YES Announce UK Dates For The Relayer Album Series Tour 2023

Progressive legends YES have announced UK dates for their long-awaited Album Series 2023 Tour featuring their 1974 Relayer album in its entirety together with a selection of other classic YES favourites. Tickets are on sale from 10am on Friday 14th October.

The Relayer Tour was originally planned for 2020 but postponed due to the pandemic and last year’s highly successful 50th anniversary of their legendary Close To The Edge album. The Royal Albert Hall was the original choice for the tour’s London show but has no availability, so the band will make a nostalgic return to an old haunt, the former Hammersmith Odeon.

The coming tour features Steve Howe (guitars), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (lead vocals, acoustic guitar), Billy Sherwood (bass guitar) with Jay Schellen (drums and percussion) stepping into Alan White’s shoes following his passing in May 2022.

The show will comprise of two sets by the band. The first will feature favourite classic tracks from YES’s extensive catalogue. YES will perform Relayer, their seventh studio album, in full in the second set. Relayer marked a slight change in direction bringing an edgier feel to this album. At almost 22 minutes in length, the opening track Gates Of Delirium included a battle scene between keyboard and guitar. The battle gives way to the beautiful closing ballad Soon, a prayer for peace and hope.

Relayer continues with Sound Chaser, a prog-rock-jazz fusion experiment demonstrating the power of Alan White and Chris Squire, and To Be Over, a calm and gentle conclusion to the album, based on a melody by Steve Howe and Jon Anderson.

Released in late 1974 on Atlantic Records, Relayer continued YES’s success reaching number 4 in the UK album chart and number 5 in the US Billboard chart.

The UK Relayer Tour dates for 2023 are as follows:

Saturday 10 June Birmingham Symphony Hall

Sunday 11 June Southend Cliffs Pavilion

Monday 12 June York Barbican

Wednesday 14 June Glasgow Royal Concert Hall

Thursday 15 June Gateshead The Sage

Friday 16 June Liverpool Philharmonic Hall 

Saturday 18 June Manchester Bridgewater Hall

Tuesday 20 June London Eventim Apollo

Tickets from Yesworld.comBookingsdirect.com and all usual outlets.

About YES

Steve Howe: guitars, backing vocals (1970 –1981, 1990–1992, 1995–present)

Geoff Downes: keyboards (1980–1981, 2011–present)

Jon Davison: lead vocals, acoustic guitar (2012–present)

Billy Sherwood: guitar, backing vocals ((1994, 1997–2000), bass guitar, backing vocals (2015–present)

Jay Schellen: drums and percussion

Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and the late, and much-missed, Chris Squire, YES have been one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history. Their 1970s albums The Yes Album, Fragile, Close To The Edge, Yessongs (a triple live album set), Tales From Topographic Oceans, Relayer and Going For The One were ground-breaking in musical style and content. Their music also became synonymous with artist Roger Dean whose distinctive YES logo design and artwork adorned the lavish gatefold presentation sleeves of many YES albums.

With sales of over 50 million records, the Grammy-award winning YES were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 where they performed Roundabout from the album Fragile and the FM radio-friendly Owner Of A Lonely Heart from the 1985 album 90125.

YES released their 22nd studio album in 2021, The Quest, which went to No. 1 in the UK Rock Albums Chart and entered the Official UK Album Chart at No. 20.

In May 2022 came the sad news that drummer Alan White, ever-present in the YES line-up for 50 years, had passed away. The news came shortly before the band embarked on their 50th anniversary tour marking the release of their classic, genre-defining album Close To The Edge.

Review – Virgil & Steve Howe – Lunar Mist

On the 11th of September 2017 a tragic event rocked the home of Steve Howe and his family when his 41 year old son Virgil died of a sudden unexpected heart attack. Virgil and Steve had produced an album together earlier in that year, called ‘Nexus’, this was an instrumental album that brought Virgil’s drums and keyboards together with Steve’s lyrical guitar lines and tones to great effect. Well, after Virgil’s death Steve found an unused and unreleased track, Lunar Mist, that became the starting point for this album in which Steve has completed musical sketches, ideas and concepts and has added bass and guitar to complete an entirely new album. One that not only is a tribute to his son but, one that allows his legacy to continue. Again, this is fully instrumental in sound but in its fourteen tracks lie some beautifully crafted sound scapes and paintings.

The album opens with the title track, Lunar Mist, that starts with single piano notes before a lumbering tone evokes a mist rolling across the landscape. This is a very simple but effective number with lots happening musically. The drumbeat is steady and the bass and guitars lock into the rhythm as Virgil’s keyboard sound evokes the mist, I really like this track, simple yet captivating. More Than You Know features Steve on acoustic nylon string guitar, where his tone is warm and delicate, showing once again why he is so highly regarded as a master guitarist and composer/musician and its gentle nature really makes a fine impression. Plexus sees Steve laying down some suitably fluid pedal steel lines over a delicate piano track. Again, this is another masterful piece and, at seventy-five years of age, Steve Howe continues to make valid musical statements.

