Boston still ahead of curve after all these years
Saturday, June 14, 2003

Boston, at the Tweeter Center in Mansfield, last night.

By Brett Milano
Boston Herald

So you want to see a band that's right on the cutting edge, in touch with all the latest trends?

Then you were probably nowhere near Boston's concert at the Tweeter Center last night.

For nearly three hours, guitarist Tom Scholz and his crew did the kind of grandiose arena rock that almost nobody plays any more, showing enough heart to make it work.

The live sound was beautifully detailed, with mile-high harmonies and multiple guitar parts - all of it played live with no sequences or backing tapes.

The seven-piece lineup featured no fewer than five guitar players including the two lead singers, Fran Cosmo and original member Brad Delp, to recreate all the tricky parts from the albums.

Any Boston song you can name was probably played. The set included nearly everything from their multi-platinum 1975 debut and the new "Corporate America," plus large chunks of the three albums in between.

There was an acoustic set in the middle, a handful of party anthems at the close and even some long instrumental jams.

Despite his mad scientist image, Scholz has written some emotive ballads. And slower numbers such as "Amanda" and "To Be a Man" were the surprise highlights.

Delp's years in the local clubs, fronting the tribute band Beetlejuice, have kept his voice in fine shape.

The new songs were more diverse. The protest song "Corporate America" probably won't make your local CEO lose any sleep, but its punkish sound proved they've been staying in touch.

New bassist Kimberley Dahme, who was recruited by Scholz from a Nashville band, sang lead on Boston's first and only country song, "With You." She also played surprisingly well considering she'd never picked up a bass before she joined Boston.

Not everything worked quite as well. The 20-minute walk-on, which included a church organ solo and loads of dry ice was too Spinal-Tappish for comfort.

But last night proved there's still a place in rock for Boston, as long as they let the songs do the driving.

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