Asia Tickets for Sale

What do you get when you put together members of quintessential art-rock bands Yes, King Crimson and ELP? In the case of Asia, you get a mainstream band who angered their old fans while selling millions of albums. The art-rock movement was on the wane when Asia formed in the early '80s--the bands who survived, most notably Genesis, were now making hit singles with progressive overtones. Asia was the first band formed to ride that wave; their debut album was state-of-the-art commercial rock for its time, creating a formula that many bands, including Asia themselves, would try unsuccessfully to copy.

Asia is a progressive rock group. It was formed in 1982 as a supergroup, with former members of Yes, King Crimson, Emerson Lake and Palmer, and Buggles. The band's early offerings were considered disappointing by music critics and fans of traditional progressive rock, who found the music closer to radio-friendly AOR pop. However, the band clicked with fans of such early-1980s arena acts as Journey, Boston, and Electric Light Orchestra. Asia's eponymous debut album enjoyed considerable commercial success. The singles "Only Time Will Tell" and "Heat of the Moment" became huge Top 40 hits.

Originally comprising Yes guitarist Steve Howe, ELP drummer Carl Palmer, Crimson bassist John Wetton and Yes/Buggles keyboardist Geoff Downes--with material written largely by the latter, more commercially-minded duo--Asia scored a runaway hit with its self-titled 1981 debut. The hook-driven sound and teen-oriented lyrics of "Heat Of The Moment" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes," along with the relative cuteness of the musicians, struck a chord with an MTV audience that didn't know King Crimson from B.B. King. Meanwhile, old fans looked for something to grab onto--a neat Howe solo here or a bit of Palmer percussion there, along with trademark album covers by Yes-associated designer Roger Dean.
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The second album, Alpha and the singles taken from it, "Don't Cry" and "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes", did not repeat the chart success of the first. The third album, Astra, was a commercial failure. Asia's only other hit single from this period was "Go", and in 1985 the band died. Downes revived it in 1989, to a poor reception even from its fans. A 1992 club tour featuring Howe (whose presence was heavily promoted) angered even the band's most ardent supporters when a clearly indifferent Howe only took the stage halfway through the show.

The 2001 Arena album showed a return to progressive rock form, but without recapturing the commercial success of the first album.

Personnel
Geoff Downes - keyboards and vocals (ex Yes and Buggles)
John Wetton - bass and lead vocals (ex King Crimson and UK)
Greg Lake - temporary replacement bassist, vocalist for 1983 Asian tour (ex Emerson Lake and Palmer)
Steve Howe - guitar and vocals (ex Yes)
Carl Palmer - drums (ex Emerson Lake and Palmer)
Mandy Meyer - guitar and vocals
Pat Thrall - guitar
Al Pitrelli - guitar
Michael Sturgis - drums
John Payne - bass and lead vocals
Aziz Ibrahim - guitar
Elliot Randall - guitar
Luis Jardim - percussion
Guthrie Govan - guitar
Chris Slade - drums
Other musicians joined and left after a short time (including Greg Lake), without recording any material with the group. Yet more played as session, guest or live artists without formally joining Asia.

Discography
1982 Asia (Downes, Wetton, Howe, Palmer)
1983 Alpha (Downes, Wetton, Howe, Palmer)
1985 Astra (Downes, Wetton, Meyer, Palmer)
1992 Aqua (Downes, Payne, Howe, Pitrelli, Palmer)
1994 Aria (Downes, Payne, Pitrelli, Sturgis)
1996 Arena (Downes, Payne, Sturgis, Ibrahim, Randall, Hotei, Jardim)
2001 Aura (Payne, Downes, Howe, Chrichton, Randall, Thrall, Govan, Slade, Sturgis, Colaiuta, Jardim, Levin)