A mix of old and new music and a dollop of good humor delight a devoted State Fair audience.

By Jody Crossman
Register Staff Writer

Not since the creation of Samuel Adams Lager or baked beans has something from Boston (the city) gone down as smoothly as Boston (the band).

Playing to a crowd of 6,088 at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand on Saturday night, the progressive rock band from the East Coast put on a display of pure musical genius that's been its hallmark since the early 1970s.

The multilayered, rich sound of this band is still a marvel to hear today.

With many guitar riffs, organ and keyboard solos, and consistently strong vocals and lyrics, Boston's sound has weathered nearly 30 years of rock 'n' roll.

The members are a good-humored bunch, too.

Disguised as a roadie -dressed in a "Boston Crew" tank top, ball cap and shades -Tom Scholz, the band's lead guitarist, organist and founder, kicked off the two-hour show by pretending to tune up a member's guitar to the faint strains of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

From there, the band was off and running.

With lead vocalist Brad Delp at the mic, the seven-piece band -that included five guitars -ripped into a cache of old crowd favorites such as "Rock 'n' Roll Band" and "Peace of Mind" right off the bat.

It didn't take long for Boston to warm up to the 1978 hit "Don't Look Back," which had the crowd on its feet and howling for more.

Though it has been eight years since the band's last big album "Walk On,"

Boston is still cranking out new material, having put out an album as recently as last year.

"Corporate America" includes a heavy dose of vocalist Fran Cosmo's signature ballads and some surprisingly catchy tunes that the band was quick to dig into during its State Fair set. "Cryin"," with Cosmo on lead, had the sound and feel of a soothing, steady, sweet Oasis tune.

But the night didn't belong to new songs. The crowd seemed to beg for old favorites, and the band didn't disappoint.

"Cool the Engines," "Hollyann," and "Amanda" were enough to appease the sometimes rowdy crowd, but Boston blew the roof off the Grandstand stage on more hard-rocking numbers such as "Walk On" and "Long Time."

Boston returned to the stage for a three-song encore that included "Something About You" and "Party."

It was perhaps was the last tune of the night that summed up this band's show: "Smokin"