By Doug Elfman
Las Vegas Review-Journal
A woman went to a meet-and-greet for the band Boston recently and she told the group, "This is show No. 114 for me." Boston guitarist Gary Pihl thought, "Wow, that's more shows than my wife's been to."
Pihl said 114 Boston concerts is "more shows than some of the guys in the band have been to, because some of the guys are new.'"
That's just the way it is with Boston fanatics. Many will come to Vegas just to see Boston/Cheap Trick rock Saturday at the Hard Rock Hotel. (Their hits: "More Than a Feeling," "Rock and Roll Band," "Smokin'," "Amanda," "Peace of Mind," "Foreplay/Long Time" and "Don't Look Back.")
Boston has hung with some fans so often, the musicians know them by name.
"They're all very polite and respectful, which is different than the old days where somebody would come up, and they're drunk, and they puke in front of you," Pihl said and laughed at memories of riotous fans.
"They respect the music, and they're respectful not to invade our personal space. It's not like they're knocking on your door and want to look through your garbage or something like that. We've got the nicest fans in the world."
Pihl said that extended family of crew and fans makes for a happy life.
"We joke that this is like ‘Groundhog Day,' " Pihl said.
"You wake up in some hotel, which looks just like the last hotel you were in. Then you go to the venue, which looks a lot like the last venue you were at. And you're playing the same songs, and you're doing the same things, and you've got the same people around you. And they become part of your family, and we love them all."
Since Pihl and I were name-checking the most profound movie of our generation (life equals "Groundhog Day"), I asked him: What part of "Groundhog Day" are you in?
"We're at the point where we're enjoying it. At first, Bill Murray is fighting the whole thing and he tried to kill himself to get out of it, because he's so frustrated with the whole thing.
"At the end of the movie, he's embracing it, because he knows these people, he's saving their lives, and their lives have touched him. That's where we are in the movie. We're at the point where we love it, and we'd hate to see it end."
I did not ask Pihl what it's like to play the same songs every night. But he told me people always ask him that, and this is what he tells them:
"Well, if we had to just sit in the living room or the basement and play songs, it'd probably be boring. But you get up there onstage, and you've got 10,000 people smiling and singing along, and I get a lump in my throat. It's just the greatest feeling in the world, so why wouldn't you keep doing that if you could?"
By the way, the band is touring with four guitarists. That's crazy. But Pihl said the wall of sound helps cover all the guitar parts from the albums.
"People have told us after the shows, ‘It's like the record on steroids.'
There's no pre-recorded anything. If we make mistakes onstage, you hear them."