Niagara Gazette

July 3, 2014

Boston ready to come alive at Artpark

By Thom Jennings ngedit@niagara-gazette.com
Night & Day

Night & Day — They were “just another band out of Boston on the road trying to make ends meet” in the 1970s when they released what is arguably the greatest debut album of all time. Boston, a city that is known for its resilience, is a fitting name for a rock band that has overcome so many challenges.

Boston comes to Artpark Tuesday night for a sold-out show, just a few months after their latest album, “Life, Love & Hope” hit the shelves. Boston’s mastermind, guitarist/inventor extraordinaire Tom Scholz will undoubtedly dazzle Artpark fans, along with the current lineup, which has been touted as the group’s best sounding group. Pull up a few current YouTube videos of the band and you will quickly understand why.

While Boston has always been known for achieving sonic perfection on the recording studio with songs like “More Than a Feeling,” and “Don’t Look Back,” they have been able to successfully replicate their trademark sound in a live setting.

Much of the credit goes to the longtime pairing of Scholz and guitarist Gary Pihl, who officially joined the band around the time they released “Third Stage.”

“I first started doing shows with Boston as part of the opening act, in 1977 with Sammy Hagar’s band. Their manager knew our manager and we opened for them on the last few shows of their first tour. They liked us so much they asked us to open for the entire second tour. We toured with them for nine months and got to know them very well,” Pihl recalled during a recent phone interview.

Fast forward to 1985, and Sammy Hagar gets the call to join Van Halen, and as Gary joked “we couldn’t go on as the Sammy Hagar band without Sammy Hagar.”

Pihl’s last date with Hagar was on Sept. 22, 1985, at the first Farm Aid, after which Pihl flew out to Massachusetts’s to help Scholz finish “Third Stage.” It was not long afterward he was asked to join Boston as a full-time member.

“I wasn’t out of work one day, how lucky can you get?”

The “Third Stage” tour began in 1987, but it did not start as planned.

“We were putting the tour together and we had lots of technical problems. We were using brand new equipment built at Scholz Research & Development, alias Rockman, and the crew guys were completely unfamiliar with the gear we were using to create the sounds we needed.” Pihl said.

They canceled the first three shows of the tour, and the fifth date scheduled was at Texas Jam in front of 80,000 people at the Cotton Bowl. The band wanted to have at least one warm up gig before playing in Texas, and their first date wound up taking place in Rochester on June 14, 1987, a show I will never forget, nor will Pihl, since it was his first with Boston.”

“Halfway through the set I looked over at my guitar tech and smiled because it was all working. It was a very emotional night for all of us. The audience was so loud we couldn’t hear our instruments very well.”

Fast forward to 2014, Boston has an excellent new album out and, they continue to perform for large, appreciative crowds.

“This is the best sounding group we have ever put out. The musicianship is incredible. All seven of us sing, it’s a special sound. People say it’s like the records on steroids. Also, the camaraderie onstage is great, we all get along well and have a great time onstage and we get that back from the audience.”

Or, to paraphrase Tom Scholz’ s “Rock & Roll Band,” when Boston gets up on stage and gets ready to play, people come alive.

 

 

 

Thom Jennings covers the local music scene for Night and Day.