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Reply with quote  #1 

As a forty five year old who tends to see the back nine of my life rapidly approaching, the last few weeks taking in the shows at Collingswood, Peekskill, Red Bank, NYC and Englewood has turned the clock back while giving me pause to reflect and welcome the road ahead, come what may. Paired with the gift of a collection of songs that none of us thought we’d ever see or hear have made me feel young again bringing back fond memories of 1982 and 1983 when all I had to worry about was making my classes, having enough money to hit the college pub on weekends and make sure I scraped enough bucks together for concert tix and a tissue paper thin concert shirt as a badge of honor for my experience.

 

If I have learned anything over the last year, it is to appreciate life. While on our way to an Asia show last, my family and I got into an accident that changed our lives. This year, my family in various carnations attended all the local shows and celebrated our own adversities but espoused the philosophy that permeates the songs on Phoenix. Live life and enjoy each day because it is an extraordinary life and a gift to be sure.

 

In the last two years, I have now seen Asia more than I did back in their original jaunts through the US. If these shows are evidence, the boys improve nightly, are having fun and enjoy the creative spark once again that germinated at the inception of the band. I speak not just musically but they seem all the wiser for their own challenges and journeys these past 25 years that have brought them to this point and channel this through their performances and new body of work. I have followed John since I was eleven years old and it goes without saying, he is my favorite artist. This past week, I learned an new level of appreciation for how much his music has meant to me and my family but after our own journey this past year, it seemed to run parallel to John’s own challenges and the gift of this tour and the messages of the new songs speak to us in ways that only the individual can draw their own conclusions from and come to understand.

 

Over the last week, I have read so many of the blogs and posts on this guestbook regarding the beauty and impact Phoenix and the subsequent shows have had on their lives and I echo those sentiments. Not to be melodramatic but it can be said that timing is everything and if 25 years was the price we had to pay, it was worth the wait because the quality of the shows and the new music are truly a miracle in the bleak landscape that calls itself the industry nowadays. Fans of JW and Asia are a wonderful community that are as eclectic as we are loyal, an attribute in short supply these days.

 

The concerts have also provided me wonderful new memories, not just those that galvanize and draw comparison to concerts from the early 80’s that made me love this band in the first place, but have made for a series of new and invaluable one’s with my kids. Be it the loud and obnoxious car rides sing along’s to HOTM, arguing with my eldest as why I did not haul her Zon bass into NYC for John to sign or debating who is the coolest member of the band and why? Funniest though would have to be the naming of our new cock of the walk. In 2006, my son posed the question after his first Asia show and concert overall, “What’s the dragon’s name?” I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. Eventually, I came to realize he had nicknamed our pearl chasing reptilian “Donatello,” and the Alpha Eagle “Edgar.” I never could get him the grasp the idea that Aza was Aza, as he wanted to call her Ashley, a girl in his third grade class he had a crush on. Go figure! This week, the flaming bird was officially anointed, “Phineas,” as he went off to school two days this week wearing his Phoenix tee shirt proudly. How so un- rock and roll but I can’t help and laugh that 25 years on, the band I loved as a college student has now become a talking point for my kids and appreciated not only lyrically for the messages they aim to deliver but intrinsically as a part of our lives in this moment in time. Rather than cover ground already tread better than I by way of reviews of songs or concerts, I wanted to provide another vantage point of how this little band of ours, its individual parts and in its own special way, means more to us that only the individual themselves can appreciate. I know John’s music has touched my past, present and as my comments to him yesterday in the form of “God Bless and be well,” will hopefully attest, for many years to come. There are few times that someone and their work touches a place in one’s heart and mind, John has been that artist in my life and continues that influence as my kids absolutely adore his body of work as well. It’s a true measure of a talent such as his that can transcend that old generation gap between parents and children. So from this parent and an appreciative admirer for the last thirty four years, thanks John for all that you do. My best from my family to yours for safe travels and much happiness and health in your future journeys.

 

Joe 

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Reply with quote  #2 
JK - Very well said. 

I had my "life stops on a dime" moment in 2003 when I underwent emergency heart surgery.  Since then, I have been struggling to express the emotions I went through that Johan has now so eloquently penned on "An Extraordinary Life".

Just this morning while driving to my office and breathing in exhaust fumes I was feeling the o'l "Thank God It's Friday" mind set while listening to Phoenix.  When "An Extraordinary Life" came on, my mood immediately improved.  You just can't listen to that song and not be inspired.

Looking forward to Sunday night's show and seeing Johan and Asia perform it live. 

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emwhy

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Reply with quote  #3 
Great post JK, I've been dealing with some issues these last 3 weeks involving a very old and close friend who has just learned her 8 year-old daughter has Leukemia. Needless to say it's been devastating to her family. All of us in their circle are doing our best to be supportive, but it's torture to see this child have to go through this, knowing these treatments will have to last another 3 years if she hopes to beat this thing. When I listen to "An Extraordinary Life" (which is a lot these days), it makes me think how fragile things are. Needless to say my friend's daughter has become my "Heroine" of late.




