News

New talents live up to high standards of 'Boston'

By Jeff Miers
News pop music critic

Perhaps the band is the epitome of what we call "classic rock." Or, more likely, Boston was simply a concept birthed in the mind of a visionary artist, one that just happened to catch on in a major way in the latter '70s, and we all accepted the pinning of the "classic rock" tag on a sound that was conceived without such pretensions.

Boston brings hits, familiarity to Bethlehem

By Dustin Schoof | The Express-Times

Boston is among the many classic rock bands who seem content on touring the festival circuit and playing their hits. The near-capacity crowd who showed up tonight to Musikfest didn't seem to mind -- or care.

The concert had all the trimmings of a Boston best-of collection; dropping the staples such as "Boston," "Rock & Roll Band" and "Smokin" all within the first 20 minutes. There were twin guitar solos, vocal harmonies and the occasional ballad. (the acoustically oriented "Amanda" in particular elicited many "aw's," which could be heard from those within earshot.)

That is not to diminish or take away from the musical talents of the group's members. Founding guitarist Tom Scholz proved he can still work a fretboard with the best of them, as he laid into the audience with several ripping solos throughout the night. Perched behind his kit, drummer Curly Smith steered the rhythm section with locomotive force.

Scholz pulled double duty throughout the night, switching between guitar and keyboard -- many times during the same song; including a sizzling finger workout on "Smokin," and later on the intro to the show's closing number, "Foreplay/Long Time."

However, the absence of original singer-guitarist Brad Delp (who died in 2007), coupled with Scholz being Boston's only remaining original member, made the performance come off more like a well-oiled tribute band doing their best Boston impression. To their credit, each song was played with precision without any audible botched licks or dead notes. Cuts such as "Feelin' Satisfied," "Peace of Mind," and "Surrender to Me" sounded just like they do on vinyl; as if they were being pumped out of a turntable cranked to 11, only without the pops and crackle.

Current frontman Tommy DeCarlo showed that he could handle Delp's lauded high notes with ease and did his best to keep the crowed engaged (which didn't appear to be a problem); particularly on the group's massive hit single "More Than a Feeling." The song ended with Scholz burning up his six-string a flurry of hammer-ons and bended notes as the rest of the band chugged along with him.

Though it was far from a poor or lifeless performance, there was a sense of complacency that permeated the show. The music was tight but it was tough to shake the feeling that Boston, now in its 36th year of existence, and several lineup changes later, was simply going through the motions.

At least it didn't rain.

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Boston singer and guitarist David Victor discusses band's legacy ahead of Musikfest stop

Boston singer and guitarist David Victor's enthusiasm for the band and their music is palpable, along with the reverence he has for those early years.

"I grew up with Boston's music and my sister Peggy brought home the Boston album, we played it all the time. Every song was or became a hit," says Victor, whose passion for the band ultimately landed him in the lead vocals spot at the age of 48.

"You don't expect your break when you're nearly 50, but that's how it happened for me," Victor says.

Formed in 1976, Boston will touch down Sunday on the Stands Steel Stage during Bethlehem's Musikfest celebration.

Part of a 40-city tour which began in June, the Musikfest stop is the first for Victor. "Every city we go to is a first for me," says Victor, a native of California. The band performed at Musikfest in 2008.


Victor was brought into the Boston fold about two years ago, thanks to posting his work, playing and singing classic Boston songs on YouTube. "Getting that call was pretty unbelievable," Victor says.

Hits the band maintains on its play list include "Don't Look Back," "Amanda," "Smokin'," "Rock and Roll Band," and "Foreplay/Longtime."

"I'd have to say 'Foreplay/Longtime' is probably my favorite Boston song. It's as fresh and relevant today as it was when (guitarist) Tom (Scholz) wrote it," Victor says.

Victor credits Scholz's meticulous attention to detail  both in the studio and out of it - for the music's staying power.

While founder Scholtz is the only original member of the band, Victor says the rest of the group continues in Boston's spirit. "It all comes together," he says.


