By Stacy Peterson
Staff writer

Spaceship guitars and Cadillac cars -the boys from Boston are back.

Actually, its now the boys of Boston and newest member Kimberley Dahme, the first female member of Boston since the band formed in 1971.

Boston pulls into Raleigh tonight for a show at the Alltel Pavilion at Walnut Creek. This summer's 53-city tour is the classic rock band's first in six years and supports the new album "Corporate America," released in March.

The album is the next step for the band that changed classic rock radio with its 1976 self-titled debut release.

"Boston" gave us "More Than A Feeling," "Foreplay/Longtime," "Peace of Mind" and "Smokin," among an entire album's worth of FM radio hits.

The record went on to sell more than 14 million copies and was the best-selling album in America for two decades.

Boston founder Tom Scholz "discovered" Dahme one night as she played in the Tom Hambridge Band at the Sit n' Bull Pub in Massachusetts.

Scholz and the other band members had been looking for a drummer but were blown away by her vocals and guitar playing ability.

Dahme didn't even believe Scholz when he asked her try out for the band, she said by telephone from New York City just after the tour kicked off in early June.

"I thought 'Oh, sure, right,'" Dahme said. "It's really amazing. It's a pinch-me kind of feeling."

That moment was 2 1/2 years ago. Since then Dahme has handled vocals on some of the new songs and wrote "With You" for the new album.

She has also become a fan favorite -especially for male fans.

Dahme joins original members Scholz and singer Brad Delp, as well as newer members Fran Cosmo, Anthony Cosmo, Jeff Neal and Gary Pihl. The tour goes heavy on the decades of hits with a few new releases.

Dahme, who sings and plays bass guitar, acoustic guitar, flute and keyboards, said the new stage show is something to behold with a guitar space ship and phantom organ.

"It's going over great," Dahme said. "It's not just a classic rock band -the music is happening now."

Dahme has played music since she was old enough to talk and said being in Boston has been a dream come true.

She grew up listening to her brother's copy of the first album and played Boston songs in the band she fronted when she was 11 years old.

She said working with Scholz, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduate, has been an education in itself.

"He's a genius," she said. "When people ask if he is a perfectionist -yes he is, in the best way. He hears everything going on. When he plays, you know that's Tom Scholz playing."

Scholz has been credited with creating the "arena rock" sound in studio recordings. In fact, most of Boston's music was recorded in his basement, called Hideaway Studio, using his own inventions, such as the Rockman amplification system.

His musical wizardry gives him the ability to capture multiple sounds at once. But more than music, Dahme said, she has found a second family with the members of Boston.

"Brad, I swear, should be a politician," she said. "They give back. Everyone is such absolute sweethearts."

In keeping with the message of "Corporate America," Boston has decided to raise awareness for both animal rights and environmental concerns during the summer tour.

In fact, $1 of every ticket will be donated to The Sierra Club.

Dahme said she sees a long future with Boston and new things to come for the enduring band.

"I feel like they're more my friends," she said. "I'm indebted to the band forever."