Asia's newly rebuilt lineup has Geoff Downes re-considering some uncompleted songs he worked on with the late John Wetton.

"They weren't really fully developed," Downes tells Classic Rock. "They were basic ideas. Then John's health deteriorated quite rapidly and we never got the opportunity to get stuck in and take it further." Wetton died in 2017 after battling with cancer.

Downes put together Asia's upcoming tour after hitting it off with singer Harry Whitley, drummer Virgil Donati and guitarist John Mitchell at last year's Wetton memorial concert. Two of them have direct musical connections to Asia: Donati was in a modern-era edition of the prog-rock group UK with Wetton, while Mitchell was part of Downes and Wetton's Icon side project.

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"There's quite a bit of material," Downes confirmed. "I'm looking to maybe bring in someone like John Mitchell to collaborate. Hopefully, we can put it together in a way that John would have liked us to."

How Geoff Downes Found Asia's New Singer

Downes said he reached out to the classically trained Whitley after watching some of his clips on YouTube. "I was really blown away by his attention to detail, particularly his vocal intonation," Downes said. "He did a version of 'Heroine' where he managed to get all these twists and turns that I thought only John was ever capable of.

"To hear Harry do that was really scary and quite chilling," Downes added, "because John's voice could bring people to tears. So I got in touch with him when the tribute show was coming together. I thought, 'If anyone’s going to put their stamp on these songs, here’s the man for the job.'"

Asia will be joined on the Heat of the Moment Tour by Focus, Martin Turner (ex-Wishbone Ash) and Curved Air. Album designer Roger Dean will serve as emcee. Dates begin in July. "We'll be playing quite a lot from [Asia's] first album," Downes said. "That was the defining one really, the one that put it all into gear."

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