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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Asia Live at Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, Michigan. USA.

Asia Live at Royal Oak Music Theatre, Detroit (Suburb), Michigan. USA.

November 1st, 2012


Asia is a band, where each musician has so much history, so much so that I could easily fill a whole page just on that alone.
So, to keep it more to the point, especially keeping that thought in mind, for those that really don’t know who’s in Asia – Where have you been for the past 30 years!? – the band is made up today, of four superstar status musicians.

John Wetton (King Crimson, Uriah Heep, Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music, UK, Wishbone Ash) on Bass / Lead Vocals, Steve Howe (Yes, GTR) on Guitars / B.Vocals, Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Atomic Rooster, 3 (Three), Qango) a phenomenal drummer extraordinaire and the perhaps least known, yet perhaps most talented (Ouch! I’m going to get some stick for that I’m sure!) is Geoff Downes (Buggles, Yes, Trapeze, Icon, Qango) on Keyboards / B.Vocals.

This is the definitive Asia line that started it all in 1982, with the very first self-titled debut and the second release 'Alpha.'
After that, various Asia albums were released with many different members, but one constant being Geoff Downes.
In 2006 all four of the original members reunited and have been together since, whilst all carrying on with their other projects too.

Asia on stage in Royal Oak, Michigan. - Photo: Alun Williams

Today the band are out touring in support of ‘XXX’ signifying the band’s 30th Anniversary and they made a stop in Royal Oak, Michigan, a suburb that’s kind of headed on the north west side of the city and it’s a pretty nice area.
Royal Oak Music Theatre, which was opened back in 1928, is a pretty nice smaller size venue holding around 1700 capacity.

So to the show, there was strict instructions given to all security – As I heard while standing in line to get my ticket - that there was to be ‘NO photography during the bands set.’ When I got to the box office, no photo pass … Uh oh!

So round the back of the venue I went, seeking out someone to put me in touch with tour manager, who I’d been told I could go to if there were troubles at the box office. This took some time and I thought I’d miss the start of the show, as thirty minutes passed.

Still, it happened in the end - You lot think this reviewing lark is a walk in the park huh?! – although the amount of security that kept grabbing me saying ‘no photo’s’ was just crazy, at least five members of the venue security hassled me. Ah well …

OK now, really, to the show!
John Wetton and Carl Palmer of Asia - Photo: Alun Williams

The band hit the stage around 8.30pm and continued until around 10.20pm, lucky us, they played a good mix of material – In my opinion. – covering so much of their back catalogue and included a track that was originally only released as a ‘B’ side to 'Only Time Will Tell,’ which incidentally was the song they started with!
It was a huge hit single back in the day that became very popular in those early days of MTV. Such a great song!
My only gripe on the show itself was that the vocals seemed to come through just a tad muffled, but the music throughout … Great!

 ‘Wildest Dream’ next also from that great first album, really gave everyone the chance to experience Carl Palmer’s greatness, from early on in the show. Seriously, he is phenomenal!

New track, ‘Face on the Bridge’ was next, with a tasty solo from Steve Howe, it’s a great track as are they all on the album, go on, go and check it out!

Geoff Downes, the keyboard maestro - Photo: Alun Williams

‘Time Again’ from the debut release was next and what’s this? The lighting seemed to be a lot brighter …
Hmm, I guess perhaps this ties in with only allowing photographers to shoot the first three songs and no flash allowed.

Ed’s note: Incidentally folks, that is standard press / PR protocol at any gig covered.

Something else I noticed during this song was that for the most part Geoff Downes with his three racks of keyboards, had his back to us, with the forth side open while playing with one hand on one keyboard and the other on any one of the many others. Well now, he seemed to turn and face the crowd, while playing either sets of keys to his right and left and his back to the third rack in between.
Bummer! When I tried to snap him in the first three songs, I was clearly too slow.
Still, the music is wonderful!

‘Tomorrow the World’ from ‘XXX’ is next and it’s the album’s opening track. I just love it, the way it builds from the gentle intro to how it just grows and grows in classic Asia style. The new album, really does seem to be a great return to the band’s classic early sound.


