Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Asia - Phoenix (2008)


"OLD DOGS, NEW TRICKS" WEEK (MAY 1-7, 2011)

Rip Van Winkle Presents...

In 1982 & 1983, Asia put out a fantastic debut self-titled album and an okay follow-up. After those two releases, band members began leaving. In 2008, the four original members got back together and released Phoenix. Like Steve Carell's character in The 40-Year-Old Virgin, I had an Asia poster in my wall when I was in high school and I was a big Asia fan. This is interesting because I was never a prog-rock kinda guy. I still don't like much prog-rock and while I like this CD, I don't like the multi-part suites that appear on it. Still, this CD sounds like music that could have been released in 1984. The band is in top form and the songwriting (mainly by bassist/singer John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes) is as good as it was in 1982; they can still write big arena-rock hooks. The original members released another disc, Omega, in 2010. And all the band's fans were happy. (I want credit for never using the phrase "rising from the ashes" in this post.)


Peak on the US Billboard Top 200 chart: #73 (May 3, 2008)

Tracks: I like Never Again, Nothing's Forever, Shadow Of A Doubt, Wish I'd Known All Along, and An Extraordinary Life. The beginning of Alibis is ok, but it comes back with a fantastic instrumental coda completely unrelated to any earlier part of the song. As cheesy as it is, I can't help but like I Will Remember You. I find the ballad Heroine skipworthy. Ever heard of a band named Globus? Me, neither, but the band chose to cover one of their songs, Orchard Of Mines. Skip that one, too. As I said earlier, the 'suites' are lacking: Sleeping Giant/No Way Back/Reprise and Parallel Worlds/Vortex/Deya.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw the band on the supporting tour for this CD. My high school friend Scott and I saw the band on April 27, 2008 at The House of Blues in Dallas. They played well for a bunch of old guys. John Wetton struggled to get to the high notes, but I'll give him a break because he's aged and he didn't take the easy road and lower the keys of the songs. Someone behind us in the audience said that Steve Howe looked like the Cryptkeeper. That's cruel, but hilarious.

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