Band: Asia

Venue: 02 Shepherd's Bush Empire, London

Date: 2 November 2014



Near the beginning of November, ASIA, British progressive rock band played their first headline show at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London in four years to promote their latest album “Gravitas” and filled the theatre-like venue with some of their best AOR hits to date. 

Starting pretty early and without any supporting acts, the first song of the night was “Valkyrie", probably the most popular song of their newest record, and definitely a crowd favourite. But that’s not the only special thing about that song and record as the latter has been recorded with a completely new guitarist after original member Steve Howe retired at the beginning of 2013.  Sam Coulson, who started out by showcasing videos of himself playing guitar on Youtube and thus got discovered, joined the original line up soon after and stood out by being the youngest member on stage with a way of guitar playing that might have reminded of Slash minus the running around on stage. 

What followed were a few songs from their post-reunion albums, inspiring song “”An Extraordinary Life” that has been featured on America’s Got Talent and the beautiful ballad “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes” which stood out in particular because it allowed singer John Wetton to fully engage in the song without having to play bass in the beginning. This all made up for a captivating and interesting moment with John fully expressing his emotions through heartfelt, beautiful vocals and movements that build up to a full sound once he joined in on bass again. 

This and Carl Palmer’s drum solo with its creative use of beats and its energy made up for a great, diversified rhythm and an amazing performance that also was pleasant to the eye. All while building up to a powerful ending in which he hit the two Chinese gongs positioned right behind him. 

Finishing quite early, the last song of the night was ASIA’s best known hit “Heat of the Moment” that made up for the perfect ending of a great show and made the crowd cheer happily one last time before the band left the stage. 

ASIA completed their UK tour with their gig in London. So if you want to experience one of their shows yourself, follow them on their website, Facebook and Twitter (@originalasia). To make the wait more bearable we’ve included links to purchase their newest record “Gravitas” on iTunes and Amazon as well as to stream it on Spotify.

Review by: Anna Zurek




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