The sound was spectacular from the outset, the lighting bright and adequate, and the staging impressive. The band played on a stage fastened as the inside of cock pit, the lighting truss took a dip and turned into a space ship (the band s logo, of course), and a huge replica pipe organ rose to the rafters during the Phantom of the Opera-type organ solo during Walk On.
Aside from the band s songs, the individual members of the band are the real stars of the show. As introduced by Delp, guitarist Tom Scholz is really a man who needs no introduction. He owns the band, from the songs to the staging to the equipment that band uses onstage. He played guitar, bass and keyboards and looked just as goofy and out of place as he always does, but somehow it all works. (My wife, who doesn t know the whole story, said he looked more like an inventor. Obviously, she was right on the money there, since Scholz graduated from M.I.T., worked at Polaroid as a product engineer and created the Rockman headphone guitar amp.)
To help recreate the majestic guitar sounds from the band s intricately recorded records, Scholz employed no less than five guitarists on some songs. Lynyrd Skynrd was the three-guitar army, the Outlaws were the four-guitar army, but who would have thought Boston would outdo them all? Delp and second vocalist Fran Cosmo played rhythm, while former Sammy Hagar axeman Gary Pihl and Fran s son Anthony played melodic leads with Scholz. When all five guitars were firing and the sound was right, Boston s melodic metal sounded like it was coming from the heavens.
This meant that those gorgeous, shimmering leads on show highlights Feelin Satisfied, Piece of Mind, More Than A Feeling, Don t Look Back and Something About You sounded just as precise as they did on the records. It was very loud as well, meaning those powerful moments were that much more powerful onstage.
Delp and Cosmo did their part to make the evening memorable, with each helping the other reach those unattainable notes on songs like "I Think I Like It, Hollyann and Amanda, and doing a great job bringing all of those harmonies to life. Delp is the original vocalist who is the only member still remaining from the first two records. Cosmo joined the ebony porn band in 1994 and has been around ever since.
Drummer Jeff Neal was a force, providing a solid backbeat and acing all of those infamous fills (think Feelin Satisfied and Long Time ). The real surprise of the band is bassist Kimberly Dahme. Even my wife was impressed, commenting on the way home that it s hard to believe she can play and sing like that and still look like a Playboy centerfold. I couldn t have said it better myself. Her acoustic take on With You, was a highlight. As a matter of fact, the songs from Corporate America, the album the band released last year (that I did not like much at the time) sounded much better onstage here.
Actually, everything went right here, and as usual, it had to do with timing. The band was in the right place (Northern California), at the right time (summer) playing the right songs to the right people. Call it luck, call it skill, but whatever it is, Boston has it in spades when it comes back to what must feel like a second home.
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