This is a generally laid back, mid-tempo album but within all that is the creativity and also the close connection the two had and that Steve continues to hold dear and that shows in this music.

Mariah’s Theme is another commanding piece of music that begins with what sounds like vibes and a delicate synth along with what sounds like either ring modulation or bells. Steve’s guitar is then introduced, alongside a middle eastern sound, it’s all very exotic but, once again, very effective. This is followed by the excellent A Month In The Sun, which allows Steve some space for some inventive guitar parts. The track has a lumbering, swaggering sound that is very effective. This is an album that improves with familiarity as its hidden depths are unravelled. As If Between is less successful and is more throwaway to these ears but it is only a short track so it doesn’t ruin the album. Never Less is more on point for me with a fine blend of Virgil’s piano and Steve’s nylon strung guitar making wonderful music.

Lothian’s Way is another shorter track that has more of Steve’s delicate acoustic guitar offset among a plethora of swirling keyboards. There is a bit of a Celtic effect attempted but it doesn’t really succeed to my ears, even so, it is still a strong and enjoyable piece. Free Spirit is an engaging track that is very reminiscent of those Windam Hill albums of the late 90’s as this ploughs a similar path but ,with Steve’s distinctive guitar tones, this is a definite winner of a track! Eternal opens with strong piano lines leading the music, in fact Steve’s guitar is largely absent in this track and this is a great piece even without it. Dirama is next and is another strong track with very well defined guitar lines from Steve and strong keyboards from Virgil, another brief track but it is a very worthy one.

This album has a variety of moods and tones, all of which, taken together, make for a very pleasing listening experience and you can appreciate the crafting that has turned these ideas into reality in such a gracious and worthwhile manner.

The shorter track Pinnacle is next with short bursts of guitar from Steve offset against expansive keyboards in a concise statement of intent. Pagoda sounds like it should be Oriental sounding but, sadly, is a missed opportunity perhaps? Final track Martian Mood is suitably spacey sounding with lost of ascending and descending synth lines and some great angular guitar interjections.

This concludes an album consisting of some excellent tracks in the main, along with a couple that fail to make much headway and some that could have gone in a different direction, maybe to produce better results. Either way, it’s an interesting album and one that’s definitely worth hearing in memory of Virgil. The cover is by Virgil’s daughter Zuni and very striking it is too.

Released 23rd September, 2022.

Order the album here:

Virgil & Steve Howe – Plexus (lnk.to)

Virgil & Steve Howe – announce release of new album “Lunar Mist”, launch title track 

Steve Howe, legendary guitarist with Yes, is pleased to announce the release of ‘Lunar Mist’ – the second collaboration with his late son Virgil Howe who tragically passed away in 2017. Continuing his journey that is fueled by the love and energies he draws from his wife Jan and their family, a passion for the guitar, and of course, the never-ending drive to create and perform music, ‘Lunar Mist’ will be launched on the 23rd September 2022. Watch the video for the album’s title track here: 

Crafted using Virgil’s unreleased material that had a connection in spirit to their debut collaboration ‘Nexus’, Steve compiled everything together in January 2021 to start work. Stemming from an unreleased bonus track, titled ‘Lunar Mist’, from their debut album, Steve worked at expanding on Virgil’s musical ideas. As Steve explains: “I started by writing chord charts for all the other tunes, before adding guitars and bass guitars to embellish them and bring them to completion. In the most part I kept them as he’d written them but sometimes I expanded them with further ideas and improvisation.”

The result is an album that is unique in both musicians body of work. “Virgil shows some different musical characteristics here that were such a joy to play on. There’s more of his great drumming and a broader inventiveness in his compositions” says Steve.

The album will be available on Limited CD Digipak, 180g Black LP + CD & Digitally, all adorned with a front cover painting by Virgil’s daughter Zuni. Pre-order the album here: https://vshowe.lnk.to/LunarMist 

1.         Lunar Mist 03:52

2.         More Than You Know 03:05

3.         Plexus 04:09

4.         Mariah’s Theme 03:16

5.         A Month In The Sun 04:39

6.         As If Between 02:43

7.         Never Less 02:55

8.         Lothian’s Way 03:06

9.         Free Spirit 02:45

10.       Eternal 03:09

11.       Dirama 02:38

12.       Pinnacle 02:02

13.       Pagoda 02:19

14.       Martian Mood 03:59

Music has been a constant in Steve Howe’s life. In the sixties, he made a name for himself as guitarist of psychedelic pioneers Tomorrow. Joining Yes in the seventies, he helped propel that band to progressive rock superstardom. The eighties found Steve at the top the charts once again as a founding member of supergroup Asia, and later, GTR. Concurrently, Steve developed a brilliant solo career, performing and honing his skills as a producer, releasing more than twenty albums. Together with wife Jan, he’s raised a family, and steered side projects with son Dylan in The Steve Howe Trio.

