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Wetton & Downes - Icon Acoustic TV Broadcast (CD/DVD)

Wetton & Downes
Icon Acoustic TV Broadcast - CD&DVD
by Grigoris Chronis at 24 April 2006, 6:45 AM

I almost fell asleep with this one. And how could it be less bad? There's fresh memory evoking from the Icon (2005) release, an album with really calm tracks that made Asia look like a really neck ripping Grindcore outfit. Ok, the artist's musical option is his decision, but - on the other hand - the buyer's wallet must also decide when and where to spend some money.
This CD/DVD release is - as mentioned in the Frontiers newsletter accompanying the promo pack - following the warm response both the Icon debut CD and follow-up EP had during the summer of 2005. Really hard to believe such an impressive 'strike', even if the names of John Wetton & Geoffrey Downes are of extremely high recognition for all followers of the AOR/Melodic Rock sound. To be a part of the multi-million sellers Asia, probably the best AOR band ever to emerge from England, is no small story. Agreed? Hence, the fact of Wetton and Downes collaborating again after many years would bring nothing less than a good smile on the faces of (at first) the Asia followers. Unfortunately, the Icon album was too mellow to cover my expectations; maybe the average AOR 40-year-old fans saw something interesting in this release. Still, no dynamics were apparent. Hence, this CD/DVD pack carries on the 'tradition' and sees the duo - along with some guests - working on some acoustic versions of Asia classics and Icon tunes for a TV broadcast that took place during October 2005.
The songs themselves (either format) are nothing interesting overall. Well, not 'nothing interesting' but rather 'nothing impressive'. Either way, Asia's songwriting had the potential to guide the listener through tons of keyboards plus solid rhythm sections; the absence of these factors remove any wish for something vivid, the only key point remaining whether the vibe is good or not. And it is just good, only due to the legendary duo.
The bonus stuff of the DVD disc contains a 16-minute interview with both Downes and Wetton, plus there's a good 'behind the scenes' trailer showing the session setup. Especially for the DVD disc, I can't escape mentioning the lack of intensity in the video shot. With Downes, Wetton and Hugh McDowell (ex-E.L.O.) on stage, there's a general 'let's get outta here ASAP' idea that accompanies the quiet versions of cuts like Heat Of The Moment, Voice Of America, Sole Survivor and Don't Cry. All three musicians seem rather robot-ized and with no natural behavior at all…
Summing it up: Only for Asia / Icon fanatics. This release is only for Asia / Icon fanatics. Bear in mind that this release is only for Asia / Icon fanatics. Don't buy this combo unless you bear in mind that this release is only for Asia / Icon fanatics!!!

2 Star Rating

Heat Of The Moment
Voice Of America
Let Me Go
God Walks With Us
Sole Survivor
Meet Me At Midnight
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
I Lay Down
Open Your Eyes
Only Time Will Tell
Don't Cry
In The End
There In Your Bed

DVD (Bonus Features):
- Interview with John Wetton and Geoffrey Downes
- Behind The Scenes Footage
- Photo Gallery
John Wetton - Vocals, Bass
Geoffrey Downes - Keyboards
John Mitchell - Guitar
Steve Christey - Drums

Guest Musicians:
Annie Haslam - Vocals
Mike Stobbie - Keyboards
Ian McDonald - Flute
Hugh McDowell - Cello
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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