Whenever the band Asia comes up now, I immediately think of the scene in "40 Year Old Virgin" where Seth Rogen's character disses Carell's character for having a framed Asia poster in his house because it's shameful. Even though my job is to review a wide variety of DVDs, I feel ashamed to be a reviewer for the first time as I actually watched "Asia-Fantasia In Tokyo" DVD.
As you can tell by the title, Asia (which consists of singer John Wetton, drummer Carl Palmer, guitarist Steve Howe, and keyboardist Geoffrey Downes) played In Tokyo. The concert took place in March of 2007 and contained the following setlist: 1. Time Again 2. Wildest Dreams 3. One Step Closer 4. Roundabout 5. Without You 6. Cutting It Fine 7. Intersection Blues 8. Fanfare For The Common Man 9. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes 10. Don't Cry 11. In The Court Of The Crimson King 12. Here Comes The Feeling 13. Video Killed The Radio Star 14. The Heat Goes On 15. Only Time Will Tell 16. Sole Survivor 17. Ride Easy 18. Heat Of The Moment
As Asia is a corny has been 80's band, it comes as no surprise that this concert had me cringing for most of the 155 minute running time. From the ear piercing out of tone vocals of Wetton to the screeching glass shattering keyboards of Downes, the concert was certainly not a musical treat. Half the time, I kept hoping someone would Hulk Smash the keyboards to end this viewer's suffering.
Another problem was the songs. It's never fun to hear classic songs like Yes's "Roundabout" and the Buggles version of "Video Killed The Radio Star" being ravaged so bad that you want to reach for ear plugs. As for their "original" material, there's nothing original about it. When the band sings "So Many Lines You've Heard Them All" from "One Step Closer," they weren't talking about a woman. They were talking about their lyrics.
The set is not a complete waste. The King Crimson song "In The Court Of The Crimson King"
is performed well since it's less focused on vocals and more instrumental. The final (and the only palatable Asia song) "The Heat Of The Moment" is also worth a listen. It truly is one of the ultimate guilty pleasure songs. It was also enjoyable to watch the reaction of the crowd as their concert customs are different (a majority wore suits...to an Asia concert!)
The 16:9 widescreen picture is clear enough to see Steve Howe aging right before your very eyes.
The audio tracks can be summed up with one word: yuck! Even though viewers have the option to choose from 3 audio tracks (Dolby Surround 5.1, DTS Digital Surround Sound and Dolby Digital Stereo), it doesn't hide the fact that the concert audio was poorly recorded. My main beef is that the keyboards overpower all sounds (especially the drums and the fans).
The only extra here is a 40 minute interview with the four Asia band members. The four discuss their individual careers (in bands like King Crimson, Yes, Emerson, Lake, and Palmer, etc.), how Asia was formed, fans, friendships, songs, etc. Worth a watch only if you like Asia.
To sum up my thoughts on "Asia-Fantasia Live In Tokyo," I leave you with a quote from Tenacious D- "You're too old to rock, no more rockin' for you." Skip it.
Film and television enthusiast Nick Lyons recently had his first book published titled "Attack of the Sci-Fi Trivia." It is available on Amazon.com.