By Jemille Williams
ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- The Summer Series at Verizon continued Saturday, June 14 with a double bill of groups that put the boom in Boomer Rock.
They cranked it up to arena rock volume and the canopy was vibrating like the skin on the bass drum on stage.
The sharpshooters of .38 Special fired their first volley of "Rockin' into the Night" and kept good on that promise through a 15-song hit catalog.
The "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" frontman Don Barnes opined that there seemed to be some wild-eyed Southern boys in the house tonight, and it looked like there were some pretty wild-eyed girls as well.
Several good whoops confirmed it, and they played their theme song.
They brought it down a little with the anthem of all guys who get caught getting a little extracurricular: "Second Chance."
After only 10 songs, they performed the little de rigueur charade of walking off the stage, but of course, the crowd was clinging too tightly to hearing their No.1 hits.
They came back out and Barnes (the sole original member) said, "We were halfway to the hotel. Was there something we left out?"
Hoots of "Hold on Loosely" and "Caught Up in You" apparently met their mark.
After "Fantasy Girl," he posed the rhetorical question, "Just like it was yesterday, right?"
They wrapped up with that anthem of all touring acts: Creedence Clearwater's "Travelin' Band." Looks like they have at least another decade in them to keep on keepin' on.
Boston working toward Heaven on Earth
Boston launched into a spacetastic start with an interstellar set that looks like the flight deck of a space shuttle. The three windshield-shaped screens projected a nearly endless program of zooming through canyons and cross-country around the globe until we shook Earth's surly bonds and headed for Mars. Watch out for that asteroid belt!
Behind the drum kit, was the hugest gong I'd ever seen with the Boston logo of guitar that looks like a UFO with the skyline of Boston aboard.
It has graced the cover of every album they've released with minor modifications.
Oh, yes, the music! They commenced, appropriately, with "Rock and Roll Band" and they played, played, played -- almost two dozen songs for fans.
These wunderkinds had their debut album stay on the charts for 132 weeks -- selling 17 million units.
Founder and sole survivor of the original group, Renaissance man Tom Scholz, wrote his first song, "Foreplay" while attending MIT.
It all makes sense – he was probably a kid who always wanted to be an astronaut, but decided to settle for rock star. His engineering background enabled him to invent the Rockman guitar amplifier, and while he swears he has never utilized a synthesizer, he's tricked out his organ to make sounds that could be heard in space if sounds could be heard in space.
Well known for his philanthropy, Scholz signed an Epiphone guitar to be given away at the show.
For $10, not only did you get a chance at the guitar, but walked away with a Boston's Greatest Hits CD.
The proceeds went to the Shriners Children's Hospitals and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
Included in the videos were some wonderful undersea shots and footage of the Sea Shepherd ships that quixotically patrol the high seas in their fight to protect marine life and the integrity of the oceans for all mankind.
Unlike most classic rockers who are content to rest on their laurels, Scholz continues to write, and played a couple of tracks from their new album, "Life, Love and Hope." Like most classic rockers, the group has experienced a lot of flux, most tragically the suicide of original lead singer Brad Delp.
Another recurring theme is the discovery of musicians via YouTube. Scholz was so impressed with Tommy DeCarlo's work, he was asked to sing at a memorial for Delp, and in 2008 took leave of his job at Home Depot, and has heeded their hit, "Don't Look Back!"
Though the lead for .38 Special never took off his fancy coat, Team Boston was stripped down to T-shirts or sleeveless muscle shirts. Scholz even wore shorts, and he and Kimberly Dahme even wore sensible sneaks.
They had more airpower than I've seen as well. Well-placed fans cooled the jets of these stratospheric rockers. They had an especially lovely effect on Dahme's long blonde hair.
She's no Bass Player Barbie, though.
She writes and sings her own songs as a solo artist, but joins the band to tour, rocking her Judy Jetsonesque turquoise-and-white guitar and sweetening up the harmonies.
"It's Been Such a Long Time" and by all appearances, Boston will continue to be wicked strong for a long time hence.