RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Asia - Symfonia - Live in Bulgaria 2013
Frontiers Records
http://originalasia.com/symfonia-live-in-bulgaria-2013/

Rating: B

On September 21, 2013 during the Sounds of the Ages Festival at the second century Ancient Roman Theater in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, Asia recorded a special performance that was later broadcast on Bulgarian National television.  The show saw Asia begin their set as a rock band and end it as a band performing with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Levon Manukian.  Asia’s music suits the classical treatment better than many bands.  The biggest hits by the band shine as they are delivered with the precision that only this kind of musical performance can bring.

This release is timely as it also serves as a nice tribute to vocalist John Wetton who passed away from cancer in January 2017.  John shines on each song.  His cherry personality shines through in-between the tunes as well.  He is a true musical icon and is very much missed.  This performance only brings to the heart the sadness all of his fans feel.  Seeing and hearing him in his natural setting—on stage—is a fine way to remember him.

The late Wetton commented on this performance not long before his death.  “The show in the glorious Roman Theater of Plovdiv, with orchestra, along with the massive Sweden Rock Festival and the shows in the UK and the show European tour thereafter, were the first dates of the new chapter of ASIA—and in my opinion, the band has never sounded better.”

The best of the bunch are the songs from the first two albums that includes “Sole Survivor” and “Time Again” from the rock version of Asia.  With orchestra the first two albums are represented by “Only Time Will Tell,” “Don’t Cry,” “The Smile Has Left Your Eyes,” “Wildest Dreams” and “Heat of the Moment.” 

Asia was then, and remains a very good band that balances progressive elements, musical virtuosity and pop sensibility.

Wetton is best remembered on this one for a song that casual Asia fans do not even possibly know…”An Extraordinary Life”  John had one indeed… and we are all the better for it.

Tracks:
CD1:

    Sole Survivor
    Time Again
    Face On The Bridge
    My Own Time
    Holy War
    An Extraordinary Life
    Days Like These
    Open Your Eyes

CD2:
    Only Time Will Tell*
    Don’t Cry*
    Heroine*
    The Smile Has Left Your Eyes*
    Wildest Dreams*
    Heat Of The Moment*

*Performed with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra

DVD // BLU-RAY:
    Sole Survivor
    Time Again
    Face On The Bridge
    My Own Time
    Holy War
    An Extraordinary Life
    Days Like These
    Open Your Eyes
    Only Time Will Tell*
    Don’t Cry*
    Heroine*
    The Smile Has Left Your Eyes*
    Wildest Dreams*
    Heat Of The Moment*
    Interview Segment

*Performed with the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra

ASIA
John Wetton – Lead Vocal and Bass
Geoff Downes – Keyboards and Backing Vocals
Carl Palmer – Drums
Sam Coulson – Guitars.

By Jeb “One Step Closer” Wright

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