ASIA, Featuring John Payne Show Review
How do you review a show where the band and the audience were falling asleep?
Asia featuring John Payne, was just that… Painful. The Hard Rock Hotel in Orlando featured the band at their monthly Velvet Sessions. The crowd of about 400 people, seemed extremely excited on anticipation of the performance of the band. But, from the moment they came on, all I could think is that these guys are “collecting a paycheck”.
When John Payne started introducing a song that they were about to play, and then said, “wait a minute, we just played that one,” you could sense that they really weren’t there. For the rest of the show, no interaction, no excitement. Lots of “look at me, I’m from Asia” stares. You could sense from everyone, “let’s get this done so I can continue at the bar.”
The only 2 songs that the crowd was really excited about were “Heat of the Moment,” and “Only Time Will Tell.” And, lets not forget “Sole Survivor,” which is what I labeled myself after the show.
Editor: I caught the show, too, and generally have to agree with Luc. The show was uninspiring and rather boring, which is hard to believe with the catalog of hits ASIA had to offer. There was a definite buzz in the room before the band took the stage, but that quickly diminished, to the point where half the crowd disappeared when the open bar did. Thankfully, the Hard Rock staff still does an amazing job with the sessions, the food and the drinks.
I saw ASIA in their heyday. This was not ASIA. Sure, John Payne played with the band as the replacement for John Wetton, basically after he, Carl Palmer and Steve Howe left. That version of the band released a slew of mediocre albums that never got a sniff of airplay and rightfully disappeared into oblivion, where they should have stayed. This crowd was here to see the ASIA songs that were hits, and that’s not what Payne delivered; instead we got the Payne-era mediocrity.
Truthfully, the musicians were talented and we did get a nice drum/keyboard solo in the middle of the set, but these guys are understandably not at the level of the original line-up. If Payne is going to take advantage of the name, it is unconscionable that he doesn’t put his pride aside and play all of the early stuff. It’s pretty simple; precious few folks were there to see John Payne, they were there to hear ASIA hits. Next time, make it less Payne-ful on everyone and give the people what they want.