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 -- 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.


Peace, love, Boston


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

Preview: Arena-rock titans Boston, Kansas and Styx all hit Pittsburgh on the same weekend

By Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Take yourself back to 1977 -- whether you're old enough or not -- and imagine Boston, Kansas and Styx all playing here on the same weekend.

There would be rejoicing in the streets, a frantic scramble for tickets and then a frightening stampede into the Arena to get the best spot to stand -- ah, festival seating.

Here we are, four decades later, and three of the biggest arena-rock bands of that era are visiting within two days -- none of them in the arena.


Where: Carnegie Library Music Hall of Homestead, Munhall.

When: 8 p.m. Friday.

Tickets: $35-$60; 1-877-435-3849.

20 Shows and a Month to Go!

A message from the Band:

We've done 20 shows now and each one has been a gas, gas, gas. It's great to play places we've never been to, or that we haven't been to recently. We've connected with friends, fans and family that we haven't seen for a while.

As some of you may know, we play our national anthem at some shows or special sporting events. When we saw that we had some Canadian shows booked this year, Tom added an instrumental arrangement of their national anthem, "O Canada". It was a real special moment when we played it in London, Ontario and the whole audience started to sing along!

We've got more shows planned for the summer, from North Dakota to Maryland, so please check our Tour page to see if we're going to be near you. We'd love to have you singing along with us! Air guitarists welcome, too.