Boston landed in Grand Island on June 5th as part of its Hyper Space Tour and performed in front of a nearly-full Heartland Events Center at Fonner Park.
Boston performed in an arena designed primarily for athletics, the acoustics were surprisingly balanced and pleasant, most likely due to the particular auditory taste of lead guitarist Tom Scholz. His obsessive attention to the band’s signature sound is legendary. The mostly older crowd brought the younger generation along, sharing in the great American tradition of stadium rock and beer drinking. When Boston let loose of their most popular songs, the generation gap disappeared and the crowd became one.
In true 80’s fashion, the stage was well lit with a fascinating array of speakers, mixers, and cabinets, with the central focus being on the extensive drum set up in the middle of the stage. For and blue lights set the scene for Boston’s opening tune, “Rock and Roll Band”, which got the crowd on its collective feet immediately. They kept the energy high with “Feelin’ Satisfied” and “Smokin’”, followed by “Heaven on Earth” from their 2013 release.
The stage was backed by an enormous video screen which made for a pleasing audio/visual experience. The six-member band played well to each other throughout the show, showcasing each member regularly. But Scholz was certainly the centerpiece. The 41-year Boston veteran opened the first 5 songs with guitar solos.
Even with the mixture of original and newer members, Boston has kept the classic songs consistent. The only noted absence was the confident high-flying soprano of Boston’s original lead singer, Brad Delp. However, Tommy DeCarlo, the bands lead vocalist since 2007, hit all the necessary notes to keep the classics rolling.
Backing vocalist and keys player for Boston, Beth Cohen, stepped to the lead mic twice through the performance, once to sing “Foreplay”, and the second time for a cover of “Whole Lot of Love”.
Near the middle of the show Scholz and Boston’s second guitarist Gary Pihl opened “We’re Ready” with a stellar dueling guitars bit, which was followed by Boston’s classic power ballad “Hollyann”. It featured Scholz on the organ, a tremendous solo by Pihl, and the most powerful vocal performance of the night by DeCarlo. This song, more than any other in the night, truly featured how talented this set of musicians are.
It took 17 songs before the crowd got what it wanted from Boston with “More Than a Feelin”, and the energy on stage jumped immediately with the increased energy from the crowd.
Photos courtesy of Bob Dehart Photography in York, Nebraska. ©2017.