Asia Boxset Celebrates A Supergroup’s Finest Live Moments

by Geoff Ford

Multi-platinum selling English supergroup Asia are to release a 10CD boxset The Official Live Bootlegs Volume 1 through BMG Records on 26th November 2021.

Asia was a true ‘supergroup’ pooling the talents of Geoff Downes (The Buggles, Yes, keyboards), Steve Howe (Yes, guitars), Carl Palmer (Emerson, Lake & Palmer, drums) and John Wetton (King Crimson, UK, bass/vocals). They had already amassed tens of millions of record sales with their collective bands of the 70s before they took the world by storm.

Leaving behind their progressive roots, Asia embraced the commercial FM rock sound that dominated US airwaves and the new MTV video channel.  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 25th anniversary 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.

The Official Live Bootlegs Volume 1 celebrates the huge appeal of the concert tours that followed Asia’s first two albums in 1982 and 1983 and the later reunion albums. The slipcase boxset features 5 x 2CD concerts from 1982 (Buffalo, NY, USA), 1983 (Worcester, MA, USA), 2007 (São Paulo, Brazil), 2008 (Tokyo, Japan) and 2010 (London, UK).

“This historical collection represents some of our finest and most defining live moments,” says Stockport’s Geoff Downes, “from the very first Asia tour in 1982 and the Alpha tour the following year through three of our many ‘Reunion’ shows. It was such a privilege to take ASIA’s music to these different continents and feel the warmth and support from fans all over the world. We hope this brings back great memories and inspires others to appreciate the music of Asia”.

The sets for Asia’s original 1980s tours featured only the band’s new music. For the ‘Reunion’ years tours, Asia included heritage tracks from each of the band member’s pre-Asia groups. The 2007 and 2008 concerts also feature the Wetton/Howe composition Ride Easy, a song omitted from the debut album that was issued as the B-side of Heat Of The Moment, and included in their later live repertoire as a thank you to their fans for their support over a quarter of a century.

This the first time these recordings have been made officially available by Asia and they are presented together in a superb collector’s edition boxset with original artwork by Roger Dean, who created all of Asia’s album artwork.

Asia, The Official Live Bootlegs, Volume 1 is available as a 10CD boxset on 12th November 2021 through BMG Records.