sharan: (Default)
I just posted this review on Rockers Online and decided to repost it here:

Tonight I went to see Asia, the original lineup, playing at the Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, CA. This show was a dream come true for me. I've been a huge Asia/John Wetton fan since the first time I heard "Only Time Will Tell" back in 1982 and it blew me away. I saw them live once in 1983 at the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium back in NY (with Chris De Burgh opening for them). But then John Wetton, who is my favorite singer, left and Geoff Downes continued the band with John Payne, whose singing I never really liked and who I never really thought fit the band's sound (I apologize to those of you who actually like him). I honestly tried to get into the new band, but other than maybe Aqua and the Archiva cds I just couldn't get into them at all, and I finally gave up after Arena and stopped buying them entirely. There was still John Wetton's great solo career, and I was lucky enough to see him live several times over the past few years, but I always dreamed of the original lineup of Asia getting back together. This year, for the 25th anniversary of the band, it finally happened!

I had been hoping to make the Long Beach show on Wednesday, but homework got in the way (Damn you, Maya!). But I already had my tickets for this show and wouldn't miss it for everything! So a friend ([ profile] chythar) and I headed up there early, and got there shortly before the doors opened, only to find an already long line waiting to get in. The Canyon Club is a dinner theater, and we had the reserved dinner tickets, so we got to sit and have an overpriced dinner before the show, but it gave us decent seats where we could actually sit and enjoy the show. I'd heard a few days earlier that the show was close to being a sellout, and after seeing how many people were there in the standing room behind us I suspect it probably did sell out. It was a huge crowd, far more than I'd seen at any of the John Wetton solo shows I'd been to.

The band came on stage, and it took some of the beginning of the first song for them to get warmed up, but they quickly hit their stride and, once they did....WOW! They were incredible! The playing was so tight you'd think they actually had been playing together for the full 25 years! The band played for about an hour, then took a 15 minute break and came back for another set. They started with songs from the Asia CD, and said they'd be playing the full album, plus songs from previous bands. The first of those they played was Yes' "Roundabout", and I'd seen Yes with Dream Theater at the Gibson Amphitheater on a recent tour and Asia totally blew Yes away (then again Dream Theater totally blew them away that night too. Maybe it was just an off-night but Yes did not put on a great show). They also played songs from Emerson, Lake and Palmer ("Fanfare for the Common Man"), King Crimson ("In the Court of the Crimson King"), and one big surprise, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" - not just Geoff Downes doing it as a keyboard solo like he's done in the past, but the full band did the entire song, with John Wetton singing through a megaphone at the beginning. Geoff even got all dressed up in a silver jacket and sunglasses like it was a Buggles video.

After the first set I was wondering if they were going to play anything from Alpha or Astra, but they started the 2nd set with acoustic versions of "The Smile Has Left Your Eyes" and "Don't Cry" from Alpha. They never did play anything from Astra, but I guess that's because Steve Howe wasn't in the band at the time. They had the expected keyboard and guitar solos, and Carl Palmer did an amazing drum solo during "The Heat Goes On". After they left the stage for the second time, they came back for an encore with another surprise, the B-side to the "Heat of the Moment" single, "Ride Easy". After that they finished the show with "Heat of the Moment" itself. I had actually spent some time earlier in the day figuring that one out on guitar for a Beginning Pop/Rock Guitar class I'm taking, and I was pleased to see that I seemed to have gotten it pretty much right!

The response from the audience was great from the very beginning. Every single song got a standing ovation from those of us seated in the dining area. The band seemed to be really enjoying the response. John Wetton looked especially happy, and had a big grin on his face after seeing the response to the first song, and made comments on the great reception they got. It was good to see the band enjoying themselves so much, and I only hope that with such a strong response at the shows they'll decide to continue with this lineup in the future!

After the show Carl Palmer and Geoff Downes were there to sign merchandise (the line for that was out the door). Unfortunately John Wetton wasn't there, but someone behind me said they heard he had a cold. But I at least got 2 of their autographs, and got to tell them what an incredible show it was and that I hope there will be many more to come! All in all, it was an amazing show, and definitely one of the best concerts I've ever been to.

BTW, I got some not too great pictures with my cell phone like the ones above, so I'll be adding more pictures to the Asia page.
sharan: (Rockers Online)
Well, that was a busy (and hot) weekend. I was hoping to finish up the Mailing List administration pages for Rockers Online done and maybe one of the others (FTP, Mailing Lists, Newsgroups, and Online Chats). Instead I finished ALL of those! Woohoo! Now I just need to finish the code to display everything on the band/artist pages and figure out how I'm going to handle the affiliate links in the database, and start adding bands! Then this can finally go live.

And I did all this even considering [ profile] chythar came over Saturday for an all-day Dungeon Siege 2 marathon.

In other news, [ profile] chythar and I also managed to get tickets to this show. I'd heard Def Leppard and Journey were touring together but was annoyed when I didn't see any dates listed around here, so when [ profile] chythar told me about it on Friday I was definitely interested in going:). And thanks to Google we were actually able to get halfway decent seats in the Internet presale, since by the time the tickets went on sale to the general public there was really nothing left but lawn tickets!


Mar. 23rd, 2006 04:44 pm
sharan: (Default)
Well, I made it back from NY and spent 2 days in L.A. before I headed up here to San Jose, where I'm sitting right now in the Women's Group gathering at the IGDA booth at the Game Developer's Conference. It's mostly just a bunch of people standing around talking, so I thought I'd post here:). Before I went to a roundtable on how to attract women into the games industry. They talk about that a lot, but I think they can really look at science fiction fandom as an example. It'll probably be a gradual process (you really can't force something like that), and it really does take the right types of women.

Yesterday there was a really fascinating keynote address by Ron Moore about Battlestar Galactica and how he took the old series and adapted it for the new one. He obviously put a LOT of thought into what elements he kept and what he changed and why. And it worked, too, since it's a pretty damn good show! I still have to watch the last couple of episodes of this season. They actually showed one scene I haven't seen yet, but it was something I pretty much saw coming anyway.

It really seems to be womens day here, since tonight Microsoft have its annual "women in games" party. Now if only they wouldn't keep turning me down for their scholarship! Not that I really want to have to do an internship with them up in Washington, but USC is damn expensive so if they'd pay a full year's tuition it would seriously help!

Last night I went to the Independent Games Festival/Game Developers Choice awards, which was cool, but I have to say, Guitar Hero was robbed of Game of the Year;). Shadow of the Colossus won. Guitar Hero did win an innovation award, best audio, and the company won the Maverick award. Nintendogs won Best Technology (and another innovation award). And it was cool to see the 2 creators of the original Adventure win a "First Penguin" awards, and Richard Garriott (Lord British), creator of the Ultima games, won a Lifetime Achievement award.

NY was fun, BTW. The second John Wetton show was also great, although he was in a rush to leave at the end so I didn't really get a chance to talk to him. I also got to see an old friend Beth (she goes by Liz now), which was great! I knew her from high school (one of the few people from there I actually want to stay in touch with). She started bringing me to Rocky Horror every week during my senior year.

Well, I'm going to go back and see if I can actually get into any of these conversations:). If nothing else, [ profile] costikyan is here.

At Lunacon

Mar. 18th, 2006 12:02 am
sharan: (Default)
Well, I did finally make it. I was going to try to convince my mother to just let me borrow her car but then I took one look at the real time traffic conditions online and it looked awful.:( So I took the LIRR to NJ Transit, and it wasn't actually THAT bad. The worst part was waiting around in the cold for about 1/2 hour for the hotel shuttle! Because of that my plans didn't turn out exactly as I'd hoped. You see, by some weird, bizarre coincidence, I found out last week that John Wetton was doing shows here this weekend. Yes, John Wetton, my absolute favorite singer, who VERY rarely does any shows in the U.S.! And not only that, tonight the show was literally 1 mile from the hotel Lunacon is in! Tomorrow night it's at the Knitting Factory in NYC, and I'll be meeting an old friend there and then probably staying with her in Queens and going home from there (I need to call her tomorrow to confirm everything). So as soon as I got to the hotel I had to rush over to find a taxi to the show (fortunately one of the people who works for the hotel was nice enough to give me a ride, and told me to call the hotel to get a ride back. As it turns out, I didn't need to do that.

Well, I was going to wait and write a big review of both shows and the Dream Theater show last Friday I never got around to reviewing, but what the Hell:). I might as well write a quick review of this one while I'm still thinking about it! Because of the hotel shuttle delay I missed the beginning and the meet and greet with John Wetton. Fortunately I was able to meet him later on, anyway. The show was at the Bergen County School of Rock East, which is something I REALLY wish they'd had when I was a kid! Most of the show was the kids from the school performing, alone or with John Wetton, and I have to say the kids were pretty amazing! And rather than hearing all the newest hits, these kids were playing old music you'd think most kids their age would consider their parents music! But they obviously loved it! Even the shirts some of them were wearing were for bands like AC DC and Motley Crue. There was one kid who looked really young to me (I'm not a good judge of age but I was thinking he didn't look older than 12 or 13) who was an incredible guitar player! He was very fast. We may have the next Yngwie Malmsteen or something similar here:). The others were also great!

I guess taking guitar classes now is really affecting me, since I really found myself paying attention to how people were playing, and I really enjoyed the show, even during song I'm normally not that into. With John Wetton, they played an interesting mix of his older bands' music, 2 Asia songs ("Without You", which was pretty amazing, and of course "Heat of the Moment"), and not a single solo song. Normally it's the Asia and solo music that I prefer, but tonight I enjoyed it all! John Wetton himself was in much better shape than the last time I saw him, and put on a great show!

During the show I ran into a few people I'd met at previous John Wetton shows, and I would up hanging out with them (and they later gave me a ride back to the hotel). I also got to get John Wetton's autograph and a picture taken with him after the show, and got to talk to him for a few minutes, which was really nice! He's definitely a really nice guy! I told him how much I'm looking forward to the Asia reunion that's coming up! I told him I'd probably be at the Knitting Factory show tomorrow night too.

Well, even though it's only 12:23 L.A. time, I suppose I should get to sleep so I don't sleep through the entire con tomorrow and have to leave for the concert! I did come here to go to Lunacon after all! I did get to see a couple of people in the hotel lobby after I got back at least.
sharan: (Default)
I just got back from seeing the band Sonata Arctica at the Key Club. I was really annoyed that I missed Stratovarius there a few months ago, so when I found out about this show last week (I really need to keep up on the music news better or I'm going to wind up missing these things!) I knew I had to go. Sonata Arctica are one of the best progressive metal bands from Europe, and this was the first chance I've had to see them live! No one else seemed to want to go so I decided to drive up to Hollywood myself, and I'm glad I did. Thanks to Yahoo Maps I found a great way to get there (Wow. Friday night driving up to Sunset in Hollywood and NO traffic??? Nice!). I didn't even leave the house until 10 since I didn't feel like sitting through any opening acts I'd never heard of, but I made it in plenty of time to see Sonata Arctica. I even got to hit the merchandise table downstairs and was really sorry I hadn't taken more cash out on the way! I could easily have dropped $100+ there on cool shirts/sweatshirts/necklaces. As it was I had to settle for one T-shirt, a very nice tie-dyed blue shirt with a wolf on it (which the singer later turned out to be wearing). It's probably for the best since I do need to save money!

The band put on an amazing show! This was their first show in L.A., as they mentioned several times, and they seemed to be having a great time! They played a great mix of music from all their albums, and the audience seemed really into them. In fact when they left the stage the first time I was actually surprised by how may people were yelling for them to come back! Very few people left, which is pretty amazing for L.A., where sometimes I think people have never HEARD of encores! We would NEVER let a band leave the stage that easily back in NY! Too many people here are just in too much of a hurry to leave so they can get back to their cell phone conversations:P. Well, it was NOTHING like that at this show! The crowd really seemed to want them back, and the band were happy to come back! For an encore, they played a medley of songs they had never played live before, followed by 2 other songs, followed by a few scattered bits of other music (including a little "Smoke on the Water", which had me thinking of Guitar Hero, a GREAT game I recently got hooked on).

The band seemed as reluctant to leave the stage as the audience was to have them leave. The keyboardist signed a few autographs for people up front, and the entire band took multiple bows. After the crowd finally left I headed outside. There were still a lot of people standing out there waiting for the band to come out, but I had a long week and hadn't thought to bring any cds along to get autographed, so I decided to just head home.

I also forget just how great exercise concerts are;). Anyone who's seen me at a concert knows I don't exactly just stand there. I once had a guy at a Dream Theater concert back on the East Coast try to tell me it wasn't a disco;).

Well, now I have the Dream Theater concert March 10th to look forward to! (I already got tickets, and [ profile] chythar is going with me.) And now I should go repost this on Rockers Online, which could badly use some new content!

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