Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
July 17, 2014
First Council Casino
July 18, 2014
By Jeb Wright
Rock & Roll Band | Smokin' | Feelin' Satisfied | Last Day of School | Life, Love & Hope | Peace of Mind | It's Been Such a Long Time Interlude | Cool the Engines |
Surrender to Me | Don't Look Back | Something About You | Amanda | The Launch | More Than a Feeling |Instrumental with Tom Scholtz guitar | A New World | To Be a Man | Walk On (with Siobhan Magnus) | Get Organ-ized | Walk On (Some More) | Foreplay / Long Time
Boston music is custom made to be played loud and often. This is pure, good time, positive rock and roll. Boston music gets get your toes-a-tapping, in the mood to dance and ready to have a good time.
The mastermind behind the curtain, in this case, is guitarist/composer/producer Tom Scholz. He’s tall, he’s lean and he’s fricking smart--almost too smart for his own good, yet, where most geniuses fail in their ability to relate to mankind, Scholz gets us normal people. One would think that this inventor, innovator and creative juggernaut would be floating several degrees above us all, but he’s not. Just listen to the lyrics of “Feelin’ Satisfied,” “Life Love & Hope,” “Peace of Mind” and “Something About You” and you will see that Tom is just a regular guy. He’s one of us…well, he’s also the Rock-Man, Les Paul tone thing…all that other stuff, too.
Scholz does not relish being a rock star. In fact, he is the antithesis of the rock star. Instead of pulling a Justin Bieber and making the tabloids, he sues big corporations (instead of throwing eggs). Instead of staggering on stage high and drunk, he raises money for altruistic and human causes. Instead of being a loud-mouthed rock and roller, he looks for ways to make the world- both the real one and the musical one- a better place.
Okay, so far in this review I am totally kissing Tom Scholz ass. Even I noticed. However, why not? He wrote some of the best songs of all time and he is still creating, and releasing new music…and he has turned what could easily be a huge corporate entity of a rock and roll band machine into a comfortable family affair.
Tom leads by example and has done some extraordinary things with his life that go way beyond the bright lights of the stage. So, yeah, if you call that kissing ass then I suppose I am kissing ass. I prefer to think of it as giving the man his due. But enough about that…Classic Rock Revisited followed the band for a couple of shows in Oklahoma this July, so lets quite babbling and let Tom’s music do the talking.
The first show was July 17th at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Catoosa, Oklahoma, which is pretty much in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The following night the band performed at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma. The set lists for both nights were identical, yet the second night had a bit more energy and better sound. That said, both shows were upbeat, fun and had everyone in attendance jamming on the tunes.
Today’s Boston consists of Tom Scholz on guitar, organ and background vocals and Gary Pihl on guitar and vocals, Tommy DeCarlo on lead vocals, keyboards and percussion, Tracy Ferrie on bass and vocals, Kimberley Dahme on rhythm guitar and vocals and Curly Smith on drums. They are a tight unit, and with three guitars onstage, the classic Boston sound truly comes alive.
The show on both nights began with three of the band’s biggest hits, the first of which, “Rock & Roll Band” was originally written by Tom before Boston had a played a gig or were even a real band. Next up was what could become the official State song of Colorado, “Smokin’.” Gary and Tom have their first bit of fun jamming-out infectious blues inspired and Scholz-ified guitar runs during this tune. “Feelin’ Satisfied” from Boston’s sophomore effort, Don’t Look Back, was a crowd favorite both nights. The damn chorus to that song just makes you sing along with it and the clapping part may be a throwback to the ‘70s, but everyone had their hands smacking together with huge smiles on their faces.
Scholz took a moment to address the crowd asking if they thought bands like Boston should still release new records. After a thunderous applause Scholz smiled and told everyone he was glad they felt that way because they had released a new album. With that the band played two tunes, the instrumental “Last Day of School” and the title track to the new release Live, Love & Hope. Classic Rock Revisited is happy to report that the new tunes sounded great in a live setting, and there was absolutely no rush to get a beer or run to the potty by the crowd.
After the new songs, Boston got back to giving the people what they wanted, which was more of the classics, however, the set list also included a few deeper album tracks that pleased the hardcore fans. “Surrender to Me” from Walk On went over well as did, a bit later in the set, “A New World/To Be a Man” from Third Stage. Still, as cool as that was, the house was totally rocking to “Peace of Mind,” “Cool the Engines,” “Don’t Look Back, “Something About You” and “Amanda.” The band switched around a few of their iconic instrumental pieces to intro different songs, most notably when they played “The Launch” before going into “More Than a Feeling.” Scholz even interjected some humor into the festivities when he would not tell the crowd what songs were coming up but dedicated the next two numbers to “Marianne and Amanda.”
Seeing Boston in smaller venues was particularly interesting. They were unable to deliver the massive spaceship light show, and instead relied on the music to be enough. The light show adds to the event, but when the lights are absent, they are surprisingly not missed all that much; the music and good times take you away. It’s kind of like the whipped cream on a cappuccino—sure it’s great to have, but you ordered the coffee not the cream. Boston, giving a mostly musical performance without many of the bells and whistles, highlighted just how damn good this music is.
The next part of the performance allowed the musicians to show off. Tom Scholz and Gary Phil were two-hand tapping ala Eddie Van Halen before the song “Walk On” while after the tune the maestro named Tom gave us a lesson in organ playing.
One of the best surprises of the evening came when vocalist Tommy DeCarlo introduced bassist Tracy Ferrie’s niece, Siobhan Magnus to the stage. Siobhan, an American Idol finalist from Season 9, is a ferocious singer with massive amounts of talent. DeCarlo and Magnus put on an exhibition during “Walk On” that had the crowd in awe. This girl will go places, as she is a singing machine! Look for a new album from her in the near future.
Magnus remained onstage for the next tune, the final of the main set, “Foreplay/Long Time.” This epic tune will go down in history as one of the best examples of pure rock and roll from Scholz’s generation. When the song ended, the band left the stage. After a short break, the band came back for the one-song encore of “Party” from Don’t Look Back.
Tommy DeCarlo’s performance must be mentioned as all rock fans know the big shoes he is required to fill every night. Tommy is now all alone in the lead vocalist role in Boston and it must be noted that his confidence continues to grow with every performance. Elsewhere, Gary Pihl quietly gives his all on-stage, showing his skills in a totally unassuming manner. Drummer Curly Smith and bassist Tracy Ferrie are a solid rhythm section that drives the songs to where they need to be. They do not receive enough credit as musicians in the press, which is a shame, because those in the know understand that a great rhythm section is worth their weight in gold. Kimberley Dahme does well in a supporting role, adding a third guitar and, more importantly, hitting some of the Brad Delp high notes that DeCarlo might not attempt unless risking injury.
Tom Scholz contributions go without mentioning. He is a true believer in speaking softly and carrying a loud guitar. Scholz created the soundtrack to every person’s life that grew up in the 1970s with an FM radio tuned to a rock and roll station. He is still passionate about his music and dedicated to his fan base. I will stop now before kissing his ass again…we don’t need to feed his ego. Suffice it to say, he’s an interesting dude who’s good at a lot of things…making killer rock and roll records just happens to be one of them.
At the end of the day, Classic Rock Revisited highly recommends spending an evening with Boston. Go to http://www.bandboston.com to check out tour dates to find a show near you.