Next John Wetton introduces ‘a track that Steve Howe and I wrote, before the first album was released, that the powers that be didn’t think should be included.’ This is ‘Ride Easy’ the song that was the ‘B’ side to the ‘Only Time Will Tell’ single.
I remember it well and it’s great to hear it again after all these years.
John Wetton then introduces Steve Howe’s solo spot, as Steve grabs a chair and parks himself at the front of the stage with an acoustic guitar in hand and proceed to go through a series of acoustic arrangements, one I believe was a Vivaldi piece.
All nicely done, but I’m really not familiar with his solo acoustic works.

Around ten minutes on, Steve then wraps his spot up and then introduces ‘John Wetton and Geoff Downes are now going to play some different versions of new songs.’

This is just Geoff’s keyboards and John simply doing vocals and first up is ‘I Know How You Feel’ another from the latest ‘XXX’ release.
Sounds really nice too!

Steve Howe, so serious ... Great player! - Photo: Alun Williams

Then John asks the crowd if we would join in on the chorus of this next song and it’s ‘Don’t Cry,’ from the second album ‘Alpha.’
Fun stuff as John encourages the crowd to start clapping in the chorus and sing-along and looks like he’s having fun as well!

The whole band returns to the stage for another gem off the first album, ‘Cutting It Fine,’ magic stuff!
Sounds great, although I would say that when it gets to the section where it’s just Geoff on the keys, he was clearly keeping both hands busy, but I could hear more …
Not sure if Carl Palmer was playing something too, as when the military snare piece was heard, he had his back to the crowd, so who knows, just didn’t look like he was visibly moving, to be playing anything though?

‘Holy War’ from the last album ‘Omega’ and I love this song, although perhaps it was a little lost on the crowd, as a few of the people I spoke with only seemed to be aware of the hits. Shame … Sounded good to me guys!
It’s another of their songs where Carl Palmer really gets to shine and shone he most certainly does, before the drum master then proceeds to continue alone in his solo spot.
The guy is simply amazing, truly so … I know as a drummer I am biased, but nonetheless I felt the audience was equally inspired too!
I wish I could’ve videoed it, phenomenal!

Both hands and feet do so much and I particularly love the part where he’s just going around the cymbals and while one hand continues playing, the other throws the drumstick onto his large ride cymbal, to roll back down to him. He catches it and repeats this from time to time. Nice touch Carl, but he really is something else and all I can say is, ‘… And how!!!?!’

Carl Palmer on drums .. Wow! - Photo: Alun Williams

When he’s done, he introduces the next song ‘An Extraordinary Life,’ from the ‘Phoenix’ album, which was the band’s first reunion album. It’s a really nice tune and the crowd does appreciate it.

‘Open Your Eyes’ is up next from the ‘Alpha’ album and it closes with a massive climax with every one of them getting their moment to shine once again. Great, great stuff indeed!

This wraps up the set and they leave the stage, but the crowd is yelling for more and we’re all happy when they come back to play out with ‘Sole Survivor’ and closing number ‘Heat Of The Moment,’ which at the very end, John pushes the crowd to sing-along with too, after they’ve put their instruments down and come and take their bows.

 A truly wonderful show which I for one, thoroughly enjoyed, as did the nicely filled Royal Oak venue.

Happy 30th Anniversary Asia, now what next?!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Official band website:


Friday, November 2, 2012

Quick Note Update for Friday November 2nd, 2012

Hi folks,
Yes, surprise , surprise you've noticed the lack of updates and yes, been a crazy busy week, with work, poor Rhonda being sick and just anything and everything taking me away from getting this done.
Been trying to work on some reviews in my lunchbreaks, but too many work interruptions ... Even lunchbreaks are no longer sacred!
Anyway, last night I saw a cool gig, Asia were in town playing a smaller venue here in Detroit and it was a cool show.
Carl Palmer, what a star player, how does he do it?!
Wish I could've videod that, if only ...
They all played so well though, no complaints from that angle.
Perhaps vocals could've been a little less muffled, but end result overall was great!
Hope to get that review up tonight or tomorrow.
Sadly, guest reviews promised from friends seem to have not appeared, so I couldn't fill the gaps with those, while I think of wording my own album reviews.

