (2008), ‘Omega’ (2010) and ‘XXX’ (2012) across 5CDs. The package was designed by Roger Dean, who produced all the original albums covers. The box cover image is previously unused as a cover, and the ‘Fantasia’ cover is an updated design by Roger.



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    I'm surprised that record companies apparently think there is a market for something like this in 2021. But it's a nice memorial set for Wetton with a cool cover.

    Anyone who enjoyed the original group back in the day but has not heard these albums should take the plunge. They're all strong albums.

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    They all sound alike to me.

    Where's the pretty colored vinyl version?

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    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I'm surprised that record companies apparently think there is a market for something like this in 2021. But it's a nice memorial set for Wetton with a cool cover.
    Agreed. They didn’t bother to add the Japanese-edition bonus tracks or anything else to make this more of a “complete” set, just the four albums in a box. But still pretty cool.

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    It does seem that these albums are out of print, so there is a logic in this release. I didn't bother with the post-Howe album, Gravitas.

    Probably Omega is the weaker of the three- it starts off well but tapers off for me- but it's still OK. The other two are very good albums.

  6. #6
    It seems like a bit of a Frontiers strategy to let things go out of print, and then relaunch or sell the catalog at a later date. Whatever works.
    The reunion albums are of course not as good as the "original" albums, but I rate them thus:

    Phoenix: Colorful music, some enthusiasm from the musicians and a fair bit of the old Asia "feeling". But the playing is a bit tame, especially from Howe and Palmer, and the production is not good at all - very "budget"-sounding. Alibis is very old-Asia sounding, a fave on the album, and the extended tracks have some good sections, even if they feel a bit haphazardly patched together.

    Omega: Much better production, and more fiery playing from Palmer and Howe, thankfully. Some tunes that I feel are almost on par with classic Asia songs, especially the old Icon tune Finger on the Trigger. But some rather lacklustre tunes as well. The high points here are higher than on Phoenix, but the low points are maybe more numerous. Still, I like Omega. It's the most energetic of the reunion albums.

    XXX: They started losing me here. The Paxman production went from tighter and better on Omega to slick and overly processed here. A lot of the tunes don't really sound Asia-like. On the upside, a lot of the tunes are very catchy. Still, to me this is the least satisfying of the reunion albums, they seemed to try too hard to get songs on the radio, maybe, which was a silly project for a band of old geezers.

    Gravitas was a total snoozefest and waste of time, so no loss that it's not here. Whoever that guitarist was, he was the most anonymous-sounding guitarist Asia ever had.

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    I was pleasantly surprised by Phoenix- it does have a true band feel again, like their debut did. I could do without some of the ballads...it would have been a tighter album without so many of those. ISTR 'Alibis' had its roots in an 80s demo or something.

    Omega, I liked some of it, but after 'Holy War' it's very 'poppy', I think. Not really anything like 'Deya' on here. Howe's writing credits were two of the better tracks. I haven't played it in years but looking back at what was on it, I really don't like 'Listen Children' and that 'Emileeeeeeeeeeeeeee' hook on 'Emily' irritates the hell out of me.

    I do agree on the production of XXX, which I think was a bit much. But the songs (save 'Faithful' which doesn't do much for me) are consistently good. I think of it as more of a rock album than its predecessor was. 'Bury Me In Willow' especially is a really good track. I preferred the acoustic 'I Know How You Feel' which was an extra track, not included here.

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    Progdog ThomasKDye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    But the songs (save 'Faithful' which doesn't do much for me) are consistently good. I think of it as more of a rock album than its predecessor was.
    "No Religion" is just a great track, very quirky for Asia ("I got a date with Miss Ludo! Ludovica Nabokoff!"), with a propelling rock riff from Howe, and even a cool little Camel-esque section in there. It's the one song from that album I play over and over and groove to.
    "Arf." -- Frank Zappa, "Beauty Knows No Pain" (live version)

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    Member Kcrimso's Avatar
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    For me XXX is easily the best of these comeback albums.
    "A waste of talent and electricity." John Peel on ELP

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    Being fortunate myself to have seen both tours for Phoenix and Omega albums and the pre-album 2007 tour, I can say that not only those are the best of the reunion era but also live, the band was firing on all cylinders by when Omega was released.
    I missed the the XXX Tour but by observing the DVD from the San Francisco concert, I can say that they had already reached the peak of the reunion. The live playing was fine but had lost inspiration, the Tokyo concert included in this set was a good choice.