Steve Howe’s creative passion has put him on a lifelong journey on pathways, ranging from jazz, blues and classical, to folk, bluegrass and rock. His prolific solo career defies easy categorization, making each new album a venture into genre-bending territory that always bears his inimitable imprimatur. Always pushing forward with studio craft and virtuosity, each of his albums reflects the insights he has gathered along the way.

Live Review – YES At Manchester Bridgewater Hall – by John Wenlock-Smith

This was a particularly good show, if not just a little strange at times. The evening started with a few words from legendary album cover artist Roger Dean, who has worked with Yes for over 50 years, a true gentleman and very enthusiastic about the works he has created for the band over the years.

He started off by talking about the loss of Alan White and played a short sequence of images of Alan’s time with the band, then Yes came onstage and started their first set with On the Silent Wings of Freedom from the ‘Tormato’ album, a song that rarely gets played live. The band were up for it though with Steve Howe especially energised for the proceedings.

There were a few gremlins sound wise but the band got through it very professionally. Billy Sherwood’s Bass was a huge sounding behemoth, very Chris Squire like in tone, and he played some exceptionally good lines throughout. Billy has a certain air about him, like a rock god from a bygone age with his long flowing hair and his boots very much an image, but he can certainly play that bass like a master. New drummer Jay Schellan kept things very tidy at the back, solid and uncluttered, much like Alan White used to really.

This latest incarnation of Yes is very much orchestrated, led and driven these days by Steve Howe, who was constantly issuing instructions to the other band members with his hands or voice. Steve is the last member with a connection to their golden age (of which ‘Close To The Edge’ is a major capstone of course). Sure, you could moan about the lack of the presence of either Rick Wakeman or Jon Anderson, however the integrity of this band stays true under Steve’s guidance. Jon Davison may not have the presence of Anderson but he is a very fine singer for this version of Yes.

The band then played Yours Is No Disgrace, which was the first of several longer pieces performed tonight. This song was obviously a long-time favourite of many of the audience who’s average age was sixty plus. It is very strange being part of a crowd this old and you definitely know it is odd when the toilet queue is twice as long for me as it is for women!

We then moved onto No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed, from the ‘Time and a Word’ album, one that no one onstage had been a part of but still played it with much gusto, making it one of the highlights of the evening so far. This was followed by a rousing version of Does It Really Happen from ‘Drama’ and Geoff Downes’ keyboards really shone making it really stand out. We were then treated to Steve Howe’s solo guitar piece, The Clap, which he delivered to much acclaim and a rapturous response.

The latest Yes studio album is ‘The Quest’, which got a mixed critical response. Well, here tonight ,the two tracks they played, The Ice Bridge and Dare To Know, were both very well received, with Steve howe really on fire with his playing, he gave the recurring riff and melody some real oomph! This led to Heart Of The Sunrise from ‘Fragile’, another lengthy workout for all the members again with the thunderous bass from Billy really made this memorable, it was another highlight for me.

After a short break and queuing for the toilets the show recommenced with the main event of the evening, legendary album ‘Close To The Edge’ in its entirety.

The three songs, Close To The Edge, And You And I and Siberian Khatru are possibly the very essence of Yes, they were certainly different to much that was around in 1972. These pieces both retain and contain all that makes Yes so loved, mystical lyrics and driving and unorthodox time signatures where musicians really worked and stretched a piece of music to the maximum. This evening the songs did just that, with an especially fine rendition of And You And I. With some dramatic and effective pedal steel guitar from Steve at the end, it soared out over the audience and was again very well received. Siberian Khatru was also well received and was an excellent finale to proceedings, with the crowd up on their feet clapping along with the music.

Then it was encore time and what could it be but Roundabout and Starship Trooper, both of which really rocked out, sending everyone home extremely happy and satisfied at what they had seen, Yes doing what they do best, remembering a lost colleague and progressing onward as only they can. It was an astonishing and wonderful evening and performance plus, to top it all, Roger Dean signed my copy of the Topographic Oceans CD!

You can buy tickets for the remainder of the shows at this link:

https://yesworld.com/live/

YES’ Launch YouTube Interview with Steve Howe & Geoff Downes about 50th Anniversary Close to the Edge Tour

Following the sad news of the passing of drummer Alan White, YES will go ahead with their forthcoming The Album Series Tour 2022 in June celebrating the 50th anniversary of their iconic album Close to the Edge, dedicating the tour to Alan White.

On 25 May 2022 Steve Howe & Geoff Downes spoke to Prog Magazine Editor Jerry Ewing ahead of the Close to the Edge 50th Anniversary Tour. This interview was recorded before Alan White passed away.

Here’s a link to the interview:

The Album Series Tour 2022 will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of YES’ iconic album Close to the Edge and will feature the album, performed in full, along with other classic tracks from YES’ extensive catalogue.