Tonight there is an opportunity for anyone and everyone, who has not yet donated to help those who suffered the storms on the east coast of the US, to watch and donate.
Tonight, NBC has pulled together at very short notice a 'Coming Together' concert to help those who lost so much and need help right now.
Go to to learn more about the show and what you can do to help.
The show will include Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen both New Jersey folks and Billy Joel who has already apparently donated $500,000 towards the fund and many more including Sting, Jimmy Fallon, Tina Fey, Kevin Bacon and so many others too.
Read the Associated Press Release right here:
OK, got to run folks, thanks for keeping your faith in me here, have a fantastic weekend, be safe.
Cheers, Al

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Slight Late News Update for Tuesday October 30th, 2012

Hi folks,
Well, first off our thoughts and prayers go out to all those poor people and families on the east coast.
This storm is being felt all the way to here in Michigan and beyond as people close by are losing power, thanks to winds here gusting up to fifty miles an hour, sixty five mph coming off the lakes here locally.
Poor Rhonda was sick as a dog yesterday, I was rough too ... Somthing got the better of us.
She's still bad today, but I'm OK, of course this is nothing compared what others have been through.
I just pray for families safety, as it's been revealed that 6.5 million have been without power today and the winds and storms are still continuing, across the country.
Hang in there folks, Al  
 The silver eagle has finally landed for audiences worldwide!
After enjoying a limited “Fan Club Only” UK release, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, Saxon’s wonderfully unfiltered and intimate account of their ascent to the upper echalons of heavy metal, will finally enjoy an international release this December. The double-disc set features the soon-to-be-celebrated story of Saxon, while the second disc is packed with bonus features including a full-length performance (on St. George’s Day) from April 23rd, 2008. Rivetingly honest, and including the frank memories of every musician who has played in the band, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie pieces together the earliest incarnations of Saxon, from frontman Biff Byford’s teenage years in the coalmines of Yorkshire and Son Of A Bitch (the first incarnation of Saxon) all the way through to top 10 hits and world tours. “Our music was more sort of machinery banging together, wheels turning, machines making noise,” says Biff of those early, industrial days, “It’s what Heavy Metal is all about. Heavy Metal is all about hard, big sounds bashing your skull in. I used to work in factories where big machinery made lot of noise and I used to sing along to the noises they made.”
It is a documentary which looks for all the world as though it’s a superbly crafted script, as much a tale of pure, honest, working class triumph as just another Rock n’ Roll story.
Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie shows every facet of Saxon on their journey without once diluting the true characters who make up the band. “We basically played every dump and shithole that there is in England over a period, probably just short of eight years,” laughs Biff. “You know classic cliché of transit van, up and down and we used to play more or less every night. One gig might be a good paying gig and the other one might be no money or ten quid but it was an obsession, you had to play every day.” These wonderfully naïve young men sought nothing more than a great gig, a good time and maybe a nice girl, before suddenly finding themselves on tour in the US, exposed to the sorts of things which (quite frankly) Barnsley simply didn’t offer in 1980. And from that point, Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie, takes the viewer on a journey on a Rock n’ Roller of a journey encompassing it all from triumphs to tears to tea-bags and beyond.
Nothing is forsaken and nothing skipped. Despite the fact that to this day there remain problems between the Byford/Quinn and Oliver/Dawson parties, everyone tells the full unedited Saxon story with heartfelt honesty and integrity.
 “We do have a great legacy,” says Byford, “whether you joined the band in 1994 or (as) an original member. There’s a legacy there and I’ve tried hard to not let people demean it and to spoil it and you have to look after that thing that is Saxon.”
Heavy Metal Thunder – The Movie will entertain, engage and charm fans and non-fans alike. That’s a truth as honest as the film itself…
• DVD Digipack (2 Discs)
• Blu-ray
Joe Satriani announces June 2013 UK tour and confirms new studio album
Joe Satriani, one of rock music’s most respected and celebrated electric guitar players, will undertake a 10-date 2013 UK tour starting Saturday 8th June at the Manchester Apollo.
This will be Satriani’s first UK tour since 2010’s Black Swans and Wormhole Wizards tour. Very special guest is blues guitarist Matt Schofield.
Tickets go on sale Friday 2nd November and can be booked online from or call 0844 888 9991 or the venue direct. 



The tour coincides with Satriani’s new solo album released by Sony worldwide in May 2013, followed by a career retrospective box set in the spring.

