John Wetton/Geoffrey Downes Icon
Acoustic Tv Broadcast
2006, Frontiers Records/Zink Music
Last year came what many Asia fans had waited for: the release of Wetton/Downes’ ICON album. Last year an EP was also released that received a very warm welcome by the media.
This CD is a special acoustic live album recorded for TV broadcast and also released as a DVD. This recording was made in October 2005 in London. Wetton/Downes have deconstructed their songs into acoustic versions, and the only instruments featured on the album are acoustic bass, piano, and cello (which is played by ELO’s Hugh McDowell). Besides the 13 original songs, they have included a bonus track exclusive to this CD called “There in Your Bed”. The CD includes both songs from Icon and old Asia classics. Amongst them we find the huge Asia hit “Heat of the Moment”.
The CD itself works pretty well, the three guys simply sit in a TV studio and perform their songs and that’s OK. What’s not OK is the lack of inspiration and the lack of talking in between the songs. The songs just come in a row and that makes the album sound a bit stiff. The whole arrangement makes the album feel like just another studio album and not a live one. The guys are backed up by what sounds like an enormous choir, but imagine my surprise when I watch the DVD and find out that no one is actually in the choir. In other words, the choir must be programmed, and the same goes for the keyboards. All of that contributes to the lack of a live feeling, and to be honest, this disc leaves a lot to the imagination. The versions of the songs are OK, all the musicians are skilled, and John Wetton’s voice fits the music perfectly.
When this disc/DVD was recorded, the gentlemen were quiet about their plans for a 25th anniversary reunion of the founding members of Asia including Steve Howe and Carl Palmer, which were published in February 2006. Asia were booked to play at the Sweden Rock Festival in June but had for some reason cancelled the gig. But that doesn’t stop the Icon cooperation. Wetton/Downes are continuing to work together and a third album under the Icon name is due to be released. When asked about the Wetton/Downes reunion for the Icon series the answer was simply that they missed playing together.
Personally, this isn’t a favorite album of mine but I’m sure that any Asia fan can tell me that I’m wrong. Favorite tracks amongst the 14 ones are “Heat of the Moment”, “Voice of America”, “Sole Survivor”, and “Only Time Will Tell”.
John Wetton – lead vocals, bass
Geoffrey Downes – keyboards
Hugh McDowell – cello
Heat Of The Moment
Voice Of America
Let Me Go
God Walks With Us
Meet Me At Midnight
The Smile Has Left Your face
I Lay Down
Open Your Eyes
Only Time Will Tell
In The End
There In Your Bed (bonus track)