By Michael Mckenna
We were packed like sardines in a sold-out house waiting for Rock n' Roll legends BOSTON to take the stage. The crowd reminded me of a convention of baby-boomers, the only thing missing were the long hairs and certain vapors from days gone by. It had been 40 years since I first heard those hard-driven guitars and 38 years since I last saw the band live at the Harrisburg Farm Show Arena, all this during the heyday of the disco era of the mid-70's.
The music we were about to hear emerged from Tom Sholtz's basement studio and proceeded to sell over 17 million copies and went multi-platinum without hitting number 1. The combination of bluesy infused rock, slamming guitars and pounding percussion took the genre by storm and left its mark that has lasted decades. This marked the beginning of "Corporate Rock" from the majors in the industry. Today, the music is known as Classic Rock and has many new fans of all ages as was proven at this show.
Hitting the stage in a blast of light & sound, Tom Sholtz and Gary Pihl kicked it into high gear from the door with "Rock & Roll Band" followed in short order by "Smokin'" where we saw Tommy DeCarlo give it up on vox re-creating Brad Delp's parts with high energy. "Feelin' Satisfied" kept the energy level at a stratospheric level as the singers emerged from the audience and kept pace with the band. We were the treated to the title track of their latest CD, "Life, Love & Hope", a change of pace from what we are all used to, but a look into what the band is about today.
"Peace of Mind" had us all rocking hard and got the crowd on its feet as Tommy DeCarlo had us all in the palm of his hand at this point. The "Long Time Segue" mix into "Cool The Engines", from their 1986 LP, "Third Stage", which marked the beginning of the Gary Pihl era, saw him and Tom Sholtz masterfully match note for note throughout. Jeff Neal's percussions were spot on throughout! The mid- album track, "Surrender To Me", from the "Walk On" LP, was a treat for those diehard BOSTON fans as we heard Tracie Ferry nail his bottom riffs perfectly.
The opening notes of "Don't Look Back" shook the venue to its foundations as the crowd went totally bananas dancing in the aisles and everyone had their cell phones working hard taking pics and videos. "Something About You", from the debut LP, saw Beth Cohen nail her intro before the explosion of sound took over on this standard. Now the band treated all the ladies who were named "Amanda" to a treat with an excellent rendition that DeCarlo nailed to perfection. "We're Ready" and "The Launch" broke things up a bit and set the stage for Beth Cohen and her solos on 2 tracks, "I Need Your Love" & "Walking At Night."
"Walk On", "Get Organized" and a reprise of "Walk On" followed in short order. The acoustic strains and harmonies of "Hitch A Ride" accented by some awesome keyboards and stinging guitars set the stage for the biggie of the night. This was the track that everyone was waiting for, they were shouting the title and when the first strains were heard, the air guitars came into play as did the cymbal smashes as the audience mimicked the band in unison. YES, that one single track, "Foreplay, Long Time" is that one signature killer cut that stands alone from all the others. Tom, Gary, Tommy, Beth, Jeff, Tracie saved the best for last! AWESOME!
The crowd wanted more, they were not satisfied...the baby-boomer were having heart palpitations and the blood pressure was hitting the roof as BOSTON came back with "Don't Be Afraid" and "Party" to cap off an awesome show.
This band has been firing on all cylinders for 40 years and they still know how to give it up BIGTIME to their faithful fans! They are "not just another band out of Boston", they are "THE BAND OUT OF BOSTON!"