Asia The Heat of the Moment US Tour 2024

Asia is absolutely delighted to announce The Heat of The Moment Tour, headlined by Asia and also featuring Focus, Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash and Curved Air and MC’d by artist Roger Dean.

The tour will commence on 3rd July 2024 and will incorporate 21 dates across the USA and Canada.

The tour has been masterminded by rock music keyboard legend and original Asia member, Geoff Downes (Buggles, Asia, Yes).

Asia was the biggest selling album of 1982, number 1 on Billboard for 9 weeks and pioneers of the MTV era! Downes’ brand new iteration of Asia first began to evolve last Summer, at the concert held in memory of late lead singer, songwriter and bassist, John Wetton (King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, UK, Asia, John Wetton Band, Icon). Downes invited old friend John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Lonely Robot, Kino, John Wetton Band, Icon) and new-comer Harry Whitley to join him on stage to celebrate Wetton’s life by performing some of the classic Asia hits. Such was the uproarious reception to their set, that Downes wondered if something magical was beginning to take shape.

“And so it was that the John Wetton tribute last August really reminded me how much Asia’s music belongs on the stage. The response to it all was literally…spine-tingling.”

Downes’ new-look Asia will once again feature Mitchell on guitars and Whitley on lead vocal and bass. The quartet will be made complete by the addition of Virgil Donati (UK, Southern Sons, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth) on drums.

Downes continues, “With the addition of Virgil Donati & John Mitchell, two of the finest musicians in the world in their respective classes, this is almost going full circle bearing in mind their previous close collaborations with John W. Completing this circle is also the amazing Harry Whitley who absolutely floored the audience with his incredible vocal interpretation of the Asia songs that John W and I so lovingly wrote over the years.”

The tour will also feature sets from other classic acts, Focus, Martin Turner ex Wishbone Ash and Curved Air. All three support acts boast their founder bandleaders and have deservedly attained the status of legend.

Focus will be releasing a brand new studio album later in 2024. Led by the indomitable Sir Thijs van Leer, featuring original 1970’s drummer Pierre Van Der Linden, plus the virtuoso talents of Menno Gootjes on guitar and Udo Pannekeet on bass.

Martin Turner was lead vocalist, bassist, founding member and creative force behind 70’s rock music behemoth Wishbone Ash, best known for such classic albums as Argus and Pilgrimage.

Formed in 1970, Curved Air are one of the founders of progressive rock and a retrospective collection of their most influential and ground-breaking material is currently in the planning stages. Sonja Kristina (vocals) and Kirby Gregory (guitar) will treat audiences to an acoustic set featuring some of the band’s most memorable musical moments. They will be joined by violinist Grzegorz Gadziomski.

Each performance on the tour will be MC’d by legendary artist Roger Dean. For so many, Dean’s artwork is synonymous with the music of the time and stands to represent the very best of British rock music.

The final word goes to Geoff Downes, “I am convinced that John (Wetton’s) spirit is with us as we set out on this new adventure.  After all, it is the Year of the Dragon – just as it was in 1982, when we released our first Asia album. It’s as though it was meant to be. Looking forward to seeing you there, my friends – bring it on!”

Heat Of The Moment 2024 Tour Dates:

  • Wednesday, July 3: Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT
  • Thursday, July 4: Fallsview Casino, Niagara Falls, ON
  • Saturday, July 6: Chevalier Theatre, Medford, MA
  • Sunday, July 7: The Paramount, Huntingdon, NY
  • Tuesday, July 9: Bergen Performing Arts Center, Englewood, NJ
  • Wednesday, July 10: Count Basie Center, Red Bank, NJ
  • Friday, July 12: Tropicana Showroom, Atlantic City, NJ
  • Saturday, July 13: Wind Creek Event Center, Bethlehem, PA
  • Sunday, July 14: American Music Theatre, Lancaster, PA
  • Tuesday, July 16: Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium, Spartanburg, SC
  • Wednesday, July 17: Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, TN
  • Thursday, July 18: Columbia County Performing Arts Center, Evans, GA
  • Saturday, July 20: Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL
  • Sunday, July 21: Pompano Beach Amphitheater, Pompano Beach, FL
  • Monday, July 22: Seminole Hard Rock, Tampa, FL
  • Wednesday, July 24: North Charleston PAC, North Charleston, SC
  • Thursday, July 25: Macon City Auditorium, Macon, GA
  • Friday, July 26: Saenger Theatre, Mobile, AL
  • Sunday, July 28: VBC Mark Smith Concert Hall, Huntsville, AL
  • Tuesday, July 30: The Arcada Theatre, St Charles, IL
  • Wednesday, July 31: The Pabst Theater, Milwaukee, WI

ASIA

  • Geoffrey Downes – Keyboards, Vocals
  • John Mitchell – Guitars, Vocals
  • Harry Whitley – Bass Guitar, Lead Vocal
  • Virgil Donati – Drums

