Vocalist John Payne will be familiar to most as having been the singer with Asia between 1991 and 2006. For a lot of people, he’s often that bloke who “isn’t John Wetton”. A somewhat unfair tag, maybe, but prog and AOR fans aren’t exactly known for being open to change, especially where a favourite vocalist is concerned. Despite Payne being treated by some as an “also ran” or some kind of stand in until Wetton returned (which he eventually did), it doesn’t change the fact that Asia’s 1992 album, ‘Aqua’ is their best work (‘Little Rich Boy’ and ‘Who Will Stop The Rain?’ are amazing songs) and in many ways, 2006’s ‘Arena’ remains one of the band’s most musically rich works, with a few tracks veering away from their pomp style and drawing influence from the smoother sounds of Toto. Unless you’re completely ignorant (like those people who have somehow written off over thirty years of a Fish-free Marillion after hearing three songs in 1989), John Payne’s contribution to Asia cannot and should not be undervalued.
Following last year’s exhaustive box set of UK recordings, John Wetton fans will soon have another reason to celebrate. Before the end of 2019, the Wetton estate will release a deluxe box set of various solo materials, accompanied by a hard-backed book.
Although the final tracklistings and some of the small details are currently under wraps, it is believed that a couple of the albums will be expanded to two disc sets and various rarities will join the much loved albums.
More details can be found in the below press release.