27 April 2015
ClassicRockRadio.co.uk Concert Time Machine
Target: Asia in Houston TX 2001
Finally declassified by the usual suspects, a report has emerged written by yours truly, that this July 9th, would be the 14th anniversary of it's first presentation. Why not wait until this coming July 8th to spring forth again you ask? You know, I really don't have an answer for that. Guess I'm impatient. Cut & pasted for your enjoyment, a much younger Uncle G's special report on seeing the supergroup Asia in concert in Houston Texas, the year being 2001.
Note: Due to this being more than a decade later, technological advances make it possible for me to accompany images. Just text the first time around. All would be from my own personal collection. Please don't use without my permission. Used in kind with theirs (hopefully). And so it was written...and so it's now done.
09 July 2001
Hey Asia / YesRelated Fans,
Here's my report from PointFest. HeatFest is more like it. The
first time scheduled to play, we had the flooding here in Houston. Talking to
a guy the day before who was in the Congo during that, he told me he was
watching in horror the reports on television. A day Houston will never
forget. And with yesterdays heat attack, a day all in attendance and I'm sure
the guys in Asia will never forget either.
I got their early so I could get up front. And I did. Front row center. Hours
later I'll find myself right in front of John. Until then, I had to survive
through the heat, and occupy my boredom through the four bands that was gonna play before Asia. I wasn't sure if I would make it. In all respects, the
bands were all good. It was the sun. Simply overwhelming. I spent a small
fortune just in water and ices. A couple next to me left after the first
band. The lady was getting sick. She just about passed out. I should have
invested a few bucks in sunscreen. My back is solid red. Sunburn you would
not believe. To make it a little more interesting, during Berlin, a fight
broke out. Right next to me. After the couple left I just mentioned, I became
friends with the small group that unfortunately ended up being involved. And
they were real nice to me too. They took it upon themselves to make sure I
was okay with the heat. And the fight happened so fast. Before I knew it, the
cops were there. Handcuffs and maze. Not a pretty sight. All because a few
people cut in front of them and blocked their view of the stage. My main
thought was that I could not get arrested because I didn't see Asia yet. I
was now on a mission that I was determined to complete. I just moved over.
The group that befriended me were arrested and taken away never to be seen
again. The members in Berlin watched what was going on while playing, and
didn't miss a beat during the whole commotion. I'm sure this will be a gig
they won't forget about soon.
Finally, the reason why I was there. It was Asia's turn. I didn't write a set
list. I did take some pictures. The guys were fabulous! With just the Roger
Dean drawing of their new album cover behind them, they gave an impression
that was 100% professional. Even before they took the stage, once everything
was set up, the keyboards, the drums with the cool Asia logo, gave an
appearance that the crowd was about to see a top-notch band.
Asia in Concert:Photo by Gary Brown
Turn out according to the radio station who sponsored the show was good. Kids
to old people were in attendance. And I could see the Asia fans in their
either new or older tee-shirts. Another couple I ran into, drove three hours
just to see them. People were spread throughout the park. In the pit where
the stage was, and on top of the hill. Their were even people on the next
property over enjoying what was for them a free show.
Asia in Concert: Photo by Gary Brown
Needless to say, when the band played the classics, the place went nuts. I
was so impressed with the way John, Guthrie, and Chris played those songs.
The diehard "classic" fans can say all they want, but these guys played these
songs with style and flare, making it obvious the respect they had for the
original music. And they looked like they were having so much fun playing
them too. Smiles were plentiful from the band. Funny thing, because the crowd
was so diverse, several in attendance didn't know the difference as to the
fact that all these four played on the originals or not. The kids, the
teenagers, the older people, the fans of the other bands who played before,
no one really cared. By looking at their actions, they enjoyed it, and that's
all that matters.
The new material went over well. It was a pleasant surprise for this "Day 1"
Asia fan to look around and see how much the crowd really seemed to be liking the new stuff.
One of my favorite moments of the show was watching the band perform the
title track from their last CD entitled, Arena. Again, a pleasant surprise as to how much the crowd got into that. A favorite song of mine from the Payne era, I
watched teenagers dance and really getting into that, with the odds being
good that this was the first time they were hearing the song. A first time
for everyone involves an "unreleased song", an instrumental, that was played
whose credit went to Guthrie. Hopefully this crowd pleaser will appear on the
next Asia CD.
Asia in Concert:Photo by Gary Brown
Once the band walked off the stage, according to the couple who drove three
hours to see the band play, it was well worth it. From hearing Geoff play
Video Star to the newest material, the unreleased Guthrie rocker, the band
covered themselves well.
Afterwards, the whole band came out for a meet and greet. Gracious, funny,
humble, accommodating, these words come to mind. Obviously I was already a fan before I got there, but after being around the band in a more personal setting, I walked away with a new found admiration / respect for these guys. There was a nice size crowd there, so not wanting to take advantage, I got a couple things signed. I had Geoff sign The Buggles, Age Of Plastic CD, as well as
his solo release The Light Program. Chris signed the Firm's first release,
and an AC/DC Live that I had on cassette. And of course the pullout ripped.
But who better to damage it, but Chris. "Ripped in half by Chris Slade", too
cool. Guthrie signed my Aura CD, putting "Houston 2001" under his name. And
John was last. What a great sense of humor this guy has. Anyway, I walked up
to him after he had walked aside talking to a couple people. I mentioned the
AOL chat he just did, and he proceeded to talk about that, sounding happy
about the experience. He signed Aura for me, and Arena. What ended up the
icing on the cake, I got my picture taken with the group before I left.
Left to Right: Guthrie Govan, Chris Slade, ClassicRockRadio.co.uk - Gary Brown, John Payne, and Geoff Downes.
I intended for this to be a short report. I guess I had a few things to say,
and I'm glad I sat here and typed it out. Of course I want Asia to come back
to Houston. Hopefully with this lineup. And perhaps on a double bill, and
please guys, think seriously about being booked in an indoor venue.
NOWADAYS on Twitter @GBrown0816
BONUS IMAGES / SCANS
In Person Autographs: From the Gary & Alexandra Brown Autograph Collection
01. Inside CD Asia - Aura (2000): Guthrie Govan, and John Payne
02. Inside CD The Firm - The Firm (1984): Chris Slade
03. Backside of The Buggles - Age Of Plastic (1980): Geoff Downes
04. Front cover of Asia - Arena (1996): John Payne
|Asia - Aura (2000)