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asiacalgary

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Reply with quote  #4 

JK - very heartfelt and profound!


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Reply with quote  #5 

Simply wonderful, and well put Joe. Thanks from all of us  


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Reply with quote  #6 

This thread reflects how each and every one of us are connected on a very spiritual level.  We are all one when it comes to life's energy and beyond.  It is clear to me that there are so many untold stories here among the G.B.r's and we all connect in those defining moments through Asia, John, and the lyrics/music.  This is very special, and sometimes words don't do justice in expressing our feelings about how the lives we live run parallel to John's music as well as our trials and tribulations.  Ten years ago there was a day that changed my life forever and I am lucky to be here now and a part of this guest book.  I am thankful to be here and am still recovering from that fateful day. Aside from all the medical procedures, therapies, medicines etc., music became my Savior.  Since I can remember music always played a big part of my life and whether sad or happy it has always been my best friend and elixir. It's amazing to share, incredible to hear, the new "Phoenix".  To me it is food for my soul. God bless you all, especially John, who is and has been an inspiration to us all for most of our lives.       


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Reply with quote  #7 
One of my passions over nearly 30 years has been running, from 5Ks to marathons.  Four years ago, while running on an early winter's morning, I slipped on ice on a dark, remote path and shattered much of the lower part of my left leg.  (As if that wasn't painful enough, when I tried to get up using a stick for a crutch, I slipped and fell again -- right on top of my broken leg.) I had to crawl a long distance, including along a creek and up a snowy hill, finally lying alongside a road until a car came along.  Surgery and months of rehab later, I was able to run again, but not nearly as much as before.  This ended my distance running.  This catalyzed what became three very difficult years for me emotionally.  In an instant, I'd lost my youth, had it ripped from me and shattered.  I'd sometimes listen to "Battle Lines" over and over, especially the line about innocent days left behind....

But God is good, and I've healed in recent months.  And what crystallized that healing for me was the first time I heard "An Extraordinary Life."  Yes, I've lost something precious ... but there is so much more to this existence.  My family, my friends, my faith.  And some truly outstanding music.  Youth is more than a marathon.  It's what lies in your mind and your heart.  It's Kairos, a meaning I've come to understand.  This life is indeed an extraordinary gift.  Thank you so much for that insight, John!


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Reply with quote  #8 
Heard Extraordinary Life twice today on NY and NJ radio! I truly think this one is going to resonate with a lot of people in this whacky world searching for hope, normalcy and to take each day as it comes and appreciate the ride.

There is something about hearing that song you love on a beautiful sunny day, rolling down the windows, cranking up the volume and just driving real fast singing way out of tune to a great song.

JK
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Reply with quote  #9 

Good news JK; that market can set the tone for the rest of them...finally I see some noise on the Canuck charts from our equivalent amazon site.


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Reply with quote  #10 
Never Again was finally played on Top 40 station in NYC this morning. Maybe Il Papa's visit had something to do with it. I hear he's a fan of Johan and interjected some divine intervention.

JK
arkadia

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Reply with quote  #11 
Yesterday, I drove 2h to go to an aunt's funeral. She was 56, appeciated classical piano teacher in the Ottawa (Canada) region and recognized Canadian musical exam jurist. She died from a brain tumor that gave her 2 weeks of headache before she went for the hospital from which she never came out, 32 days later.

"Nothing's forever" kinda hit the spot as I listened 3 times to Phoenix going to and coming back from the funeral.

I also hit the replay button on "Nothing's forever" a few times. Great song Johan. Many thanks for this one.

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Reply with quote  #12 
Arkadia, so sorry for your loss. 

You bring up a good point about the emotional power of music.  I lost my mom last summer in a very similar manner.  She went to the hospital "not feeling well" and died in hospice just over a month later.  During the two weeks I was back home after her passing, I put my ipod in the car, set to my Wetton playlist, and never changed it...I just couldn't.  Johan's voice (Asia, iCon, solo, KC, UK...) was such a comfort...I could not bear to be without it.  As I headed to the airport to go back to my real world and work, the playlist ended and I realized how healing the music had been. 

I imagine Phoenix allowed you to reach some healing emotions during your travels.

All the best...


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Reply with quote  #13 
My daughter heard Never Again played on WPLJ this afternoon. Funny, when it was played on the classic rock station in NYC yesterday, the DJ's outro was, and I quote, "That's new Asia for you on Q104.3. Asia just wrapped a series of sold out shows in the NY/NJ area and look to be back and better than ever with songs from their Phoenix CD. This is the original four members (names them). Nice to see it only took ten Yes tours, open heart surgery for John, angioplasty for Carl, a Buggles reunion before a bewildered Prince Charles and 25 years for them to reunite once more. Better late than never I say."

JK 
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