By Chad Hobbs
If you were one of the 5,000 or so of us who helped pack the LC Pavilion last night; I'm sure that you'd agree that it was a night that you won't soon forget. Everybody is familiar with how flawless BOSTON sounds on recording. I mean for crying out loud, Tom Scholz takes ten years to perfect each album, refusing to release it until it is absolutely pristine. The thing that makes them so much better, to me, is that they are able to replicate that signature sound flawlessly on stage. If you listen to a piece of their music, you will understand that there is a lot of things going on in there. There are lots of intricate and subtle things happening that contribute to the whole piece and they flat out go onto the stage and execute it perfectly. It amazes me every single time I see them. They seamlessly transitioned through songs from every album but Corporate America, making sure to get the rock anthems, some new stuff, and of course some deeper cuts that actually come to life better in a live environment.
Unfortunately, I missed the opening act; Scotty Bratcher. I'd seen him before as the opener for Cheap Trick, and was looking forward to seeing him again. I'm a huge fan of blues guitar and long time Bratcher mega-fan, Silas Joliff, was able to fill me in on the good stuff that I missed. Any set that includes Jimi Hendrix gets my approval. Since we arrived late, though, we weren't able to get into the pit until right before BOSTON took stage. We made our way to within about ten feet from where Scholz would be standing and simply watched as BOSTON's perfect music was perfectly performed for close to two hours.
Doing that is no small task, I imagine, and to do so requires some seriously good musicians. Scholz has surrounded himself with folks on every tour that have the chops to bring the sounds, that he painstakingly perfects for ten years, to life. Curly Smith and Tracy Ferrie hold down the rhythm section on the drums and bass. Gary Pihl continues to wow audiences with his guitar work. Of course, you've got Tom Scholz playing any instrument he pleases; because, well, that's what Tom Scholz does. Then there is Tommy DeCarlo. Look, there is no replacing the late Brad Delp. DeCarlo doesn't do that, instead he owns the stage and relentlessly executes and exceeds these classic songs. I mean the guy flat out nails it. A most welcome surprise was the return of the first rock star that I ever had a crush on, Miss Kimberley Dahme on the guitar. See, the first time I saw this band in 2002-2003 with my buddy Nick, there was nothing cooler than seeing a pretty woman playing the songs that we dreamed of someday playing; while we pretend jammed in a dusty garage. These songs were the soundtrack that made up our lives; the soundtrack that girls our age made fun of us for listening to. What's funny now, is that BOSTON is still as good now as they were in 1976, while the "cool" musicians of my high school years have long been forgotten. Welcome back Kimberley! Not a band ever to settle, though, this five star group of performers took it even a step further with the addition of a very special guest for the last quarter of the show.
I'll be honest for a minute, and after last night, I'm ashamed to say this: I haven't watched an episode of American Idol since some chick named Kelly Clarkson was on the show. If I had, last night would not have been the first time that I'd been exposed to the amazingly talented Siobhan Magnus. I have long snubbed my nose at Idol, since I'm a stubborn headbanger who thinks himself to be above pop music, and have long relegated that show to nothing more than any other reality trash that pollutes my TV. I can tell you though, Idol got it wrong again if this girl didn't win the show. I might live under a rock, but she was fantastic. She was simply stunning when she joined the band for the song "Walk On". Obviously, it still had that signature BOSTON sound, but she owned the vocals and in all reality she owned every person in that amphitheater while on stage. She is what the world of rock music has needed from a female vocalist for a long time. I genuinely hope she is able to hit it big, so that the rest of the world can be witness to what I saw last night.
After the encore, my brother and I ran into Kim, a girl that I went to high school with. She hooked me up with some autographed stuff at my first BOSTON concert and every time they are in town, I run into her. I will admit that the VIP session was much cooler this time around than the last time that I was given this privelege. Last time, there were about forty VIP's and this time only about ten of us. That made it much easier to actually get to talk with some of the band members for a few moments. So, we hung out backstage, watching the tear down crew do their thing while we waited for the band to arrive.
Gary, Curly, Tracy, and Siobhan made there way over to where we all were waiting. Some of the more familiar fans made their way right up to start conversation, while my brother and I kind of stood back in "We're not worthy!" mode. After a few minutes, Siobhan made her way over and talked to us for awhile, and she was even more impressive in person. She was humble and seemed so grateful to be able to be on the road with a band like BOSTON. I asked her what it was like and she said that it was "A lot of hard work and exhausting, but it's a cool summer job! I could be making ice cream or something but I get to perform with BOSTON." Yeah, I'd agree that that is a pretty cool summer job! Unfortunately, we forgot to ask for a picture, but it was pretty neat to get to talk to her.
Next Tracy came over and we chatted for a few. Somehow, the guy has tendinitis in his picking hand, but you wouldn't have noticed by the show he put on. We talked a little bit about the interview we did last week and how many people have read it. He graciously took pictures with us before moving on to another group of fans.
Lastly, we spent a few minutes with Curly Smith, the drummer of the band. He was a pretty funny guy and also agreed for some pictures. We ran out of time before we got to talk to Gary; the management folks started rounding up the band members for their 8 hour journey to Raleigh, North Carolina for the next show. You could tell that there was a real sense of genuine humility and that they are really appreciative of their fans. You can see it when they are on stage, truly enjoying what they are doing, and even more so in person. I'm hopeful that they continue to tour and bring these iconic songs to future generations of rock fans.
BOSTON Set List 8/20/14 Columbus, OH
1. Rock & Roll Band
3. Feelin' Satisfied
4. Last Day Of School
5. Life, Love & Hope
6. Peace Of Mind
7. It's Been Such A Long Time Interlude
8. Cool The Engines
9. Surrender To Me
10. Don't Look Back
11. Something About You
13. The Launch
14. More Than A Feeling
16. A New World
17. To Be A Man
18. Walk On*
19. Get Organ-ized*
20. Walk On (Some More)*
21. Foreplay/Long Time*
*With Siobhan Magnus