By John Davisson
Boston is on the road, and they played the St. Augustine Amphitheatre.
It was like entering a time machine as they rolled out hit after hit from the late '70s and early '80s. Back then, Boston's songs were in heavy rotation on the radio, and you could not help but know the songs if you listened to rock stations. Boston's debut album sold 17 million copies (only Guns and Roses has sold more copies of a debut album). The second album sold 7 million – a sophomore slump to be sure, but who can complain about 7 million? The next three albums only sold 7 million total.
Tom Scholz, the Boston mastermind, is the only member remaining from the original line-up, but the sound was unmistakable. Tom singlehandedly changed the sound of rock music. An electronics whiz with a master's degree from MIT, he created effects boxes (like the Rockman he developed later and marketed) that enabled him to create an arena-rock sound in the studio. Without stacks of Marshall amplifiers, he had a sound with a full, clean sustain that became a hallmark of the band's sound.
At the St. Augustine show, Tom played guitar and organ and, with the help of Gary Phil (from Sammy Hagar's pre-Van Halen band) and David Victor on guitars, Tommy DeCarlo on lead vocals, Tracy Ferrie on bass and Curly Smith on drums, the sound was classic Boston. Tom seems to like playing the organ, which bellowed smoke during "A New World" from Third Stage, but he did play guitar most of the time. A large video screen behind the band was used for the band logo, video footage of the band and some footage of the Boston theme (a guitar-shaped spaceship with a city searching for a new home).
Most of the songs in the set list were from 1986 or before, including most of the debut album. Only two songs were played from 1994's Walk On. The highlight of the show was "Foreplay/Long Time" with Tom on organ mostly but switching to acoustic guitar for the anthem parts of the song. It totally felt like 1977 again. I will see Boston in concert anytime for the songs from the debut album, as they are so iconic. Judging by the fans singing along to every word, a lot of people feel the same as I do.