The Close to the Edge show will comprise full production and high-definition video wall directed by Andy Clark and featuring the artwork of Roger Dean who will also be joining the tour with an exhibition of YES related art.

The tour line-up will feature Steve Howe (guitars and backing vocals), Geoff Downes (keyboards), Jon Davison (lead vocals), Billy Sherwood (bass guitar and backing vocals) with Jay Schellen (drums and percussion).

About YES

Formed in 1968 by Jon Anderson and the late, and much-missed, Chris Squire, YES have been one of the most innovative, influential and best-loved bands in rock music history. Their 1970s albums The Yes AlbumFragileClose to the EdgeYessongs (a triple live album set), Tales From Topographic Oceans,Relayer and Going For The One were ground-breaking in musical style and content. Their music also became synonymous with artist Roger Dean whose distinctive YES logo design and artwork adorned the lavish gatefold presentation sleeves of many YES albums.

With sales of over 50 million records, the Grammy-award winning YES were inducted into The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2017 where they performed Roundabout from the album Fragile and the FM radio-friendly Owner Of A Lonely Heart from the 1985 album 90125. In 2021 YES released their 22nd Studio album, The Quest, produced by Steve Howe, which went to No.1 in the UK rock chart and entered the Official UK Album Chart at No. 20.

Review – Asia In Asia Live At The Budokan Arena, Tokyo, December 1983 – by John Wenlock-Smith

The history of Asia is an often complex, involved and even a troubled one as the back story to this latest instalment in the Asia canon testifies. This latest release in band’s history is the then ground breaking satellite broadcast, live from Tokyo’s legendary Budokan theatre on 9th December 1983. This was also the first live video broadcast by MTV, however there was a problem in that, weeks earlier, after lacklustre sales of their hastily recorded follow up album saw it peak at number 67 on the Billboard chart, as opposed to the colossal sales of the band’s debut ‘Asia’ (1982).

Not only had ‘Alpha’ failed to match their debut’s success, the band themselves were also unhappy with the album’s mix and also the haste in which they had been ushered back to the studio to record it. On top of all that Asia were struggling internally with tensions between members, namely John Wetton and, well, anyone really! The success of the debut had hit John hardest as he was unaccustomed to the level of celebrity success had bought, John was also drinking heavily and this was affecting his performances with the ‘Alpha’ tour being particularly affected. So much so that latter dates were pulled. All of these frustrations reached a head and the band’s Management and label demanded a change be made and so John was duly dismissed..

The difficulty was that Asia were scheduled to do the MTV gig but had no lead singer. Time to call in a favour…

Carl Palmer called his old colleague Greg Lake from his ELP days and asked him for his help, Greg consented but was unfamiliar with Asia’s music and had to rely on a teleprompter for the actual show. The band started rehearsals in London with a view to being competent enough for the show. In fact, they played a rehearsal show the evening before at the Budokan to evaluate everything out and to make sure it all worked. The gig went off well and was a success technically, the show was released on video and laser disc but was then largely forgotten and subsequently overtaken by other events in the Asia world. It is now forty years since that show and the film has been overhauled for a re-release. This set includes vinyl and CDs of the show and the rehearsal show and a Blu-Ray of the show and, also, a version of the original laser disc cut of the show.

The sound has been remixed and remastered for premium sound and there is new artwork for the set and lovely it is too. The draw here will be this much improved sound and, when coupled with the previously unreleased rehearsal disc, this should be a rather good selling point. In fact, the sound is exceptionally good and clear and you can hear the band really giving it some oomph! In addition, you can see this for yourself t in the accompanying Blu-Ray, where you can enjoy the energy of show and witness all the members of Asia really playing their hearts out, especially Geoff Downes impressive keyboard set up and his antics during the show.

Greg Lake proves to be an exceptionally good fill in for the departed John Wetton and his bass is muscular when needed. It’s good to see him this way as his Asia tenure was short lived, one that sadly failed to bear any additional fruit. There are no bonus features, as such, and a documentary detailed in the booklet does not appear to be there. Even so, this set has merit and it reintroduces a not insignificant global event that was unique and ground-breaking in many ways.

The band were on form, and it is good to have this record of this event in its remixed and remastered glory once again. The tracks are from the debut with a few select tracks from the ‘Astra’ album. With both Wetton and Lake no longer with us, this set gives opportunity to view that strange moment of musical history once more and I, for one, am extremely glad to be able to do so.

Released 10th June, 2022.

Pre-order here:

Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983 [VINYL] (lnk.to)

Interview With Steve Howe by John Wenlock-Smith

In this piece I talk to Steve Howe about about both the forthcoming Yes UK live dates, why they are not playing ‘Relayer’ this time around and about the ‘Asia in Asia’ box set that is due out in June.

John Wenlock-Smith – Good afternoon Steve, are you keeping well?

Steve HoweYes I am, thank you.

JWS – You are in Devon today then?