Earlier this year, Satriani performed a sold out concert with Chickenfoot at the London Brixton Academy in support of the band’s second album III

He also embarked on multiple G3 tours in Australia, Europe and South America, had his music sampled in Nicki Minaj’ hit single Right Thru Me, and appeared as himself in Brad Pitt’s Oscar-nominated baseball film Moneyball.
Read the official press release here:

Joe Satriani - Official Website

Joe Satriani - Facebook

Joe Satriani - Twitter

Joe Satriani - YouTube


Terrorvision - Shaving Peaches - Expanded - Out Now
We're please to announce the re-issue of the classic Terrorvision album 'Shaving Peaches' Expanded Edition is released today.
The Expanded Edition is a 2 CD set and contains a second CD of B-Sides & Mixers.
For more information on the track listing, bonus content and to order this item please head to the official Terrorvision store HERE.
• Originally known as the Spoilt Bratz, Bardford’s Terrorvision (named after an 80s US comedy horror movie) singed to EMI Records in 1991 under their very own imprint label, Total Vegas Recordings. Their single, ‘My House’ from debut album, Formaldehyde (1993) gained favourable Top 30 chart action and it was no looking back for the party-rock-four-piece of Tony Wright (vocals), Leigh Marklew (Bass), Mark Yates (Guitar) and Ian 'Shutty' Shuttleworth (drums).
• With regular UK Single chart action for tracks such as, ‘Alice What’s The Matter’ (#24), ‘Oblivion’ (#21) and ‘Middle Man’ (#25) from their EMI sophomore album, 'How To Make Friends And Influence People' and ‘Perseverance’ (#5) and ‘Bad Actress’ (#10) from third album, 'Regular Urban Survivors,' Terrorvision were also becoming known for their ‘never fail to satisfy’ live performances and in so doing became the default festival band during this mid 90s period.
• Third album 'Shaving Peaches' was released in October 1998 and saw the band employ four different producers, including Edwyn Collins (Orange Juice) and the Utah Saints. The result took the Terrorvision sound into some previously un-charted territory with a more pop-oriented collection of songs. This drew mixed responses from the critics and their by now well-established fan-base, however, when Radio 1 DJ Zoe Ball began regularly airing one of the single b-side remixes of ‘Tequila’, EMI rush released the version as an a-side single, the result of which saw the track reach the number 2 position in the UK Singles chart, the band’s highest ever chart placing.
• Fully Re-Mastered and Expanded Collector’s Edition.
• Adds 12-track second disc of single b-sides and alternative versions compiled chronologically as ‘B-Sides & Mixers’ with 3 versions of the UK No. 2 single, ‘Tequila’.
• Comprehensive story of the album sleeve-notes.
• Visually packed 12 page booklet featuring rare photos and memorabilia images from the period.
• Press reviews to appear in: Classic Rock; Record Collector; MOJO; UNCUT; Q magazines.• Coverage on relevant websites and fan-sites.

To order this item please head to the official Terrorvision store at HERE

Official website:


Monday, October 29, 2012

News Update for Monday October 29th, 2012

Hi folks,
Hope you had a great weekend, we had a pretty good one, although didn't make the Geoff Tate solo gig on Saturday night. Too much personal stuff going on, so had to pull out, but spent some good time with good friends and our family.
Interesting week ahead, although wishing our weekends could all be three day weekends each week.
Don't our employers get enough out of us every day already?!  
Asia play Detroit on Thursday night, would like to go, but don't know if it will happen ...
Anyway, enough of my 'jabba' enjoy your week, have a good one.
Cheers, Al
Announcing Bon Jovi: Because We Can - The Tour
The best just got bigger!
Bringing their signature brand of rock ‘n’ roll back to the people, Bon Jovi will hit the road in 2013 to fill stadiums and arenas worldwide with Bon Jovi Because We Can – The Tour.Blazing a trail across the globe, the tour will kick off in North America in February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, and travel throughout Europe, the Far East, Africa, Latin America and Australia. The band’s return to the road in 2013 will cap an incredible run which has secured Bon Jovi’s status as the essential live rock band – having performed more than 2,700 concerts in over 50 countries for more than 35 million fans, and earning the #1 grossing worldwide tour twice in just three years.
Check this out on You Tube:

