Asia_logxASIA was a prog-rock supergroup. John Wetton, who’d played with everyone from King Crimson to UK teamed with Carl Palmer, of ELP and Atomic Rooster fame, Steve Howe, the guitar genious of YES, and Geoff Downes, late of YES and one of The Buggles. They produced high-quality slick album rock with progressive overtones and, this is the big point, thirty-four years ago TODAY, they had the number-one album in the country and also played at The Charleston Civic Center.

13501856_1637782939877186_8738112114154969394_nAnd I was there in the third row, with my brother, Frank. Many thanks to Larry Shockley for posting the image of the ticket stub to Facebook, and to Mike Ballburn for the accompanying newspaper ad.

The opening act was a “rock ‘n’ roll juggler” who at one point tossed a flaming tennis ball into the crowd. Of course, it extinguised on the way out there, but that didn’t stop someone from re-igniting it and nailing the poor guy in the crotch. ASIA was in top form, but only played for about an hour.

13522013_1060482637355358_350149000217211549_nThe band didn’t have much material beyond their top-selling debut, and didn’t want to spend half the night covering tunes from their previous bands, so we basically got to hear the entire first ASIA album, one unreleased song that wound up on their second (“Midnight Sun”), a great instrumental by Steve Howe and a keyboard solo from Downes. Still, it was a great show, and it gives us an excuse to run some ASIA clips.

At the top of this post you see the original line-up of the band performing “Only Time Will Tell” in a shaky clip shot in Montreal in early 1983.

Next we see the original line-up reunited just four years ago, playing their classic tunes and songs from their then-new reunion album…

Below you get another full concert by the band recorded in the mid-1980s, after Steve Howe left to form GTR with fellow six-string virtuoso, Steve Hackett. Pat Thrall had taken over guitar duties and the band is still in top form in this show from London.

Enjoy and wistfully remember the good old days when Charleston was regularly treated to top of the line rock bands, instead of the country music and oldies that seem to be all we can get in the Civic Center for the last two decades.