Of all the unauthorized music documentaries I’ve watched, Rock Milestones: Asia was one that I found the most interesting despite the usual shortcomings. Perhaps it was because I could remember the times they are speaking of. This was a definitive album of my teen years, so much so that I had the album cover on the back panel of a denim jacket.
Asia was considered a “supergroup”, meaning that members of other successful bands came together to form another group that seemed pre-destined for success. Its members came from other bands: Yes, Emerson Lake & Palmer, King Crimson, and The Buggles.
Rock Milestones: Asia opens with clips from a live performance in Nottingham as they perform Heat of the Moment live. This is not the original line-up of the band, but a later version without Steve Howe. In fact, all of the live footage on this DVD is from a time after Steve Howe left the band.
Which is ironic, in a way, since one of the highlights of the DVD is a recorded interview with Steve Howe where he comments on the way Asia was received. They were regarded more as dinosaurs than anything else, and while the album was generally praised, that was done more as an afterthought with more of the reviews discussing why the band wouldn’t work than the content of the album.
I didn’t like the continual dissing of Geoff Downes due to part of his pedigree coming from this time with The Buggles by the one “critic”. I finally felt like saying to the guy who snickered over and over again “I’ve heard of him, I’ve never heard of you”. However, the two “critics” who participated in Rock Milestones: Asia generally did a pretty good job with being informative about the musical climate at the time Asia released this album, as well as how the album was received.
Perhaps because Rock Milestones: Asia focused more on being about Asia’s debut album rather than really being a criticism, it works better than other DVDs in this line. When it does turn to criticism it falters a bit. I still can’t see purchasing this DVD but especially for those who have heard the music and don’t know the background leading up to the formation and release of this album, it can be interesting. As one who lived through that time and remembers it well, I recommend it for a viewing once.
• Highlights from Moscow (clips from Asia Live in Moscow)