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  • Boston

    Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort

    Cherokee, NC

    May 22, 2015

     

    Photo by Randy Patterson

         

    Last Friday night, I saw Boston for the second time in three years. While the band’s lineup may have changed a little bit, their ability to blow away the sold out crowd at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort hasn’t changed at all.

    From the band’s opener, “Rock N Roll Band,” to their two song encore, “Hitch A Ride” and “Party,” the crowd was eating out of the band’s very talented hands.  The current line-up of the band consists of the band’s founder, songwriter, technical inventor/innovator and M.I.T. grad, Tom Scholz on guitar/keyboards/backing vocals; long-time rhythm/lead guitarist, Gary Pihl; Tommy DeCarlo on lead vocals; new drummer, Jeff Neal; a very animated and entertaining Tracy Ferrie on bass; and Beth Cohen on vocals and keys.

    I’ve said it before but it bears repeating: 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. 

    Scholz’s guitar and keyboard work was flawless, as was Pihl’s guitar work. DeCarlo’s voice delivers the

         

    Photo by Randy Patterson

    band’s iconic hits true to the original sound as well as serving up the tunes from their last album, “Life, Love and Hope.” Beth Cohen contributed handily to the show but one could observe that she wasn’t fully appreciated by the crowd as she should have been.

    This was the first show I’ve seen at Harrah’s Cherokee and I must say that I was quite impressed. While my seats were up close (tenth row center) there honestly didn’t seem to be a bad seat in the house. If you get a chance to catch a show – any show – there, you won’t be disappointed.

    Boston definitely occupied a large portion of the soundtrack of our youth. If you wish to fully enjoy a big ol’ bunch of musical nostalgia, a Boston concert is a definite must-see.

  • 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.

  • lifelovehopecoverLife, Love & Hope
    Boston
    Label: Frontiers
    Released: December 03, 2013
    Reviewed: December 8, 2013

    Let’s be honest about this: Given the history of the release of studio albums by Boston, their new CD, Life, Love & Hope – the band’s first studio album in eleven years (and their first since the passing of lead singer, Brad Delp) – this could very well be the last CD of new material by the band.

    Let’s also be honest: Critics were negative about the album when it was still just a rumor. Why? Well, it all seems to rest on the shoulders of Tom Sholz, founding member, producer, arranger and engineer of the band’s sixth album. I’d rather note opine about this. I’d prefer to offer Mr. Sholz’s own comment about this that is provided in the CD’s liner notes:

    “When I started recording this album over ten years ago, who’d have thought I’d still be working on it in 2013? OK, don’t answer that. These are all songs from the heart, each of them taking many months of effort to write, arrange, perform and record, always up to the demands of BOSTON’s harshest critic, me. They have all been meticulously recorded to analogue tape on the same machines and equipment used for BOSTON’s hits for the past 35 years.”

    Sholz shares more about the process but you’ll need to purchase the CD to learn what that is.

    This CD is markedly different from the albums that made Boston an iconic band. So what? If they recorded identical music as the first two albums, critics would be shrieking about the lack of originality. The band has grown. There have been personnel changes that were beyond the surviving band member’s control. Death happens and life goes on while as does the memories of those departed.

    That all said, Life, Love & Hope gives fans a taste of the past that has grown and changed with the times. The late Brad Delp’s vocals haunt us on four tunes. Three of the songs are from previous albums and have either been re-mastered or re-arranged. A new original song, Sail Away, is “a retrospective of Katrina and the devastation endured by the poor, swept under the rug by the rich.” These tunes are worth the purchase price of the album alone. Buy it.

    The disc’s melodies and superb musicianship (mostly by Sholz with some guitar help by Gary Pihl on the title cut) are exactly what one would expect from Sholz: Intricate melodies and musicianship with frequent strokes of pure genius. Vocal work is provided by Sholz, David Victor and Tommy DeCarlo (with occasional help from Louis St. August, Kimberley Dahme Jude Nejmanowski), with harmonies that often remind us why we all fell in love with BOSTON.

    Life, Love & Hope is definitely a must-have CD. You’ll love the sounds and you’ll thoroughly appreciate the technical genius of Tom Sholz and his dedication to his craft, musicianship and groundbreaking technological developments that have stood the test of time.