Ovation at Green Valley Ranch, Nov. 10

Thirty years after the release of its chart-topping debut album, the prog-rock “supergroup” no longer can fill arenas, but instead is playing clubs and theaters this tour. With the foursome filling the small Ovation stage, they played much of that 1982 album, opening with “Only Time Will Tell” and “Wildest Dreams,” before delving into the rest of their catalog, including three songs from their latest album XXX. Guitarist Steve Howe played an acoustic set, and singer/bassist John Wetton and keyboardist Geoff Downes performed a couple of newer songs without further accompaniment. Taking drummer Carl Palmer out of the mix for such a long period dragged the show’s energy level down, but his return for the driving “Cutting It Fine” and “Holy War,” which led into a fiery Palmer solo, brought the pulse back up. Asia had been playing its 1982 single “Sole Survivor” to lead the encore at nearly every other show this tour, but chose to skip it here, instead sleepwalking though its signature hit, “Heat of the Moment,” before leaving the stage. It was a weak ending to a show that could have delivered much more. ★★☆☆☆

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Drink: A Cultural History of Alcohol (Gotham, 2009) by Iain Gately is a veritable jeroboam of cultural and social history related to humankind’s use and abuse of alcohol and all the ingredients (including slaves) required for its production and distribution. A type of beer was made as far back as 8000 B.C., with wine-making soon following. Distillation of alcohol began in the 16th century. Alcohol in its various forms was a substantial driver of trade and traders (many cultures believed political and business deals should only be made when the participants were drunk). A fascinatin