    It seems like a money grabber but this new trend of issuing clam shell boxes with mini album covers is a good way to get rid of the bulky and rudimentary jewel boxes of the past. Esoteric is leading the pack with those.

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    I have the Fantasia show on DVD, must have been not long after it was released. Watched it quite a few times. It's an excellent show.

    I only saw them live in early 2009 but the set-list was very similar. There were a few more songs from Alpha though. I didn't really see why they were still doing those Yes/ELP/Crimson/Buggles tracks by then, especially as ISTR they only played two songs from Phoenix. And this was the 'Phoenix tour'!

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    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    So....this offers nothing new/unreleased, correct?
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    So....this offers nothing new/unreleased, correct?
    That's sort of where I am with it, would only be interested if something unreleased, bit surprised there are not extras, alternate takes, unused material . But perhaps all tracks were used by Gravitas. Phoenix is the strongest for me , I liked the longer multi suite pieces but actually I thought the cover of Orchard of Mines was one of JW's greatest vocal performances. It was also quite nice having CP add a laid back ' When the Levee breaks ' groove to that piece.

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    Member Rajaz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaco View Post
    That's sort of where I am with it, would only be interested if something unreleased, bit surprised there are not extras, alternate takes, unused material .
    I would suggest tracking down David Gallant (based in Canada) who covered Asia for a long time and authored the Biographical book. But not sure if he still does it like Henry covers all things Yes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    So....this offers nothing new/unreleased, correct?
    Nothing extra. They didn’t bother to add the Japanese-edition bonus tracks or anything else to make this more of a “complete” set, just the four albums in a box. But still pretty cool if you happen to be missing some of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I only saw them live in early 2009 but the set-list was very similar. There were a few more songs from Alpha though. I didn't really see why they were still doing those Yes/ELP/Crimson/Buggles tracks by then, especially as ISTR they only played two songs from Phoenix. And this was the 'Phoenix tour'!
    I found this frustrating as well. Classic-era bands who record a new album should darn well play the bloody thing on tour. Otherwise why record it at all? Fortunately they rectified that on the Omega tour. IIRC they played about half the new album and some Phoenix songs as well.

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    Nothing extra. They didn’t bother to add the Japanese-edition bonus tracks or anything else to make this more of a “complete” set, just the four albums in a box. But still pretty cool if you happen to be missing some of them.
    These 'no frills' boxes are quite popular, especially with titles like these that are out of print. For a newer fan who doesn't want to shell out secondhand prices individually, this is a convenient and cost-effective way of having them all in their collection in one quick shot.
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    Studmuffin Scott Bails's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    These 'no frills' boxes are quite popular, especially with titles like these that are out of print. For a newer fan who doesn't want to shell out secondhand prices individually, this is a convenient and cost-effective way of having them all in their collection in one quick shot.
    It just seems like a missed opportunity by not offering bonus tracks, unreleased live material, etc.
    Music isn't about chops, or even about talent - it's about sound and the way that sound communicates to people. Mike Keneally

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    Insect Overlord Progatron's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Bails View Post
    It just seems like a missed opportunity by not offering bonus tracks, unreleased live material, etc.
    Ahh, but those are frills. These budget-priced sets are essentially "Here are the albums you might have missed and are now hard to come by", neatly gathered in one place. They're not really geared towards the fan who probably already has them and is now looking for unreleased stuff. They're more entry level, low risk purchases. I've been that buyer myself; with the band Man for example, I had never really heard them and figured it was worth a shot to grab five of their high-rated albums for dirt cheap. I wasn't concerned about bonus tracks at that stage. I think that's all this Asia set really is (apart from the die-hard collectors who have to have the Dean variation cover).
    Interviewer of reprobate ne'er-do-well musicians of the long-haired rock n' roll persuasion at: www.velvetthunder.co.uk

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    The actual tracklist is on this link:

    http://www.imwan.com/phpBB3/viewtopi...f0e05c35dd1423

    The CDs I own had more stripped-down versions of 'An Extraordinary Life' and 'I Know How You Feel' at the end of their respective albums. The latter was nice, the former nothing that special. There's nothing else missing compared to what I have.

