Boston In Concert
Show Date: July 10, 2012
Venue: Verizon Theater, Grand Prairie, Texas
There is just something about the opening notes of “More Than A Feeling”. I hear those notes and I’m instantly flashed back to 1976 and the sun drenched campus of Moon Valley High School in Phoenix, Arizona. Guys and girls alike were at their youthful best and tanned to perfection. We knew everything and the world was our oyster.
Those were the days.
When the opportunity to catch the Boston concert last Tuesday night at the Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, I jumped at the chance to catch the iconic band of my youth. I invited my good friend and musician, Andy Timmons, to join me as he, too, is an avid Boston fan though is four years my junior. On the rainy, 45 minute drive to the concert venue, Andy and I shared our memories and stories of Boston’s music – things like where we were when we first More Than A Feeling and other Boston hits.
When we got to the Verizon Theater, it was clear that the vast majority of the crowd were of the same generation as Andy and me but, to be clear, there were lots of people there who were younger than us. Though “younger”, their youth and inexperience didn’t cloud there judgment of what a good rock and roll band is like.
The current line-up of the band consists of the band’s founder, songwriter, technical inventor/innovator and M.I.T. grad (short bussers like me can’t even spell “M.I.T.”), Tom Scholz on guitar/keyboards/backing vocals; long-time rhythm/lead guitarist, Gary Pihl; Tommy DeCarlo on lead vocals; Curly Smith on drums; David Victor on guitar/vocals; and Tracy Ferrie on bass. While there are many purists out there who feel that the only line-ups worth seeing are the original ones, make no mistake about it: this Boston line-up is intricately, perfectly tight and true to the original.
While Brad Delp (may God rest his soul) will always be missed, Tommy does a bang-on, phenomenal job on the lead vocals, as does Victor. The quality of both of these men’s voices – being true to the original sound – blew me away.
Scholz and Pihl (with a bit of flavor thrown in by Victor) wove their guitar work flawlessly with each other, recreating those sounds that we all came to hear and love. While I was noticing the perfection of the sound from the perspective of a fan, Andy listened with the additional benefit of his perfect musician’s ear, appreciating even more what was taking place on that stage. I can’t say enough about Victor’s “double threat” of incredible vocal capability and stratospheric range as well as his prowess on the guitar, complementing Scholz and Pihl.
Tracy Ferrie is a monster on the bass and a consummate entertainer. His stage presence, though entertaining, doesn’t overstep its place. He blends incredibly well with the chemistry of the entire band. His energy is boundless and refreshing, bringing a unique dynamic to the band. His “Gene Simmons” impression is a hoot and the crowd loves him. I had the privilege of meeting Tracy after the show as well as observe his interactions with others who were also backstage. What a class act he is. He was very kind and gracious to everyone backstage – not just to those he knew. Tracy is a great addition to Boston and I look forward to watching and hearing his work with the band in the future.
From the opening number, Rock N Roll Band, on, The other hits from that iconic first self-titled album (and the second largest selling album of all time); the follow-up album, Don’t Look Back; their third album, Third Stage (not “Third Stag” as referred to by one of the local critics here), as well as from Walk On and Corporate America. Even those tunes from the lesser known (but still very successful) later albums were well received by the enthusiastic crowd.
At the meet and greet after the show, all of the band (except for Tom, who wasn’t expected to be there) met with a small group of us fortunate souls to chat, sign album covers and visit with friends. As I mentioned earlier, each musician was very kind and gracious with everyone there. I especially enjoyed listening to Andy chatting about certain technical aspects of sound with Gary Pihl. I felt that I was hearing the inside scoop as to how musical history was made.
If you get the chance to catch Boston in concert, DO! They put on a great show and they look as though they’re genuinely have a lot of fun just being a rock ‘n roll band and, boy, will you have fun watching and listening as they bring back the memories.
As for the allegedly learned comments by “professional” critics, I guess I’ll never understand why they feel compelled to unduly criticize talented and internationally known artists. If legacy acts play more of their older hits than newer ones, they’re criticized for not moving on. If they play their newer hits along with the older ones, they’re referred to in derogatory terms. While I haven’t reached the lofty literary levels as these learned critics have, I do know that fans and readers are tired of unnecessary negativity – especially about things that they happen to like. Therefore, such criticisms go mostly unread and the writer immediately forgotten as the reader goes on enjoying what they love.
Fans are the market place and that is who Boston is pleasing – and pleasing quite well, thank you.