I was surprised to see a Boston tour so soon after their last one...only a four year wait this time. And no new album to promote. I hear they're just about done with their latest and that it will feature some vocals by late lead singer Brad Delp.
This go-round had them at Mark G. Etess Arena at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. I normally prefer the more intimate showrooms at the casinos in A.C., but Etess Arena was built just right for a larger performance venue, where even the seats farthest away are not really that far...not like one would see in today's hockey rinks or football stadiums. And the ticket prices were a bit more agreeable too. In the rinks and stadiums of today, I'm seeing prices of $150 to $250 and more for ONE TICKET. My $40 side seat here gave a perfect view of the stage and the venue sold about three quarters of the tix, with many of the empty seats being in my area, giving me lots of leg room.
Just after 8:15, Tom Scholz's spaceship guitar sound transported us all back to 1976 as an intro to the opening song Rock & Roll Band.
Current lead singer/frontman Tommy De Carlo not only sounds like Brad Delp but LOOKS like him now too with the beard and mustache. The 2008 tour found him standing more in place and not moving as much. But now he's all over the stage, sometimes shaking a tambourine, playing a bit of keyboards or banging the huge Boston gong behind drummer Curly Smith. Glad to see Curly back in Boston after 15 years.
Besides guitarist/keyboardist Gary Pihl, Boston's other secret weapon is brand new Boston singer/guitarist David Victor, who contributes those ear shattering high harmonies and will throw in the odd Delp high note for Tommy. He'll also sing lead on a song or two and even though he doesn't sound at all like Delp, his leads (particularly on Amanda) were showstoppers! I liked it best when he and Tommy would trade vocals on songs like Don't Look Back.
And Boston also sports a brand new bassist in Tracy Ferrie. He's also playing with the popular 80s Christian Metal band Stryper.
High points of the show for me were: Don't Look Back, Amanda and Used to Bad News (which I don't think had been played in concert since 1988). I was also floored by Tommy's awesome rendering of To Be a Man, which had been sung mostly by Stryper's Michael Sweet on Boston's last tour. And a nice return to the set for 1994's Surrender To Me (played in their tuned slightly down for the stage version, just like Cool the Engines).
And it's always a huge treat for us veteran Boston fans to see Tom wheel out his Wurlitzer electric piano to play on To Be a Man and wail on his organ with the fog machine smoke billowing. No huge pipe organ pipes backdrop or cape on this tour, though. But we now get video screens instead that show the infamous guitar spaceship shooting through the clouds and space and across cityscapes as well as occasional tri-screen video camera closeups of the guys playing.
Rock n' Roll Band
Peace of Mind
Long Time Segue
Cool the Engines
Surrender to Me
Don't Look Back
Something About You
More Than a Feeling/
To Be a Man
Walk On (Some More)
Used to Bad News