    I think there was a Japanese-only bonus track for Omega but I don't have that anyway.

    Quote Originally Posted by arturs View Post
    I found this frustrating as well. Classic-era bands who record a new album should darn well play the bloody thing on tour. Otherwise why record it at all? Fortunately they rectified that on the Omega tour. IIRC they played about half the new album and some Phoenix songs as well.
    Yeah TBH I was a bit disappointed that they still had 'Roundabout', '...Common Man' and '...Crimson King' in the set when I saw them. The latter was always a baffling choice given none of them was even on it. At least with the show on Fantasia, this line-up only had two albums and a couple of B sides to choose from. But by 2009, no.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    I have the Fantasia show on DVD, must have been not long after it was released. Watched it quite a few times. It's an excellent show.
    Inspired by this thread we watched the Fantasia show Sunday evening and I agree, it's an excellent show.
    Everyone is at the top of the game on this one.

    Geoff writes some really good earwormy keyboard lines, and when I listen to him playing Asia music versus the Yes(Wakeman and Kaye) keyboard parts, it's like a totally different keyboardist who underplays everything in Yes, and I find it very sad, because he to me is a very good player and has an ear for some cool synth textures when he lets go.
    But even in this concert DVD, his keyboard mix seems too low for me and energy underwhelming.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    The CDs I own had more stripped-down versions of 'An Extraordinary Life' and 'I Know How You Feel' at the end of their respective albums. The latter was nice, the former nothing that special. There's nothing else missing compared to what I have.

    I think there was a Japanese-only bonus track for Omega but I don't have that anyway.
    The Japanese edition of Omega had "Drop a Stone" in place of "Emily". There were also bonus tracks on different editions of XXX: "Reno (Silver and Gold)", "I Know How You Feel (Midnight Mix)" and "Faithful (Orchestral Version)". For Phoenix, there were "An Extraordinary Life" (acoustic remix) on one edition and "I Will Remember You" (acoustic remix) on another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Progatron View Post
    These 'no frills' boxes are quite popular, especially with titles like these that are out of print. For a newer fan who doesn't want to shell out secondhand prices individually, this is a convenient and cost-effective way of having them all in their collection in one quick shot.
    Yup, I still buy CD's and have purchased many of these mini boxes. They don't take up as much space on a shelf either. Not sure if I will get this one from Asia, but I only have one of these albums, so I might spring for it.

  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Roth View Post
    The Japanese edition of Omega had "Drop a Stone" in place of "Emily". There were also bonus tracks on different editions of XXX: "Reno (Silver and Gold)", "I Know How You Feel (Midnight Mix)" and "Faithful (Orchestral Version)". For Phoenix, there were "An Extraordinary Life" (acoustic remix) on one edition and "I Will Remember You" (acoustic remix) on another.
    There are a few other so-called rarities (if we want to call them so): the radio version of An Extraordinary Life, the edit version of Face On The Bridge, an unplugged version of Don't Cry from the Serenity House benefit album and the 'Rarities' EP (5 unplugged versions recorded 2006-2008) included on the 2012 uber boxset of the first album.
    Frontiers Records could have included all that material on an additional cd to make the box more appetible.

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    Quote Originally Posted by peterpyser View Post
    There are a few other so-called rarities (if we want to call them so): the radio version of An Extraordinary Life, the edit version of Face On The Bridge, an unplugged version of Don't Cry from the Serenity House benefit album and the 'Rarities' EP (5 unplugged versions recorded 2006-2008) included on the 2012 uber boxset of the first album.
    Frontiers Records could have included all that material on an additional cd to make the box more appetible.
    Oh I am aware that there is more, I was just mentioning the ones that were released in various editions already. If the goal was to make a more complete set, there certainly was stuff to pick from. But as has been mentioned, this is just 4 CDs in a box. Also, this is not on Frontiers.....It is being released on BGU/BMG Rights Management and distributed through WEA (Warner Music). Same label that Yes supposedly signed with.

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