New Look Asia Impressive At OLG Stage In Niagara Falls

Concert Review
Thursday July 4, 2024
OLG Stage @ Fallsview Casino Resort
Niagara Falls, Ontario
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto

2024 signifies the Year of the Dragon for the Chinese Zodiac. The perfect time to reform Asia thought one of its founders, keyboardist Geoffrey Downes. The band last got together in 2019 as part of the Royal Affair tour headlined by Yes. Downes was the sole original member this time around due to drummer Carl Palmer being busy with his return of Emerson, Lake & Palmer project. Guitarist Steve Howe is busy gearing up for a tour with Yes. That would mean Downes had to get some players to do the material of Asia justice. Joining him was drummer Virgil Donati who played with original bassist John Wetton in UK and guitarist John Mitchell who played with Downes and Wetton in Icon. Last but far from least is bassist/vocalist Harry Whitley whose vocals remind one of the late Wetton in spots.

The Heat of the Moment tour rolled into OLG Stage at Fallsview Thursday night to an appreciative crowd who came for the performance and a performance they received. Asia delivered a satisfying set featuring many of their standard hits alongside such gold as “Go”, “Voice Of America” both from the Astra album as well “Cutting It Fine from the debut. For good measure they threw in the Buggles cover of “Video Killed The Radio Star”. Those who keenly can remember back to 1979, Downes wrote the song along with Trevor Horn and Bruce Wooley. By the time “Heat Of The Moment” signaled the end of the show, they had the crowd of 3,000 out of their seats standing and clapping along without missing a beat.

While it has been a trying time trying to resurrect Asia following the passing of Wetton, I would say this current version has done well not only preserving the music with a fine performance but also staying true to the way the songs were recorded. While some doubters may simply chalk this up as a mere cover band, I say go see the show and see if you think these musicians deserve the benefit of the doubt. They are simply there to celebrate a friend and colleague in Wetton and put in a lot of time and hard work to ensure they are doing it with integrity. Hopefully this is not the last time we hear from Asia as I feel there may be a few more pages written before all is said and done.

The evening was also kicked off with Curved Air, Martin Turner formerly of Wishbone Ash and Focus.



Martin Turner

Curved Air

Set List

Wildest Dreams
Here Comes The Feeling
Don’t Cry
An Extraordinary Life
Voice of America
Time Again
Cutting It Fine
Video Killed The Radio Star (Buggles Cover)
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
Only Time Will Tell
Sole Survivor

Heat of the Moment

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

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

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

About Joseph Suto

Location: Buffalo, NY Photographer/Reviewer
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