Asia brought their Gravitas tour to Niagara Falls, Friday evening to a decent sized crowd that gathered inside the Rapids Theatre. Gravitas marks the bands first album with new guitarist Sam Coulson who took over last year when original guitarist Steve Howe left to focus on Yes and other projects. Coulson has become the first member of the band to not have been born until after the band had broken up the first time back in 83’.
Opening the show with “Sole Survivor” leading directly into “Wildest Dreams” both from the band’s grandeur debut release, helped set the tone for the evening as the band gave the fans a good mix of the “Wetton Era”. Wetton of course is vocalist/bassist John Wetton who was has been at the helm of the band during the band’s glory years. Joining Wetton and Coulson were original members drummer Carl Palmer and keyboardist Geoffrey Downes.
The band played a few select cuts from their recent batch of albums and then dug a little deeper into their catalog as “Voice Of America” from Astra served as one of the highlights.
The pinnacle point in the show occurred as Downes’ keyboard solo started things off by playing the closing instrumental part from “Cutting It Fine”. This was followed by a three song block that was worth the price of admission alone as it featured unheralded gems “Days Like These” and “Go” as well as an authentic version of “Don’t Cry”. The band more often than not have played slower and sometimes acoustic versions of their 1983 top ten hit. Hearing the song performed in its original format sounded as vibrant as the day it was recorded.
Drummer Carl Palmer then proceeded to top it all with an amazing solo that left the crowd in awe as he demonstrated you are never too old rock ‘n’ roll. Palmer’s solo was easily one of best drum solos this reviewer has witnessed.
The show culminated with “Only Time Will Tell” and “Open Your Eyes”. The band decided to stay onstage to close out the one hundred five minute affair with the band’s best known song “Heat Of The Moment” that left the crowd singing and dancing.
While the more recent material was met with a fair amount of applause it is the hits along with the songs that were played on the radio back during the band’s heyday that keep the crowds coming back. The newer material may not have the hooks the band once employed but it is quite respectable. After all it is not 1982 anymore and the whole landscape of music has drastically changed. Thankfully the band continues to tour and record as they remain an important entity that continues to be an influence to many.
Face on the Bridge
Finger on the Trigger
I Know How You Feel
Voice of America
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
An Extraordinary Life
Days Like These
Only Time Will Tell
Open Your Eyes
Heat of the Moment