SHYes, in a secret location! I moved here some 26 years ago from London and, whilst I still live in London, I visit as much as I can as my studio is here.

JWS – Fair enough. I have spent many happy times in Devon. It is a lovely area.

SHYes, well I certainly like the slower pace as opposed to the madness of London!

JWS – So the tour that you are doing in June, how come you are not going to do the ‘Relayer’ album, as originally announced and intended?

SHWell, with it being a shorter run of dates, as we cancelled the European leg, it’s now just the ten shows in the UK. We felt that it was better to postpone that particular album, especially as ‘Close To The Edge’ is 50 years old this year, and perform that in its entirety instead. We will also do a few other favourite songs and some of ‘The Quest’ album, although I’m not saying which we will play, keep it under wraps as it were. 

So that is the plan now, and save ‘Relayer’ till next year when we can give it the treatment that it deserves, so we chose to concentrate on playing CTTE this time around, to give it a good airing and celebrate the anniversary in this manner.

JWS – Yes, because you have had Patrick Moraz along for some shows doing ‘Gates of Delirium’ ?

SHWe had Patrick play Soon with us on a tour that Tony Kaye had joined us for, the celebratory tours. We like doing that sort of thing, although we have no plans on that as yet, not that to say that that it’s out of the window but, at the moment, we are concentrating on getting back out on the road after three years enforced time away.

Also, that is why coming back after 3 years away, we are doing what we are comfortable with and can do to the standard that is required and that Yes fans warrant and demand.

JWS – Yes, I can understand that way of thinking, plus it leaves the way open for a further tour with ‘Relayer’ being featured.

SHExactly…

JWS – I am glad that tracks from ‘The Quest’ will be featured, as I really enjoyed that album. I thought The Ice Bridge was exceptionally fine, reminiscent of Fanfare For The Common Man in the keyboard sounds, and also your solo Album ‘Love Is’, with Jon Davison on vocals.

SHThank you.

JWS – Well I thought it was a good set of songs, well performed.

SHYes, Jon did a wonderful job on that, didn’t he?

JWS – I also really enjoyed the ‘Homebrew 7’ album.

SHThank you, that was quite different for me in that it did not have the usual Homebrew story but was mostly unreleased tracks and ideas that I was able to work to fruition and completion. It was a retro album of music that was unreleased so thank you again for appreciating that.

JWS – I enjoy listening to latest music, especially music that you have released, so what are the chances of having your two original Atlantic albums (‘Beginnings’ and ‘The Steve Howe Album’) being re-released again?

SHWarner’s, Rhino, Atlantic or whoever have been so nice to me, they are officially releasing those albums, so I will investigate that. I think it’s marvellous to be part of the story of Ahmet Ertegun (Atlantic label founder).

Howe Sound, the label that releases many of my albums, is quite diverse really and I feel comfortable with what they release for me, plus I like to do things differently and not be stuck in a treadmill way of things.

JWS – I do not blame you, variety is the spice of life, or so they say.

SHIndeed.

JWS – Now Asia, that new Boxset (‘Asia in Asia’) that is coming out in June (10th) is very impressive…

SHBMG have released the Reunion albums, with Fantasia releasing the DVD but this one is even nicer. That is, I especially like the diligence, I like detail anyway and this set really has an elevated level of detail to it, making it worthy of attention. When we did those shows some forty odd years ago, Greg (Lake) was really inspiring in that he was singing John’s (Wetton) parts, playing his bass lines too and doing it all with dignity and aplomb.

The Asia story is all told within those sets really, the two original albums, ‘Go’ and ‘Asia In Asia’ and then the years where Geoff was holding the banner, keeping the flame alive as it were, with various people drifting in and out including myself. Then there’s the reunion and subsequent albums and tours, it’s all in those albums and the ‘Asia In Asia’ especially shows a period where Greg really rose to the occasion magnificently as the set testifies in such a great way.

JWS – The only criticism I have, and it is a minor one really, is that, in the booklet, it mentions a documentary filmed around that time in which each member traces their Asia journey and, although mentioned, I cant see it on the Blu-Ray?

SHWell, I thought it was there, but I will investigate that and see. Although Blu-Rays are notorious for not being easy to find things on, I know that from experience, so I will check into that for sure.

JWS – I agree that Greg did an outstanding job. This is borne out in the remixed audio on the CD’s where he sings, albeit in a lower register on some tracks, but in a very accomplished manner and his bass playing is equally as inspiring too.

SHWhen I heard the audio for the mix, it was good until we got to the last two tracks, Heat Of The Moment and Sole Survivor, where they sounded awful. So I took it up with the label and they said Steve’s really on the ball, those two tracks hadn’t been remixed. I insisted that they were brought up to the same standard and I’m glad to say that they did just that and now they sound fantastic.  

JWS – Good, I am very much looking forward to seeing you in Manchester on the tour.

