Classic rock band headlines fair's An Evening of Music & Wine event

By Valerie Vaz
The Tribune

It's been a long time since classic rocker band Boston visited San Luis Obispo County, but I had "More Than a Feeling" that I was in for a good show when the band took the stage July 31 at the California Mid-State Fair.

This year's An Evening of Music & Wine concert took place at the Chumash Grandstand Arena, with decorated tables set up near the stage where concertgoers could sit and relax. Outside food was allowed, and wine and other beverages were available for sale.

Around 7 p.m., opening act Zzah started things off with smooth instrumental jams to set the mood. But the roughly 6,000 people milling around at the concert venue, were definitely eager for Boston to come on.

Finally peace of mind came at 8:05 p.m. when Boston walked onstage.

Guitarist and songwriter Tom Scholz, Boston's founder and sole remaining original member, and his bandmates wore jeans and T-shirts— invoking fond memories of days gone by, when big collars and afros were the Boston norm.

The audience was excited as the band picked up their instruments and started to play.

The show kicked off with "Rock and Roll Band." Immediately, heads were swaying and feet were tapping.

Silver-haired foxes danced while holding bottles of wine. Concertgoers in Daisy Duke jean shorts and cowboy boots moved to the beat.

Boston might by 30 years past its heyday but the classic songs the band wrote can still get a crowd dancing.

The band followed that hit with "Smokin' " and "Feelin' Satisfied" — later bringing Tracy Ferrie, the band's new bassist/vocalist to the microphone to sing a new Boston song, "Life, Love & Hope." Throughout the show, Ferrie was the only member of the band to speak the audience, saying, "Paso Robles, show me what you have!"

Boston performed in front of a huge display that was reminiscent of the Soarin' Over California attraction at Disneyland's California Adventure Park. The screen also showed footage of outer space taken by NASA, as well as a video of dolphins swimming — because nothing says rock ‘n' roll like dolphins!

Other concert highlights were "Don't Look Back," "Something About You" and the 1986 hit "Amanda." Fans of Scholz must have been impressed by his rumbling guitar solos and fancy fingerwork. At age 68, the man can still play.

The show was in full swing when the moon appeared over the horizon, offset by the tumbling bright lights of the Ferris wheel.

Although Boston sounded good, the crowd began to disperse early. Not even the hit song "Long Time" could stem the movement of people towards the exits.

And by the time Boston got to its final song, a funnel cake was calling my name!