Review by John Jeffrey, Photos by Thomas S. Orwat, Jr.
Hamburg, NY - On Tuesday, August 14, the American rock band bearing the name of the Massachusetts city, BOSTON, played the 'feel good' concert of the summer at the Erie County Fairgrounds. Remembered by most as the band that took 7 years to complete an album (their fourth: "Walk On"), BOSTON is featuring a brand new lineup with newest members Tommy DeCarlo - lead vocals, David Victor - guitar/lead vocals, Tracy Ferrie - bass, along with longtime members Curly Smith - drums, Gary Pihl - guitar, and founding member Tom Scholz - guitar/keyboards.
Going into the concert, I had never seen BOSTON live before. I did have the opportunity of seeing former vocalist Fran Cosmo perform BOSTON songs as a solo act, which left me wondering what the actual BOSTON (band) sounded like? I was also curious as to what a 'BOSTON crowd' looked like as well? Would it be comprised of audiophiles, stoners, corporate nerds or what? It appeared to be all of the above, as 3200 fans filled the grandstand to show their appreciation to a band almost forgotten in time.
Although pouring earlier in the day, the rain held out during the concert, as BOSTON played a 90 minute set, starting just after 8pm. Opening with "Rock and Roll Band," although somewhat quieter than the volume you would expect at a standard rock concert, the group's mix was near perfection (the drums were a little loud) and the performances were flawless. The pitch perfect harmonies sounded just like the CD, and were so good that at times I was expecting a 'fade out' like on the record. The band is so well rehearsed that you could almost swear they are using backing tapes (although the band vehemently deny that they do).
While new lead singer Tommy DeCarlo has an uncanny resemblance to the late Brad Delp (is it the beard?),co-vocalist/guitarist David Victor brings an almost Randy Rhoads vibe to the band - complete with a white Les Paul. While DeCarlo does a great job replicating the original Delp vocals, when David Victor put his guitar down and took front stage, the crowd really seemed to respond more to Victor than DeCarlo. That being said, they are a great vocal duo, reminiscent of the time when the group was fronted by both Brad Delp and Fran Cosmo.
Guitarist Tom Scholz is truly the backbone of BOSTON. While switching back and forth from guitar to keys (including a literally 'smoking' organ solo), Scholz had his astute ear open, making sure the newest fleet of the BOSTON starship were all on point with their performances. During his solo spot, instead of boring the crowd with a pedestrian two-handed tapping guitar solo (ala Eddie Van Halen), his solo spot morphed into a full on jam, which brought the crowd to it's feet.
As security allowed the audience to approach the barricade right before the encores, hundreds of fans piled in front of the stage as they closed the show with "Used To Bad News" and "Party." As the night came to a close, DeCarlo commented on the fact that while it's clear that so many people enjoy their positive, uplifting style of rock and roll, he questioned why it isn't being more supported by radio and other sources of media. A good question indeed, as the world certainly needs more bands like BOSTON.