Multi-platinum selling supergroup Asia are celebrating their 40th anniversary with new 5-CD boxset, The Reunion Albums: 2007-2012. The package includes the three albums (Phoenix, Omega and XXX) that reunited original members John Wetton, Steve Howe, Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes. The reunion albums are presented together in a collector’s boxset designed by Roger Dean, who produced all of the artwork on the original albums.
A dual-CD live recording, Fantasia: Live in Tokyo rounds out the package and features many of the tracks from the band’s first two albums, Asia (1982) and Alpha (1983) as well as heritage tracks from each band member’s musical history. The live concert also includes an acoustic version of Ride Easy, a B-side from the band’s debut single, Heat of the Moment, performed for the first time.
We spoke with guitarist Steve Howe about the new boxset, 50 years of Yes’s landmark single Roundabout, and his undying love for Martin guitars…
How did The Reunion Albums: 2007-2012 boxset come about?
“Because there hasn’t been much touring, there were discussions with management about the idea of taking a look at those three albums which had recently returned to our ownership.
“When I listened back to Phoenix, Omega and XXX, it was a delight to put them in perspective. It was a very productive period for the band. Phoenix has a bit more intricacies and proggy bits and the other albums are a development from that starting point. So we decided to put together a boxset with Roger Dean and everyone else who’s worked with us. It’s marvelous.”
The set includes the 2CD live concert Fantasia, Live in Tokyo from 2007. Did the idea to do a full-on reunion album build out of that tour?
“When we met in 2006, Geoff said he and John were starting to write together and that there was enthusiasm from Japan, America and England. At the time, Yes had taken a hiatus and I thought, ‘Great! I hadn’t played this music in years.’ My only pre-condition was that we would play the songs more meticulously than we did in the old days.
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