That a band records its best live album with a substitute frontman and not with its original singer, who on top of that is one of the main songwriters, sounds unlikely at first. However, if this substitute is named Greg Lake and the whole thing happened almost 40 years ago, then the shoe is on the other foot: Carl Palmer remembers the event at that time, which is now re-released opulently and well restored as "Asia In Asia", and gives an outlook on future activities of the band.
Asia and Emerson, Lake & Palmer are both matters of the heart for drum legend Carl Palmer, who previously drummed with Arthur Brown and Atomic Rooster. And so today he divides his time between ELP Legacy, his live tribute to the music he created with Keith Emerson and Greg Lake, and nurturing Asia's legacy. incidentally, 1983 saw a "close call" of these two rock legends in the form of a one-off Asia concert in Tokyo with Greg Lake on vocals and bass (in place of John Wetton, who was absent at short notice).
eclipsed: "Asia In Asia" was already available as a live VHS document, but now it has been re-released in a more polished form. Does that make sense to you?
Carl Palmer: Yes absolutely, because "Asia In Asia - Live At The Budokan, Tokyo, 1983" is now also available as vinyl, CD and on Blu-ray. And what's even more important: The old recordings have been remixed. So you get the full enjoyment.
eclipsed: At the time, it was MTV's first ever live broadcast concert.
Palmer: Yes, technically - and by that I mean the trappings - it was very elaborate, because something like this had never been done before. Of course, not everything works out. But Asia was one of the most successful bands in the U.S. at the time, so MTV didn't choose us entirely by chance.
eclipsed: John Wetton had previously dropped out ...
Palmer: Let me put it this way: half he went, half he was gone. John's drinking problem at the time was glaring, and we as a band with platinum album status couldn't afford to tour with a frontman who didn't deliver reliably. Plus, an alcoholic is never easy to deal with personally. And so Geoff [Downes, keyboards; note], Steve [Howe, guitar] and I had already been looking for alternatives with the management.