Just Another Band Out of Boston
by Dave Iozzia / Photos by Phil Laskowski

NOT!! The classic rock band Boston ripped through an incredible 100-minute-long set at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, New Jersey, on August 29, 2012. They stormed down a rock and roll trail blazed by great bands out of Boston like Aerosmith and the J. Geils Band before them, and The Cars and Extreme after them. On a hot summer New Jersey night, this hard rockin' band proved that the phrase "just another band out of Boston," taken from a song titled "Rock and Roll Band" on their 1976 debut album, rarely fits rock groups from Beantown.

Boston's "greatest hits" set concentrated on their first three albums: their 1976 self-titled debut, their 1978 follow-up, "Don't Look Back," and 1986's "Third Stage." The set was rounded out by two songs from their 1994 release, "Walk On."

Playing in front of a large video screen and the largest gong I've ever seen, and under a big light show, Boston rocked the nearly sold-out venue. Highlights for me were the songs "More Than a Feeling," "Rock and Roll Band," and "Smokin." Those songs, as I mentioned to guitarist Tom Scholz after the show, are songs that are on "the soundtrack to my youth." It was great to hear them played live again. I've heard these songs played thousands of times on the radio, but I had only heard them played live once before.

Although some of the songs Boston played are on "the soundtrack to my youth," the band playing these songs in Red Bank in 2012 is quite different. Tom Scholz is the only original member still touring with Boston. Brad Delp was Boston's original vocalist, but he took his own life in 2007. Tommy DeCarlo fronts Boston these days, and guitarist/keyboardist David Victor sang lead vocals on a song or two better suited for his vocal range. Gary Pihl is the other guitarist, whom I remember well as one of the "Red Rockers." Gary rocked on at least a half-dozen Sammy Hagar solo records released between 1977 and 1984. Gary joined Boston full-time in 1985. Ex-Stryper four-stringer Tracy Ferrie is joined these days in Boston's rhythm section by drummer Curly Smith, who pounded the drums on Boston's "Walk On" touring lineup in 1994. Curly started touring again with the band in 2012, replacing longtime drummer Jeff Neal. Despite sporadic touring, Boston was very tight and polished for their Red Bank show.

The Count Basie Theatre started renovating and restoring in 2004, and the venue looks fantastic. The acoustics and sightlines are incredible. This venue is the perfect host for a concert played by a classic rock band like Boston. I'm certain that the band was as comfortable performing there as I was watching them.

At Boston's "after show," Tom Scholz, being the band's only original member, was noticeably missing. The band's heavy-handed tour manager wasn't letting the rest of the guys autograph anything. It was hello, shake hands, take a picture, and say goodbye. But Tom Scholz brought a smile to a handful of fans that waited around outside the tour bus. Despite his tour manager's requests, Tom greeted everyone in line. He posed for photos and hand-signed everything the fans presented him with, including at least one guitar. Tom's wife handed out his guitar picks, and I snagged one for my daughter Diana's collection. Drummer Curly Smith joined the world's most rockin' collection of autographed drumsticks. Mine! That happened courtesy of Curly's drum tech Buck, who hooked me up big-time, again. Thanks Buck! Cheers to the staff of the Count Basie Theatre for an awesome evening. And thank you Boston for an incredible concert.

Keep rockin' Boston, and keep touring!

Setlist for the show:
1. Rock & Roll Band, 2. Smokin', 3. Feelin' Satisfied, 4. Peace of Mind, 5. Cool the Engines, 6. Surrender to Me, 7. Don't Look Back, 8. Something About You, 9. Amanda, 10. We're Ready, 11. The Launch, 12. More Than a Feeling, 13. My Destination, 14. A New World, 15. To Be a Man, 16. Walk On, 17. Foreplay / Long Time, Encore: 18. Used To Bad News, 19. Party

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