Qango ticket for the London Astoria 2 show
Note the scored out original date with the new date hand written above it.  The ticket was bought a week before the date of the orignal show - and was the first I knew of the cancellation.
Note also that the band member names are on the ticket (or the original band members names), Kieron Twist being replaced by John Young.

All photos used on this page are taken by myself at the shows and copyright Doug Anderson 2000. If you see them elsewhere this is where they came from - credited or not!

London Astoria 2
4 February 2000
Introductory Fanfare
Time Again
Sole Survivor
Bitches Crystal
Dave Kilminster's Guitar solo
The Smile Has Left Your Eyes
All Along the Watchtower
Battle Lines
Walking on Air
Paddydog (John Young  keyboard solo)
Only Time Will Tell
Last One Home
Fanfare for the Common Man
- Carl Palmer drum solo
Fanfare ... reprise (with Keith Emerson)
Heat of the Moment

Don't Cry

Carl Palmer in the spotlight at the Astoria, London.A Friday evening in ‘the smoke’ for this newest of new bands – QANGO. For reasons as yet undisclosed, Mr So and So’s keyboard player was not able to take part in the live dates and was replaced by Wetton stalwart, John Young. JY had just seven days rehearsal to learn most of the set, including a couple of complex ELP keyboard parts.  For the quality of the resulting live performance he must be applauded.

For the first time on the tourthere is a support band - Melbourne - though I missed almost all of their set.  The reports I heard were not that favourable - but the little I heard sounded fine.  John Young was keen to see part of their set as he was interested in their keyboard set-up - perhaps with a view to purchasing the same sort of keyboards that they used.  This comment would become all the more pertinent later on in the evening.

An earlier than expected start of the set (due to the Astoria’s curfew)  the band has to pay extra for overrunning their allotted time at the weekend as after shows the venue becomes a Rock club.

No backing tapes to introduce this band, they just saunter on stage and ready their instruments before John Young introduces the set with the first blast of Fanfare (the Common Man one) which led directly into powerful versions of a couple of classic Asia tracks, Time Again and Sole Survivor. John Wetton’s voice really soared during these tracks – and they are much more powerful that the original LP versions. It’s nice to see JW playing bass again – he seems to have mainly played acoustic guitars for his solo shows recently. The power of the bass playing is all the more pleasing considering the original dates were postponed for John to have a wrist operation.  Obviously the operation was a success and John seems to be playing as well as ever.
Dave Kilminster really shone during Time Again - making an early attempt to show us how to really play a guitar.  He was all over the neck with both hands during the solo section just before the final verse - an amazing display of this mans talent.

It’s interesting to note that these two opening tracks are the same as those which open Asia's “Live in Moscow” CD, a promo version of which was available from the merchandise table after the show. Obviously Wetton and Palmer see them as being two storming tracks with which to open a show and attract the audiences attention away from the bar. Not that there was much need for this tonight - this audience was here to see the band, not drink at the bar.

Between these opening numbers John Wetton has just time to ask how we’re doing before Carl Palmer cracks his drum sticks together to lead into Sole Survivor. After this track, Dave Kilminster is formally introduced to us, "It's good to have a nice shred now and again" comments Wetton, before Carl takes the mike to say hello and take us into the first ELP track of the evening, Bitches Crystal. Before the track is played a Wetton fan shouted for ‘Starless’, a forlorn hope as it turned out - no pre Asia Wetton material was aired this evening. 

John Young begins the track with a swinging barrelhouse intro before launching into the main piece. This track is an extremely complex keyboard track – and probably the one JY was most worried about performing. During the mid section of the track John shows us a touch of his ‘mad professor’ with some wild keyboard work with Carl pounding away in the background, almost duelling with each other in places. This was indeed a band enjoying itself. John needn’t have fretted though – the audience gave a massive cheer as this one was introduced – possibly even louder than for the Asia material - and were attentive throughout. This tour marks the first performances of the track to a UK audience – though ELP have played it on their last two world tours (both of which seem to have ‘forgotten’ the UK)! John Young had a large smile on his face during the applause after the track – relief mixed satisfaction of a job well done and appreciation of the audience reaction.  Interestingly, this is the only ELP tune played which has lyrics, the others being instrumentals.  Not necessarily anything strange in this – unless JW was worried about remembering lyrics to songs he’d not written.  I did notice that there were a couple of sheets of paper on the monitors in addition to the setlist – could they have been lyric sheets? If so, this makes John Young’s learning task all the more impressive (though he too had a few aide-memoir sheets handy). 