Website: https://originalasia.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/asiatheband

FOCUS

  • Thijs van Leer – Hammond Organ, Flute, Vocals
  • Menno Gootjes – Guitars
  • Udo Pannekeet – Bass Guitar
  • Pierre van der Linden – Drums

MARTIN TURNER ex Wishbone Ash

  • Martin Turner – Bass guitar,Vocals
  • Danny Willson – Guitars, Vocals
  • Misha Nikolic – Guitars, Vocals
  • Sonny Flint – Drums

CURVED AIR

  • Sonja Kristina – Vocals
  • Kirby Gregory – Guitars
  • Grzegorz Gadziomski – Violin

VOLAPÜK – PÜKAPÖK – CUNEIFORM RECORDS

Volapük were a somewhat unusual RIO outfit formed in 1993 by percussionist Guigou Chenevier, who was already known for being a founder of Etron Fou Leloublan, who became a charter member of the Rock in Opposition collective in 1978 along with other groups including Henry Cow, Univers Zero, Stormy Six, and Samla Mammas Manna. Bass clarinettist Michel Mandel received a master’s degree in music from the Grenoble Academy of Music while cellist Guillaume Saurel studied at the Avignon Academy of Music. Yes, what we have here is an instrumental trio bringing together instruments in a very strange indeed. This recording, taken from their 1998 Polish tour finds Guigou providing drums, saxophone, vocals and electronics, Michel is on bass clarinet, clarinets, taragot, vocal and Guillame cello and vocal.

If one could imagine a RIO avant prog chamber trio experimenting more than one could even expect from that description, then possibly one might be able to somewhat understand what is taking place in front of our ears. I can only imagine the Polish audiences were somewhat blown away by what they were experiencing as there is perfect silence during the course of each song, although they are all well received once the audience gets themselves back to reality. Influenced by Art Zoyd? Definitely, but being taken in a quite different direction. The band released four studio albums during their existence (they broke up in 2010), yet this was the only live album which was a limited release on a Polish label back in 1999. That this has now been revived by Cuneiform is wonderful, as not only is the label the logical home for this release, but this is something which will be of great interest to fans of RIO as not only is this wonderful historically but is something which is simply fascinating and exciting throughout. There is a freshness to this, a sense of no-one (including the musicians) really sure where the journey is going to take them or what the end destination may be.

All I know is that I am now intrigued and can see I need to further investigate the music of  Volapük as they walked through musical boundaries as if they did not exist. 8/10 Kev Rowland

JIMMY KEEGAN – JIMMY KEEGAN – INDEPENDENT

Like many others, I first became aware of Jimmy when he joined Spock’s Beard as their live drummer so Nick could concentrate on vocals when he took over from Neal, and then after Nick’s own departure he stayed in the seat. I had seen the Beard a few times with Neal, and there was no way I was going to miss out on seeing them again without (especially as Enchant were support), and that night I was blown away by the drummer I had not previously heard of. These days he can also be heard with Pattern Seeking Animals, but I have also come across him working with Steve Bonino and know that while he is widely known for playing in prog bands there is far more to Jimmy than “just” that.

I get the impression this album was recorded over quite a period of time, as the musicians vary quite a lot with the only constant being Jimmy himself who provides all lead vocals and drums as well as keyboards. Something I find interesting is that Jimmy has obviously decided he is not a good enough songwriter to provide material for his own album, and has instead looked to others, with Greg Lastrapes providing four and Steve Bonino two along with other writers and two well-known covers. The major weakness of Nick D’Virgilio’s debut solo album, ‘NDV’, was the material included and by using other writers it has allowed Jimmy to display his diversity of styles, and how much he feels at home with being the frontman.

Although there are some very well-known friends performing here, as would be expected, this is not a prog album at all. Instead, what we have are a variety of songs performed in a rock/pop manner with Jimmy taking them wherever he wishes. This means the listener has no idea what is going on, as we may be in a world of funk, or something thoughtful or dynamic, with lush harmonies or a more direct approach. What is never in doubt is that Jimmy is a great singer, and it is something of a surprise to hear his vocals as here is someone who could happily be at the front of a stage as opposed to being hidden by the drums and one can easily understand why the Beard came calling. The two covers could not be more different, in that we get an angular take on Talking Heads’ “Crosseyed and Painless” which I prefer to the original. With Mike Glendenning and Randy Jacobs on guitars, Bill Lanham on bass, he brings out an inner beauty I find somewhat missing from the version on ‘Remain In Light’.

However, the highlight is the closing number, Split Enz’ “Six Months In A Leaky Boat”. For those living outside New Zealand or Australia it will be difficult, if not impossible, to understand just how important this band was, and how Tim Finn and brother Neil (who formed Crowded House after their demise, another NZ outfit, whatever Aussies say) are regarded. Even though the song tells the story of how long it took pioneers to sail to New Zealand, it was felt by many in the UK to be about the Falklands War and was banned! Some people concentrate on the middle section of this song, which is the jaunty rock section, but it has an important intro and outro, and Jimmy has ensured these are given the reverence they deserve, with Ryo Okumoto providing a delicate piano introduction which is more direct than the original with less orchestration, but still with the sounds of the storm while the close out is by Otmaro Ruiz.