SHGood, well I love the Bridgewater hall, I played a solo concert there several years ago and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. It reminded me of those early shows where I learnt my craft, like the one when I played support to Delaney and Bonnie along with Eric Clapton and George Harrison etc, remarkable times and music.

JWS – Have you heard Geoff’s Downes Braide Association stuff at all?

SHYes, I have heard that it is an exciting outlet for his music.

JWS – Plus Roger Dean participates in the artwork for that.

SH – Yes, well Roger is a big part of the Yes story, he will be on the tour too.

JWS – Well Steve, my time has gone, so may I just thank you for your time today and I will hopefully see you in Manchester next month.

SH – Thank for talking to me and for your interest in my music and of Yes too, thank you John.

Order the Asia boxset here:

Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983 [VINYL] (lnk.to)

ASIA IN ASIA – LIVE AT THE BUDOKAN ARENA,TOKYO, DECEMBER 1983 – VIDEO FOR SOLE SURVIVOR – DELUXE BOX SET, 2LP, 1CD & DIGITAL

Released on 10th June

Multi-platinum selling English supergroup ASIA recently announced they are to release ASIA In Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983, as a Deluxe box set containing: 2LP, 2xCD, 40 page 12” book, Blu-ray video, printed memorabilia and ‘ASIA’ pin badge, through BMG Records on 10th June 2022. Also available as a 2LP Gatefold, 1CD and Digital Formats.

Pre-order here: https://asiaband.lnk.to/budokanPR

Here’s a link to a live performances of Sole Survivor and Here Comes The Feeling from the concert:

ASIA, Geoff Downes (The Buggles & YES, keyboards & backing vocals), Steve Howe (YES, guitars & backing vocals) and Carl Palmer(Emerson, Lake & Palmer, drums) with special guest Greg Lake (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, bass & lead vocals), visited Japan at the end of two years of touring to promote their phenomenally successful eponymous debut album (1982) and the follow-up Alpha (1983). 

The second of three shows at the historic Budokan arena in Tokyo, on 6th December 1983, would make history as first live broadcast between Japan and MTV in America, an amazing achievement for its time. This performance has previously only been available on VHS. The concert featured some of ASIA’s biggest and most memorable tracks including, Time AgainOnly Time Will TellSole SurvivorWildest Dreams and the global hit single Heat Of The Moment.

Greg Lake stepped in, at short notice, following the sudden departure of ASIA’s founder member John Wetton ahead of the Japanese dates. Despite a short period for Lake to learn the songs, and some changes to the arrangements to accommodate Lake’s different vocal range, the Japanese shows were hailed a great success.

Carl Palmer was proud of his former ELP bandmate for performing exceptionally in the situation. “Greg Lake did a great job jumping into John’s shoes. So many songs to sing, he did it so well. It was impressive.”

Geoff Downes, too, was pleased with the event, especially given the massive undertaking. “It was a grand and sumptuous affair. The stage was the iconic ‘A-frame’ shape we had for the US tour. I think we pulled it off admirably in the end. There were some good people behind us: crew, lighting designers, cameramen and backing singers, it was quite a production.”

The show was an important global commitment,” says Steve Howe, “so we had to rise to the occasion, which we did, with Greg’s help. We couldn’t have done it without him, for sure.”

For Downes, the release stands as a testament to the band’s resilience. “It deserves its place in the Asia catalogue. Aside from its musical strengths, it demonstrates the level of professionalism that we have always striven to bring to the ASIA name.” 

This newly packaged box set includes:
· Exclusive new artwork by Roger Dean

· Colour vinyl 2LP of original MTV Telecast concert audio, remixed 2022 from the master tapes, with two previously unreleased, post broadcast encore tracks

· 2 x audio CD: 

· Live at The Budokan Arena, Tokyo, Japan, MTV satellite telecast concert (6 December 1983, USA time), remixed 2022 from the master tapes by Matt Wiggins and Rick Nelson

· Live at The Budokan Arena, Tokyo, Japan, previous night’s show (6 December 1983, Japanese Time), remixed 2022 from the master tapes by Hiroki Furutani

· Audio-visual Blu-ray of restored original broadcast concert with 2022 remixed audio (Duration: 1hr 20 mins), plus restored original concert laserdisc featuring alternate camera angles (Duration: 1hr)

. 40 page, deluxe 12” book with rare and unseen band photos, memorabilia and extensive new sleeve notes new quotes from the original band members

· New, bespoke metal and enamel ‘ASIA’ logo pin badge

· Printed memorabilia: 

· 2 x exclusive new Roger Dean artwork A3 posters 

· 2 x reproduced live broadcast original concert tickets 

· Replicated, matt laminated original AAA backstage pass

· Original concert VHS advert

· 3 x glossy 8” x 5” rare band photos

ASIA In Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983 Tracklist (2 x LPs, CD1 & CD2)

