Downes Braide Association - Live In England,
Since their debut album came out in 2012, which has since been followed by two more, fans have been requesting that Geoffrey Downes and Chris Braide actually perform some gigs to support them. However, both are incredibly busy with Downes recording and touring with both Asia and Yes, while Braide is an in-demand songwriter and producer. In September 2018 they finally made it to a stage at Trading Boundaries in East Sussex, and the set has now been released as a double CD, DVD and vinyl. They are admirably supported throughout by Andy Hodge (bass) and David Colquhoun (guitar), but sadly there is no “real” drummer which is always going to be a deficit to my mind. The set is mostly taken from their previous two albums together, along with a few hits along the way.
I must confess that Downes’s versions of “Video Killed The Radio Star” works incredibly well in the more refined context, but that is a solo piece and it is when Braide is singing that the band really comes to life. I must confess to not having heard any of the DBA albums but based on this performance I am missing out. Strong vocals, great hooks, this is a commercial prog band with real presence and if they had a live drummer, they would be a force to be reckoned with. I am somewhat disappointed they included some Asia numbers, as well as the aforementioned Buggles, as although they are good covers (albeit that Braide sings higher than Wetton), they are just that, covers. These guys have released three albums together, but no songs from the first featured here, so why not include some of those and leave the Asia songs out altogether? I am old enough to remember being extremely pissed when Bruce Bruce left Samson and joined Iron Maiden, but I doubt there was any talk of Maiden now performing “Vice Versa”. This is a separate band to Asia, so leave the songs to the guys who can really do them justice.
That annoyance to one side, this is a very slick release indeed, and I am sure we would be talking more about DBA if they were more visible, but as it is this is a nice set which never breaks boundaries but is pleasant all the same.