In many ways this song is a wonderful representation of what can be found on the album, as Jimmy has made it his own, with stacks of confidence. I love it and have heard the original countless times yet understand this is a homage. I sat and played this album three times straight the other day, enjoying it more each time as there is a warmth and companionship within this which only comes from someone doing what he loves, and not attempting to fit inside any particular musical box or expectations but doing what makes him happy. This needs to be heard by a much wider audience than progheads as this is a delight from start to finish. 9/10 Kev Rowland

DEVIN TOWNSEND – INFINITY – INSIDE OUT MUSIC

25 years on from its original release, the cover has changed in that Devin has had a new photo taken, and the album has been remastered and also now includes seven bonus tracks including the songs from the ‘Christeen’ EP. I vividly remember the impact this album had on me when it was released, as while I knew Devin from Strapping Young Lad, he had only released one album under his own name prior to this one and when I heard this I was absolutely blown away by the production and his approach to prog metal. It was recorded after Devin had checked himself into a mental hospital where he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and while he played most of the instruments himself, he also brought in SYL bandmate Gene Hoglan on drums, Fear Factory bassist Christian Olde Wolbers plus Andy Codrington (trombone).

It was with this album that Devin really got to grips with his wall of sound approach to production: he later described this as “the parent project” of ‘City’ and ‘Biomech’, and anyone who knows those albums will agree this bastard offspring is far greater than what went before. This was the release which had me desperate to find out more about the mad Canuck and is still as fresh today as it was all those years ago. That he can go full on pronk on “Ants” is just wonderful but compare that to the anthemic bombast which is “War”, still one of my very favourite tracks of his, and it is interesting to note just how close the ‘Retinal Circus’ version is to this. This album is where Devin really came of age and found himself, and the learnings he took on that journey has been the foundation for what he has achieved since. These days Devin Townsend is a household name to anyone interested in progressive metal, but back then he was a musician who had toured with Steve Vai and The Wildhearts (one of the tracks on ‘Infinity’ is co-written with Ginger), then formed his own band which gained critical but little popular acclaim, Strapping Young Lad. This album changed all that, and I loved it 25 years ago, and my view has still not changed. Awesome. 10/10 Kev Rowland

T.A.P. – PARADIGMS – MELODIC REVOLUTION RECORDS

Here we have the debut album from T.A.P., a multinational group of musicians who have known each other for years in one way or another, yet only recently decided to work together to create their own music. Mike Jobborn (keyboards, synth, soundscapes, drum programming), Mark Cook (Warr guitar, guitars, basses, drums, soundscapes, synths, samples, strings) and Suzi James (guitars, bass, oud, flute, percussion) play on all eight tracks while Gayle Ellett (Hammond, Moog, Mellotron) is on five and then Paul Sears and Bill Bachman add drums to one song each (although I must say the drum programming on the other tracks is much better than is often the case).

I reviewed Gayle and Mark only recently (Gayle Ellett and the Electromags), plus have known the music of Djam Karet for decades, while The Muffins (Paul Sears) is never too far away from my playlists and I reviewed the debut Fearful Symmetry (Suzi James) album a while back and Mike Jobborn and I have been FB friends for years. Knowing so many people in a band can actually be a problem at times (I am also friends with Gayle, Paul and Suzi!), as there is always the worry that if an album is not as good as one might expect how do I say that without upsetting someone? Luckily that has not happened too often, and generally we became friends in the first place because I enjoyed their work, and here we have something which is an absolute delight. There are times when the music is quite Floydian, where the instruments are blended in such a way that they rarely move above the keyboards but rather blend in to create something which is amorphic, changing and swelling as the need arises. There are others when it is more direct, but always the feeling is that this is a living and breathing stream of consciousness, something which is in motion and creating its own path as it meanders through the landscape and to fully appreciate the delights one needs to immerse oneself in the flow. 

The interplay between the instruments is delicate, and there is very much the feeling this will always be a studio project just because there are so many threads being brought in and out, multiple guitars and keyboards mixing with the rhythm section, yet there are also times when people take a rest and sit back, knowing their contribution to that section of the music is not to be involved at all. This is thoughtful stuff; there has been no sense of ego or self as all those involved have put that to one side and instead have become part of a collective whole. This is not music to be played in the background but needs to be listened to on headphones when one has the time and inclination to let the rest of the world pass by. This is timeless album, and somehow feels quite modern (although wonderfully dated at times by the Hammond) yet belongs to the era when people listened to music just for its own sake as opposed to being another background noise. If that is you, then there is much here to enjoy.     8/1 Kev Rowland