It's one continentally named band, but with two competing versions comprised of original, added and since departed members. Confused? It's OK, you should be. But rest assured, a band named Asia will perform at 5:30 p.m. July 20 at Batavia Downs & Gaming, playing the band's early '80s prog rock hits. That band, however, may have a different lineup than you remember. Here's a quick look at the background of Asia - both versions of the band - and what to expect at the show.
You know Asia from: A supergroup roster of members from Emerson, Lake & Palmer, King Crimson and Yes; its eponymous debut album and associated MTV success; and its appearance on the soundtrack for Sylvester Stallone’s 1987 arm-wrestling classic, “Over the Top.”
Noted lineup: Its original on debut “Asia,” with Geoff Downes (keys), Steve Howe (guitar), Carl Palmer (drums) and the late John Wetton (vocals/bass).
Current tour’s lineup: Here’s where things get complicated. The original Asia still exists with founding members Downes and Palmer. But that’s not the Asia headed to Batavia Downs. Performing July 20 is the version that includes frontman John Payne (who replaced Wetton on vocals and bass for the original Asia from 1992 to 2006), Johnny Fedevich (drums), Jamie Hosmer (keyboards), Jeff Kollman (guitar) and Moni Scaria (guitar).
Reunion, reorganization: When Downes engineered a reunion of the original Asia for its 25th anniversary in 2006, the move put Payne out of the “Sole Survivor” business. But since Payne guided the band through 14 years of new material and live performances, Asia’s reunited members contractually agreed to let Payne have his own version of the act, albeit with the “featuring” tag. It’s confusing, but for people who celebrate the band and its entire three-decade-long catalog, it could be looked at as double the enjoyment.
What to expect: If you’re purchasing tickets to hear hits like “Heat of the Moment” or be audibly transported back to 1982, good news: the Payne version of Asia has you covered, with these and other classic rock nuggets all part of celebrating the band’s name, its work and Payne’s part in extending its legacy. And if this isn’t enough for you, Rumours: The Ultimate Fleetwood Mac Tribute Show will open the gig, prime the time machine, and get everybody back to simpler times.
Tickets: $10 to $25, available via Ticketfly.com.