Entertainment » Music

Boston with Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, TD Garden, June 13, 2017

by James Nadeau
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Jul 14, 2017
Boston in a photo from their 2016 tour.
Boston in a photo from their 2016 tour.  

Local music legends Boston brought their Hyper Space Tour back home last night to the TD Garden and it was pretty much all I expected and a little bit more. Granted you know what you are getting into when you go to see Boston perform live. Over the past 40 years musician (and scientist/engineer, MIT alum) Tom Scholz has consistently crafted, well-honed and razor sharp pop/rock unlike any other. Growing up their music was inescapable. Whether it was the original release "Boston" or the follow up from the 80s "Third Stage" (emerging in 1986 when I was in middle school it mesmerized me and my budding musician nerd friends) Scholz and Boston have consistently produced music that found a home on classic rock playlists. For many of us their music was the soundtrack to growing up, especially if you lived in New England.

While much of the music (if not all) was produced and performed by Tom Schulz, since 1985 he has partnered with Gay Phil (formerly of Sammy Hagar's solo band). Their last album "Life, Love & Hope" was released in 2013 so they really aren't touring behind new material but a couple of those songs have made it onto the setlist. Not surprisingly they mesh well with the older "classic" songs of the band.

Probably the biggest thrill of the evening was hearing vocalist Tommy DeCarlo. Since the tragic death of original singer Brad Delp back in 2007 it has been hard to imagine anyone singing his songs and, I have to say, Tommy did a phenomenal job. Discovered via Myspace (can't believe I'm typing that in 2017) DeCarlo has been pretty much a permanent member of the band since the "Heaven of Earth" tour of 2014 and performed on some of "Life, Love & Hope." From "Rock & Roll Band" to "Amanda" DeCarlo nailed every moment and definitely won the audience over. But of course, it was "More Than a Feeling" (possibly their most famous song) where he had them in his hand. It was a pretty fantastic moment.

And of course Tom Scholz ruled the stage. The man is unbelievable. He plays every instrument (not literally when live. The backing band was top notch with vocalist/keyboard player Beth Cohen having a nice solo moment) and personally designed the specialized equipment that gives the band their signature sound. Needless to say there wouldn't be a Boston without him and the audience clearly showed their love. He is obviously a stickler for detail as each song was rendered note for note like the record. There is a reason for the band's longevity and it's due to Tom's dedication. Tom and his band were at the top of their game last night (to use a sports metaphor. I mean, it's the Garden. I have to). If you haven't heard any of Boston's songs live then this is really a tour to catch.

And the A-mazing Joan Jett and the Blackhearts opened. So it really is a perfect evening. It might seem incongruous to have these two together but it works. Joan Jett came across at her punk rock best and they were a surprisingly nice compliment to Boston. I really hope that she does a theatre tour because her opening slot was FAR too short.

For more on Boston's current tour, visit the band's website.

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