Asia: Symfonia – Live in Bulgaria 2013
Asia’s two-disc live set, Symfonia: Live in Bulgaria 2013, is taken from a show the pop-prog band recorded at the Sounds of the Ages festival in Plovidiv, Bulgaria. Backed by the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra, the three original Asia members (Carl Palmer, John Wetton, Geoff Downes) are joined by Sam Coulson replacing original guitarist Steve Howe on a rockin’ set. “Sole Survivor” into “Time Again” opens with Coulson wailing from the get-go and before the orchestra sits in we get a few solid Asia chestnuts with tunes like, “Days Like These,” (a rather obscure track) and the classic “Open Your Eyes.” Singer John Wetton sounds great on this one especially. Disc two, the second half of the concert, is when the Plovdiv Philharmonic Orchestra sits in. One of the bands biggest hits, “Only Time Will Tell” has the orchestra brass doubling Downes’ signature keyboard opening. It’s a neat tonal marriage for sure. Asia flies into a super fast “Don’t Cry,” (the addition of the orchestra really pushes Emerson, Lake and Palmer alumni drummer Carl Palmer along). The last tune, the big hit “Heat of the Moment,” sees the orchestra pretty much taking over. Symfonia: Live in Bulgaria 2013 is a good listen of a great band in the later part of its life.