Thirty years ago, four of progressive rock’s most revered musicians hatched a plan to form a supergroup.
Steve Howe, revered guitarist with Yes; Carl Palmer, a virtuoso drummer who’d proven his worth with Atomic Rooster and Emerson Lake & Palmer; Geoff Downes, keyboard wiz late of the Buggles and Yes; and John Wetton, who had played bass for Family, and handled both bass and lead vocals for King Crimson and UK, gathered beneath the moniker Asia. The band’s debut was a monster hit in 1982, probably because it deftly blended the ridiculous amount of instrumental virtuosity within the band with short, pop-centric pieces that had “album rock radio” written all over them.
Like most supergroups, Asia has seen musicians come and go over the years, but over the past five years, the original members have been consistently making time away from their other bands to get together. A new album, “XXX,” came out a few months back, and a 30th anniversary tour, including a much-heralded performance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, is under way.
Asia is mainly playing larger halls, so Saturday’s 8 p.m. show inside the 450-seat Bear’s Den in the Seneca Niagara Casino, is indeed a rare event. Tickets start at $65 (box office, Ticketmaster).
– Jeff Miers