A colourfully lit John Wetton.John Wetton asks us “How’s about that then” in his best Jimmy Saville impression while Carl tells us “it’s time to meet Dave Kilminster on guitar”, followed by asking the crowd “is that the best you can do” when their cheer is muted. He finishes off by explaining that the solo will move into a piece with John (Wetton) which we’ll recognise when it comes!”
Dave Kilminster's Guitar Solo was next on the list. Starting off with the introductory section of Pictures at an Exhibition, a rather meagre cheer emitted from the crowd - the London boys are obviously a little slow, or not really ELP fans. This acoustic solo led into some wild picking and included , I think, excerpts of material on Dave’s CD ‘Playing With Fire’. Initially Dave seems a shy sort of a guy – but once he gets into the guitar-hero mindset he’s off on a different plane. With an electric guitar in his hands he easily shows off his mastery of the instrument. Dave “would like to introduce us to John Wetton”, who has returned to the stage armed with an acoustic guitar, for another track from Asia’s eponymous LP, The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.  This acoustic performance featured just Dave and John W. and gained a big cheer from the audience. A third acoustic track now, initially at least, All Along the Watch Tower.  This Dylan/Hendrix song, the only song that some members of the band did not write, soon gained some restrained playing from Carl and John Young, merging in with the other pair part way through the track. Pausing just long enough for the crowd to cheer their appreciation we are then led into the only solo Wetton track of the evening, Battle Lines. John Young introduces it with some light, sympathetic keyboards, Carl adding some basic, light, percussion in the background. This track is certainly the stand out track on the album of the same title (or 'Voice Mail' if you purchased the Japanese copy) and seems even more powerful in this live version.  It really is a majestic, moody track which covers some of the feelings of soldiers on the line. The power of John Wetton’s voice really shows on this track, commanding the whole audience’s attention thoughout.

Another brooding track followed, Carl leading us into it before Wetton adds some ominous bass, Kilminster augmenting in the same style in a long, slow, atmospheric build-up. The track is not introduced and must have left a lot of the audience guessing as to it’s origin, was it new or old? Walking on Air is a previously unreleased John Wetton solo track which has it's origin back in his Asia days. Old it may be, but it’s never been performed before this tour (as far as I know) and , despite this, really holds the audience attention.  This will be one track that will stand out on any studio album the guys decide to release. If they miss it off the potential live CD from the previous evening they’ll be doing themselves a great disfavour. The lyrical content of the song seems slightly at odds with the music, seeming to be about life becoming good again as someone new walks into your life, lifting you from depression. The track ended with Carl crashing away at his cymbals.

Ode to Joy. (as it’s noted on the onstage setlist) is John Young's opportunity to shine, his keyboard solo. It’s a compilation of sections used during a solo featured on the Wetton CD ‘Live in Tokyo 1997’. The piece spreads through classical pieces, an audience clap-along section, some keyboard bashing, Emerson style, work, before venturing forwards through a Jaws-style introduction to a Keystone Cops sequence before settling into material from John's solo shows. The solo climaxes with Beethoven's Ode to Joy. 

After the applause has died down some wag in the audience shouts to John, “Get your hair cut” to which Carl agrees, “Yes, get your hair cut, let us see your face. Have one of these haircuts”, pointing to his short barnet. “I’ll do it for you tonight, come round my house”. Carl is on form tonight as, when someone heckles from the crowd, he retorts, “You couldn’t have one, you don’t have enough for one!” The classic quote of the evening has to be his next comment however, “No rugs and no plugs in this band”, “Yet” says the hairy Mr. Young.
Carl’s sure we’re “going to know this one, it’s a blast from the past” as John plays the first few bars of the keyboard intro to Only Time Will Tell, another Asia song. He is soon stopped by Carl, who is rather confused as it’s not what he was expecting - he’s looking a track ahead on the setlist!

Carl then graciously admits “I was wrong, it’s another blast from the past” to laughs from band and audience alike as they begin the track properly. John Wetton drops a couple of lines in this version, possibly due to still at Carl's blunder. 

“Here we go, this IS the blast from the past” laughs Carl  as John Young leads us into Hoedown. This is an interesting version of the track - augmented as it is with alternating lead guitar and modern keyboard sounds rather than thrashing Hammond noises.  It takes a bit of getting used to, and I’m still not sure if I liked the rather ‘clean’ lead on the track.  Maybe I’m just too used to the original version but I feel this was the weakest track musically of the evening. I just can’t get used to a Hoedown with out that soaring Leslie sound. John Young does get to ‘take up the soloing reigns’ part way through, though that Hammond sound is still missing. John Wetton post-introduced the song as “The inbreeding song”.  Between songs a wag in the audience shouts “Marvelous”, to which John Wetton retorts, “Behave”, in his best Austin Powers style.