1. Introduction From Mark Goodman (MTV)

2. Time Again

3. The Heat Goes On

4. Here Comes The Feeling

5. Eye To Eye

6. Steve Howe Solo (Sketches In The Sun)

7. Only Time Will Tell

8. Open Your Eyes

9. Geoffrey Downes Solo (Ihiri – The Setting Sun / Bolero)

10. The Smile Has Left Your Eyes

11. Wildest Dreams

12. Carl Palmer Solo

13. Heat Of The Moment

14. Sole Survivor

15. Cutting It Fine

16. Daylight

ASIA In Asia – Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983 is available as a Deluxe box set containing: 2LP, 2xCD, 40 page 12” book, Blu-ray video, printed memorabilia and ‘ASIA’ pin badge, as well as 2LP, 1CD & Digital formats on 10th June 2022 through BMG Records.  Pre-order here: https://asiaband.lnk.to/budokanPR

About ASIA

ASIA was a true rock ‘supergroup’ bringing together the talents of John WettonCarl PalmerGeoff Downes and Steve Howe who had already amassed tens of millions of record sales with their collective bands of the 70s.

Leaving behind their progressive roots, ASIA embraced the commercial FM rock sound that dominated US airwaves and took that, and the new MTV video channel, by storm.  The single Heat Of The Moment was a world-wide monster smash and their eponymous 1982 debut album spent an incredible 9 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard chart as ASIA became the biggest selling album of the year and world tour dates sold out.

A second album, Alpha, was released in 1983. The four original members reconvened in 2006 for a world tour, to celebrate the 25thanniversary of that incredible success, and the album Phoenix followed.

While the members were still heavily involved in other projects, they came together again to record Omega in 2010 and XXX in 2012, both albums were acclaimed by their faithful fans and supported by more world tours.

Steve Howe stepped back from ASIA to concentrate on his work with YES and was absent for 2014’s Gravitas. Following this tour came the news of John Wetton’s treatment for cancer, a fight he sadly lost in 2017.

Review – ASIA – The Official Live Bootlegs – Volume 1 – by John Wenlock-Smith

Asia are celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their debut album next year, can you believe it has been 40 years since ‘Heat of the Moment’ first graced our airwaves! That album, of course, was a spectacular success and gave a new lease of life to a disgruntled Steve Howe who had been left in the cold by Yes as they had regrouped around Trever Rabin and Chris Squire. Steve was invited to join John Wetton, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes in his then latest venture that brought the worlds of progressive music and AOR together in spectacular musical and financial success.

This set consists of five double CD’s featuring hitherto unreleased recordings of Asia in 1982, 1983, 2007, 2008 and, finally, 2010, recorded in the USA, Brazil, Japan and London. These sets are quite different in that the sound is always good and most noticeable is the bass of John Wetton, being often prominent and the band are playing very tightly and obviously enjoying themselves Naturally, many of the tracks are repeated over the five shows, although Carl Palmer’s drum solo moves from track to track as these albums progress.

The first set was recorded on Asia’s first US tour and, obviously, their debut album is prominently featured, although a new track that would appear on ‘Alpha’ was unveiled, albeit in a quite different version to the one that ended up on the album, as this features all four members playing keyboards to a drum machine backing before morphing into a full band performance where Steve Howe gets to wail and Carl Palmer hits things loudly. A lively rendition of Only Time Will Tell stands out with Geoff’s keyboard being prominent and John in fined voice indeed. In fact, Asia have seldom sounded rawer than this and everyone sounds in good form, this performance is particularly feisty and energetic. The rest of this set is fuelled by the balance of songs from their debut, Carl Palmer’s Drum solo and the double whammy of Sole Survivor and Heat of The Moment.

The second set is from August 1983 in Worcester, Massachusetts and this is a mixture of the debut and ‘Alpha’ albums along with Steve Howe’s solo segment of Beginnings/Valley of Rocks/Clap and Carl Palmer’s drum solo in Here Comes the Feeling, culminating in Sole Survivor and Heat of the Moment again.

The third set  was recorded in Brazil shortly after the band reformed in 2007 and this set features tracks from their recently released album ‘Phoenix’, which stand up well to their earlier classics. Also Roundabout gets a dusting off here with John Wetton taking on the Jon Anderson parts. Well, he even gets a Chris Squire type sound and tone and his bass drives the song along nicely. It is great to hear these musicians really stretching themselves, though the sound is a bit crackly on this number, for some reason, but it doesn’t detract from what is an excellent version of a great song.

There is a version of Fanfare for the Common Man from Carl’s old band, ELP, and, again, we are in for a real treat here with Geoff Downes’ keyboards sounding not unlike a certain Mr. Emerson, and Steve’s guitar interjects and adds little flourishes throughout before he lets fly with a brief solo. It’s all highly effective stuff, as is the short bass solo from John Wetton. This set also includes a King Crimson track, In the Court of the Crimson King, and The Buggles’ song Video Killed the Radio Star.