Victor says technology, always a hallmark for Boston, continues to be part of the show. "We have this great multimedia show on screens with relevant clips running behind us, so it's a pretty amazing show," Victor says.

Victor says the band is working on new material, but declined to say if or when a new recording was coming. "We are working, and it's looking like we'll be heading back into a studio this fall, but other than that, I can't say much more," Victor says.

For now, Boston's hits  along with the trademark spaceship logo  remain on center stage for fans of their classically-infused brand of rock 'n' roll.

Source

Boston Leaves Fans  Feelin Satisfied

It almost seems unfair the amount of skill Tom Scholz possesses. You have an organist that rivals Jon Lord in skill, a guitarist that has written some of the most recognized riffs in rock history and a mechanical engineer to boot. Boston has seen its share of line-up changes over the course of their 36+ years in the music business. At the core though is the wizard, Tom Scholz.

Music review: Boston brings more than a feeling to local fans at Stage AE

By Scott Mervis / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette



It's been such a long time ...

Yeah, in fact, it was starting to look a lot like Boston didn't like Pittsburgh. Boston the band, not the city.

Despite just about every other arena-rock band from the '70s making frequent stops here, Boston skipped Pittsburgh on both its 2004 and 2008 tours. Those were very different tours, as 2004 was the final run for beloved singer Brad Delp, who took his own life three years later. The 2008 tour introduced Tommy DeCarlo, who was discovered via YouTube while working at Home Depot in Charlotte, N.C.

The Boston faithful got their first look at him four years ago, but it was all new to us Friday night at a packed Stage AE.

On his second run, Mr. DeCarlo certainly looks more the part, with his hair grown out and the hardware-guy mustache expanded into the aging rock-star goatee. Judging from footage of the last tour, he also seems more animated in the frontman role. Between his range and vocal tone -- not to mention his humility and respect for Mr. Delp -- they could not have found a better man to step in for the original.

True to form, guitarist/songwriter Tom Scholz, the only full-fledged "member" of Boston, has the six-man crew -- ebony porn with co-vocalist/guitarist David Victor, guitarist/keyboardist Gary Pihl, bassist Tracy Ferrie and drummer Curly Smith -- clicking to perfection.

Boston hit the shadowy lit stage with "Rock and Roll Band," creating that sonic wall of sound it trademarked 36 years ago. The guys cranked it more and dirtied it up for a "Smokin'" that really did smoke and a "Peace of Mind" that shot off into space. Mr. Scholz doesn't get mentioned much with the Van Halens of the world, but he has a guitar tone you could pick out anywhere, and just about every solo shot off like a rocket.

The band has nothing new, amazingly enough, since the last time it was here in 2003, so it favored its popular first three albums, with a few nods to 1994's "Walk On" and not a note from 2002's forgettable "Corporate America."

Boston probably could have played its 1976 debut straight through, plus a couple of other hits, and still sent the fans home thrilled. It played six of the eight songs from the album -- leaving off "Hitch a Ride" and "Let Me Take You Home Tonight" -- including signature hit "More Than a Feeling," which was paired with "The Launch" and extended with a long arpeggiated solo and furious jam.

Mr. DeCarlo and the other three singers soared on the crunchy title track to "Don't Look Back," a continuation of that debut album. "Third Stage" album supplied the sonic rocker "Cool the Engines" and sappy power ballad "Amanda," the band's only No 1 hit. Late in the show, Boston packaged together "My Destination" and "To Be a Man," creating a bathroom break opportunity that was soon interrupted by the heavy Deep Purple-style organ jam on the Victor-sung "Walk On" into the set-closing delirium of prog-rock monster "Foreplay/Long Time."

Right through to the closing "Party," the hardcore Boston fans had to be pinching themselves to see the massive arena band of their youth crammed into such an intimate setting and sounding as forceful as ever. As someone who scribbled "Boston" on my high school notebooks, this was a blast -- sonic and otherwise.

Scott Mervis: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 412-263-2576.

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Peace, love, Boston

By BRAD PATTON

As the 10-day Musikfest winds down Sunday in Bethlehem, one of the biggest bands of the 1970s will take the stage.