Thought Leadership

Asia [the band, not the continent]

By Colin Walls

For me, seeing live music is a passion. I take as many opportunities as I can to attend performances of all kinds of music. I have a very broad taste. I am a frequent visitor to our local jazz club. I like to go to festivals. Last week we went to see a brilliant classical guitarist.

Yesterday evening it was the turn of progressive rock – a friend and I went to see Asia

Neither of us were particularly familiar with the band, which grew some years ago from the ashes of Yes and ELP. But they were starting their long tour with a gig in the town where I live, so it would have been rude not to go.

Overall, it was an excellent evening. Despite the unfamiliarity, the music was good to listen to and the skill of the musicians unquestionable. During the interval we were discussing what we had seen and heard. We were both agreed that the star of the show was the drummer – Carl Palmer. He is probably one of the top 3 or 4 rock drummers in the world and, last night, it showed. But we did not know what was coming in the second half …

The music we heard was quite varied – some real loud rock, some acoustic stuff, a ballad with just the lead singer and keyboards and a couple of solos. The guitarist, who seemed very young [i.e. he was under 40!] was very talented and did a brief Jimi Hendrix style rendition. Then Carl did a drum/percussion solo. This lasted for something like 7-8 minutes. I am not really a great fan of drums and percussion, as it is often a load of banging in the background that distracts from the main music. But this was something else. He showed such mastery of his instruments, with lots of energy and a fair amount of flair and humor. It was simply the best drum solo I have ever witnessed. My views were not isolated. With the last clash of the cymbals, the audience went wild and he was given a long standing ovation. He was clearly delighted with the reception he’d got on this first gig of the tour. It made the night for me and my companion. And I think it did for Carl too.

Keep live music alive. Turn off the TV, walk away from the Internet and get out from time to time. You too will have such experiences that leave you energized for hours or days following.

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at