One of the most popular and recognizable bands in the world, Asia reunited for what would be a small grouping of shows in 2006. The small grouping was so successful, however, that the band eventually went on a worldwide tour in 2007 and as a result of that, this concert was born. With some of the biggest fans in the world, the tour soon became one of the biggest reunion acts ever and their 2007 performance in Japan was one of their top performances. Now available for the first time on Blu-ray, fans can witness the famed concert in stunning high-definition video and audio.
Asia, featuring members of Yes, ELP and King Crimson, was the first supergroup of the eighties. Their eponymous debut album, released in 1982, was a huge success racking up global sales in excess of 15 million copies. In 2006 the original four members reunited for the first time in over 20 years for a series of concerts in the US and the UK. The success of this tour led to a full-blown world tour running throughout 2007 in celebration of their 25th anniversary. This Blu-ray was recorded in Tokyo in March 2007 on the Japanese leg of the tour.
Once again a band that I was too young to appreciate (I wasn’t even alive when they were performing originally), Asia is really probably one of the most amazing musical acts I’ve ever seen. I didn’t know what to expect coming into this concert, but man…the sheer excitement from the crowd paired with the intensity of the music and the musicians playing it, this truly was the type of concert you step away from and say “wow.”
I can only imagine the excitement that the crowd felt to witness this live. It seemed as if everyone of the band members in prime condition that night as not a single not was missed and, having not heard any of these songs before, they all sounded absolutely perfect to me. I cannot imagine what die-hard fans must have taken away from this show, as even as someone who had never so much as given them a second glance in the past, I was really impressed by the band. Granted, they’re older now and some of the vocals seemed a tad off, but for the most part it’s an entertaining concert. I can’t say for certain that everyone would enjoy it as a lot of the songs they perform really are overly cheesy sounding, but the fact they’re able to still perform as strong as they did? Yeah, it was quite impressive.
Included in this concert is an eighteen song set list which includes:
1) Time Again
2) Wildest Dreams
3) One Step Closer
5) Without You
6) Cutting It Fine
7) Steve Howe Guitar Solo
8) Fanfare For The Common Man
9) The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
10) Don’t Cry
11) Court Of The Crimson King
12) Here Comes The Feeling
13) Video Killed The Radio Star
14) The Heat Goes On / Carl Palmer Drum Solo
15) Only Time Will Tell
16) Sole Survivor
17) Ride Easy
18) Heat Of The Moment
Overall it’s a great concert and one that comes Recommended. Existing fans will get more out of it, but I enjoyed it for what it was (and I generally don’t like things from the 80s, for whatever reason).
Arriving on Blu-ray for the first time, Fantasia Live In Tokyo arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case with an booklet detailing the band and their famous tour. The concert itself is given in a VC-1 encoded 1080i transfer that is really just as stunning as can be. From the brilliant definition of the lights to the close ups of the band members, everything about this concert simply looked wonderful.
Sadly the same can’t be said for the sound. While watching the concert for the first time in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, I was kind of taken aback by how the instruments seemed to bleed into one another. There was little separation of the instruments and it all just sounded rather muddled in the surrounds. I decided to flip through the available mixes (a DD5.1 track and a 2.0 PCM) and found the 2.0 mix to be the clearest. I encountered this on a few of Eagle Rock’s other concert releases (notably the KoRn title) and it’s a bit of an oddity, but the 2.0 mix sounded a lot better than both of the 5.1’s available on the disc. Even when I let my receiver take over and matrix it out to the surround setup, it still sounded a lot stronger than the 5.1 tracks, which is strange but…there you have it.
Extras are limited, with the only goody being a group of interviews with each of the band members. It’s a nice little history lesson for those who are unfamiliar with the band (i.e., me) and it’s also nice to see what they have to say after so much time together.
Overall a fantastic concert and a fair release; the only thing you gain from the DVD release is the 1080i transfer, as everything else is the same (although the 2.0 Stereo track was included with the original, it apparently wasn’t all that hot either). If you don’t already own it, then it’s Recommended; otherwise, Rent It.
Asia: Fantasia Live In Tokyo arrives on Blu-ray on March 31st.