“Some of you might know this, it’s kind of an old song or a new song, depending. So over to you Carl” is how we are introduced to Last One Home.  This is an Asia track written when John Young was in Asia in 1989.  It’s also the only song of the set that appears on John Young's solo CD, 'Life Underground'.
The track starts off very quietly with Carl using padded sticks before being joined by quiet keyboards and guitar. The Wetton fans in the audience are initially fooled by the instrumental into thinking it's the title track from his 'Arkangel' CD.  I suppose in a way it is as John Young's backing track was used initially on the Asia track, then reused by Wetton for his solo track. Either way, when the vocal come in they soar, powerfully, over the light backing commanding the attention of the whole audience.  The whole track builds towards a crescendo, much like the crashing sea it is about. The harmonies in this, and other, tracks are provided by Kilminster and Young - and they fit in perfectly with Wettons lead vocals.

Carl Palmer dusting under the cymbal?John Wetton introduces Carl as "Here's the man who makes coffee nervous" before John Young runs through a full version of Fanfare of the Common Man, another ELP instrumental. Wetton provides some suitably 'fuzzy' bass work whilst Dave again takes the lead lines on guitar.  It works better on this track than it did on Hoedown, possibly as the original Fanfare shied away from that Hammond sound. John Young takes over for what was the solo section of the original, again providing some suitably outlandish keyboards for an Emerson track. Again, Kilminster and Young, follow the Blackmore/Lord school of guitar/keyboard 'follow that run' instrumentals, each trying to catch the other out. The other musicians leave the stage to allow a Carl Palmer drum solo. This is more a percussion solo as he makes full use of all the cymbals, hi-hats and even a tambourine at one point. It's not even a straight 'hit them fast' solo as Carl changes tempo fairly frequently. The band return for a reprise of Fanfare for the Common Man.  Just after the music restarts a short-haired bloke in a black T-shirt walked across the stage toward the keyboards.  I initially wondered what was wrong with them until I realised this was no Emerson and Young having a 'smashing' time.roadie out to fix a problem, it was Keith Emerson, formerly of ELP. He performed a keyboard duet with John Young, where they alternate keyboard runs. While John tries to keep to the tune, Emerson stands behind him (Behave) and plays some rather discordant notes around Young's body. This duet/duet continued for around 5 minutes, both Emerson and Young obviously enjoying themselves whilst thrashing away at the keyboard. At one point Keith tries to quieten Carl down, though he doesn't spot the signal and keeps banging away the beat until Emerson goes up and shouts in his ear. Though not musically excellent (rather cacophonous once the bass and drums kick back in), the excitement and skill of the performance held the audience in trance, savouring this meeting of the keyboard maestro's.

Once Emerson had vacated the stage and the cheers had subsided, the band went straight into Heat of the Moment, a surprise as it's usually the first encore.  The reason for this is that the Astoria 2 has a curfew and if a band play past it they have to pay hard cash as recompense. This is also the reason for the swift return after a break for the single encore this evening, Don't Cry. It's fitting, I guess, that this final track was their highest charting single way back in late summer of 1983 - and a great track to end on.  The band left the stage with the crowd howling for more. Even as the lights rose they continued calling - a mark of how much the audience had enjoyed the show.

Tonight was an amazing evening, especially with the addition of the keyboard guest.  The band were enjoying themselves and the audience had a great time with an nice variety of oldies recycled and upgraded and the benefit of a couple of ‘newies’ to whet the appetite for the future.  Considering this line-up had only seven days rehearsal before their first gig three days previously, they carried off a brilliant show – with only a few minor ‘mistakes’ (care of Carl’s poor eyesight) to break the flow.

The cheers for ELP tunes, as well as for Carl and Keith, shows how much the ELP material is loved by people in this country. It’s just a pity that they couldn’t be bothered to tour this country, or even play a couple of dates, for the last eight years between European dates.

The excellent performance and, especially the guest appearance of Keith Emerson, has to make this show the highlight of the tour.  I'm sure that John Young would agree, even if Keith did break 3 of the keys!

With the cheer Emerson received when walking on stage I wondered what would happen if he was asked to join the band.  Would they keep the QANGO moniker – or would they revert to an ELP–style name – PEWK

I can just see the review headlines now…

In one of those odd links life brings it would seem that the idea of playing ELP songs with added guitar sparked an idea in the mind of Keith Emerson as two years later The Nice reformed for three tunes as part of the launch for his Emerson Plays Emerson album. There he used the talents of guitarist Phil Hilbourne but when a short UK tour was arranged for October 2002 Dave Kilminster became the guitarist of choice. In fact, had he not been on tour with Ken Hensley at the time Dave would, I'm sure, have been onstage at the 100 Club show. Find out more here.

For another persons view of this show, have a look at Tracy's version of events.
You can find more pictures from this show at http://www.originalasia.com/qangopix.html

If you have any comments about this page then please contact me.

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  This page is Copyright © Doug Anderson 2000 - 2002. Created: 8 February, 2000. Last updated: 18 August, 2002.