Set four is from Tokyo in 2008, just before ‘Omega’ was released. The ‘Phoenix’ album is featured with An Extraordinary Life standing out. Again, solo tracks from each member are included and this is also the longest of these sets at nearly 2 hours in length. The sound is uniformly good throughout and it is great to hear .

The last set in this collection comes from London in 2010 and is a great return to form for the band. Featuring, as it does, lesser played tracks like Finger on The Trigger and Through My Veins from the ‘Omega’ album, along with a Steve Howe solo and the usual Carl Palmer drum solo during The Heat Goes On. The set concludes with Sole Survivor, Go (from ‘Astra’) and Heat of The Moment.

The collection features new art from Roger Dean and a brief, but informative, booklet detailing each of the shows, just a shame that John Wetton is no longer with  us to celebrate this significant anniversary. This box set is a wonderful way in which to both remember, and celebrate, a rather rawer and more ferocious Asia than their albums showed. It is a great collection, pricey but worthwhile as Christmas is soon with us!

Released 26th November, 2021.

Order the box set here:

Asia – The Official Live Bootlegs, Volume One – Horizons Music

YES launch video for ‘Future Memories’; ‘The Quest’ hits charts worldwide

YES, who are Steve Howe, Alan White, Geoff Downes, Jon Davison and Billy Sherwood, recently released their new studio album The Quest on InsideOutMusic/Sony Music The album was produced by Steve Howe. “Much of the music was written in late 2019 with the rest in 2020. We commissioned several orchestrations to augment and enhance the overall sound of these fresh new recordings, hoping that our emphasis on melody, coupled with some expansive instrumental solo breaks, keeps up the momentum for our listeners,” said Steve.

Today the band are please to reveal a video for the track ‘Future Memories’, watch it now here: 

‘The Quest’ also sees its physical release in North America, as of today.

Pick up your copy here: https://yes-band.lnk.to/TheQuest
The album has also been hitting charts worldwide, find a selection of them below:
#7 German Album Charts

#20 UK Album Charts

#1 UK Rock Album Charts

#5 Swiss Album Charts

#8 Japanese International Weekly Charts

#23 French Physical Album Charts

#37 Belgian National Album Charts

#54 Dutch Album Charts

#60 Italian Album Charts

The Quest was recorded across the globe, The sessions took place in the UK with Steve Howe, Geoff Downes & Jon Davison, while Alan White & Billy Sherwood got together in the studio in the US. “Billy Sherwood and myself did all the rhythm sections, bass and drum, in America,” says Alan White, “down in Los Angeles at Uncle Studios, where he works a lot. It helps when you’ve got a good place to work,” Alan laughs, “and Billy’s really good on the recording desk, so we got things down relatively quickly. I spent quite a while studying the music before I went down to LA so I was prepared.”
The Quest is also now available for pre-order on various formats, including a Limited Deluxe Box-Set that features a Gatefold 180g 2LP on exclusive coloured vinyl, 2CD+Blu-ray Digipak (featuring 5.1 mix & backing tracks), 36-page perfect bound booklet, enamel pin badge, 60x90cm poster, slipmat & hand-numbered certificate of authenticity, all housed in a rigid lift-off box.

Containing 11 songs, 8 on the main CD with 3 extra tracks on a bonus CD, The Quest will also be available as Limited 2CD+Blu-ray Artbook, 2CD Digipak, Gatefold 2LP+2CD & as Digital Album. Order now here: https://yes-band.lnk.to/TheQuest

The Quest – 2CD Digipak tracklisting:
CD1: 01. The Ice Bridge 7.01 02. Dare To Know 6.00 03. Minus The Man 5.35 04. Leave Well Alone 8.06 05. The Western Edge 4.26 06. Future Memories 5.08 07. Music To My Ears 4.41 08. A Living Island 6.52

CD2: 01. Sister Sleeping Soul 4.51 02. Mystery Tour 3.33 03. Damaged World 5.20

Formats are:Limited Edition Deluxe 2LP & 2CD plus Blu-ray Box-setLimited Edition 2CD & Blu-ray ArtbookGatefold 2LP & 2CD plus LP-booklet2CD DigipakDigital Album
Cover artwork designed and created by the band’s long term collaborator Roger Dean.

YES Story
For half a century YES have been the definitive band of the progressive music genre, the band by which all others are judged. Their ground-breaking albums of the 70s set the standard for the genre and influenced countless others who followed in their wake.

The current line-up of YES was completed in 2015 when Billy Sherwood replaced founder member Chris Squire, at Squire’s insistence, as he bravely fought a losing battle with leukaemia. Since then, YES have concentrated on touring with their Album Series tours, each featuring a classic YES album in its entirety. During this period YES have released three live albums Topographic Drama – Live Across America (2017), Yes Live 50 (2019) and The Royal Affair Tour: Live in Las Vegas (2020).

The music of YES has endured over the years and has been handed down through generations of music lovers.