Because We Can – The Tour will also debut brand new songs from new album 'What About Now,' due out in Spring 2013, loading even more ammunition into the band’s huge arsenal of hits including “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Who Says You Can’t Go Home,” “It’s My Life,” and many more.
With Canadian dates already announced:
... And European dates imminent, what more could you ask?!
For more details go to:
Marco Mendoza Live in the UK

Folks and to Marco especially, so sorry for the late announcement on this.
Marco, so many emails and the one from your main man back at 'Marco base' ...., just got lost somewhere in the mix, but miss this guy at your peril!
Marco Mendoza is such a great player and genuine guy, a great, no GREAT player, such class and such a genuine nice guy, Marco my friend I'm so sorry I did not post this sooner ...
The man has already played half of his current UK tour dates, to great response but it's not quite over yet ....
Here are the remaining dates:
31 October: Southampton, Talking Heads

1 November: Bournemouth, The Anvil
Go and see him, the man has played in Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy, Soul SirkUS and Ted Nugent to name just a few, but he's jammed with so many more and he's told me that there is an album in the works with Neal Schon and Dean Castronova, yes, the Journey guys!
Expect a class show folks, I'm telling you it will be good!

Marco's home page is:

Rock News Briefs

Jack Blades appearing on "Celebrity Ghost Stories"

Night Ranger / Damn Yankees fans, don't miss Jack Blades making an appearance on "Celebrity Ghost Stories", as he comes face to face with the spirits of Native American warriors out for revenge. 
The episode will air on the Biography Network on Saturday, November 10th at 9pm EST / 8pm Central (check your local listings).
 Set your DVRs now!  Do you believe?

Meantime, don't forget to check out the latest 'Unplugged' live DVD / CD from Night Ranger, '24 Strings and a Drummer.'
It was released just last week and it's well worth checking out!

Here's 'You Can Still Rock In America,' on You Tube ... Very cool!


Scott Gorham on new Thin Lizzy book

Thin Lizzy's Scott Gorham has blessed the new book on Thin Lizzy turbulent career, 'The Boys Are Back In Town,' written by renowned journalist Harry Doherty, by contributing the books foreword.

Here's what Scott has to say about starting with Lizzy and where it went from there:

When I moved to London from California back in 1974, I didn't really have a clue what the future held for me.  I just knew I wanted to get outta there, get my life in order and join a band, hopefully with my then brother-in-law, Bob C. Benberg.

Well, it didn‚t turn out that way, but what did arrive, just before I was due to head back to the States, was an offer to come to an audition for a band called Thin Lizzy, and I had never heard of  them. But I loved their music, and teamed up with Brian Robertson for what would be a crazy, crazy rock 'n' roll ride.

 In the years that followed, we trail blazed around the world, hardly stopping for breath. The downside was that Phil (Lynott) and I became involved with heavy drugs.
We were big buddies and would do everything together, so it was a shock to him when one day, when I decided that I couldn't continue with the drugs any more and realised that the only way out was to quit the band.

Phil was devastated and continued touring for another two years.
But it was something I had to do for my own sanity, my health and the well being of my family.
But I missed my buddy, and when I returned from Los Angeles having kicked the habit, I checked him out and we talked about the past and the future, maybe getting the band back together,
 but, man, he looked terrible.

 A couple of weeks later, we got the phone call that he was in hospital and then passed away. I was distraught. How could this happen?
My best friend had died.

 Since then, along with the Thin Lizzy Trust, I have managed to gain some control of our legacy, hence the remixes and the tours we have undertaken since 1996. It's a legacy worth protecting and now a whole new generation knows what Thin Lizzy and particularly the music, was all about.

 Harry Doherty has collaborated with me on this book. He is the man to tell the story.
He has been writing about the band ever since I joined and has stayed faithful ever since.
Scott Gorham

Thin Lizzy website:

 Journey cancel another show, this time due to Hurricane Sandy

Journey with special guests Pat Benatar featuring Neil Geraldo and Loverboy scheduled for October 30th at Barclays Center is cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy.

All on-line and phone credit card orders will be automatically refunded.

Remaining refunds available at point of purchase.

Official website: