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2024 is the Year Of The Dragon

Asia 2024 is Geoffrey Downes, Virgil Donati, John Mitchell and Harry Whitley.

In the Summer of 2023, Geoff Downes spear-headed a memorial concert to remember and celebrate the life of his late, much-loved friend and Asia co-founder member, the great John Wetton. At the concert, he invited rock n roll veteran John Mitchell – who had played with both Wetton and Downes in Icon and in Wetton’s own band – to join him on stage, taking on lead guitar duties. The duo were joined by new-comer Harry Whitley, who Downes had discovered and whose vocal talents so closely resembled that of Wetton’s it was nothing short of spine-tingling. Together they played a number of Asia’s chart-topping hits. The reception was uproarious and It became clear that something magical was happening. Perhaps, thought Downes, it was time to bring the songs of Asia to a whole new audience? The dragon began to stir once more.

In 1982 John Wetton, Geoff Downes, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe became the founding fathers of super group Asia, responsible for a string of multi-million selling albums and chart topping hits across the globe. Asia’s self-titled1982 debut album was the biggest selling album in the world. The band dominated the airwaves and for many “Heat Of The Moment”, “Only Time Will Tell” and “Sole Survivor”, amongst others, were the soundtrack to their youth.

Another multi-million seller, “Alpha” followed in 1983 and in 1986 “Astra” competed the trio of MTV era hits. Greg Lake briefly joined the band for a Japanese tour where Asia’s show from the fabled Budokan was the first inter-continental simulcast. In 2006, the founder members reformed and released several new albums before John Wetton’s untimely passing in 2017. Since John’s passing, Geoff and Carl have toured with Sam Coulson, Billy Sherwood, Ron Bumblefoot Thal and Steve Howe guesting, and had a tour planned with Marc Bonilla on vocal duties that did not materialize due to Covid.

Busy touring the globe, the great Carl Palmer is immersed in a project very dear to his heart, the Return Of Emerson Lake & Palmer. The legendary Steve Howe remains at the helm of progressive rock legends, Yes.  So it was that Geoff made the decision to take a fresh, new-look Asia back out on the road, recruiting Mitchell and Whitley as new members and bringing in the drumming excellence of the incomparable Virgil Donati, who had played with Wetton in UK.

Asia has entertained and delighted a multitude of audiences and millions of people over the last 40 years. Some of the world’s greatest musicians have taken up the Asia baton during that time. However Geoff Downes believes that the time is right to bring a fresh, new-look Asia out into the light.

The Year of the Dragon foretells good fortune, abundance and prosperity. The Dragon blessed 1982, the year Asia was first unleashed into the world – and here we are again. The journey has come full-circle. Time for the dragon to take flight once more


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