It’s never too early in the week to rock out to some truly enduring classics, and that’s exactly what the audience did at last night when Boston brought their high-velocity hits to L.A.’s Fabulous Forum.
Boston made a long-overdue stop in L.A. Tuesday night for its current “Heaven On Earth” tour, with special guest Cheap Trick getting the crowd’s adrenaline pumping for an intense evening of rock classics.
Kicking things off for the night was special guest Cheap Trick, who still know how to put on a show and wow a crowd. Armed with its near-original lineup of singer Robin Zander, lead guitarist Rick Nielsen, and bassist Tom Petersson, Cheap Trick added drummer Daxx Nielson (Rick’s son) to the touring band.
Unleashing their rock fury with “Hello There,” Cheap Trick opened to a primed crowd who definitely were ‘ready to rock.’ Dressed in a “Dream Police” jacket and hat, Zander was captain of the show last night, rolling through the band’s span of hits including “Southern Girls,” “I Want You To Want Me,” “Dream Police” and “Surrender.”
Nielson was just as energetic as ever, running across the stage while wailing on the guitar, playing back to back with Petersson, and interacting with the crowd. His mic stand was lined with dozens of guitar picks he threw out into the audience, giving many fans in the front row a one-of-a-kind souvenir. Of course, no Cheap Trick show is complete without an appearance from Nielson’s legendary five-neck guitar. He saved the big guns for last, bringing out the iconic five-neck guitar for their “Goodnight” finale.
With the crowd amped up, the main event was ready to go. The current Boston lineup was comprised of founder/songwriter/producer Tom Scholz; longtime member Gary Pihl on guitar/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.
From the moment the spotlight shined on Scholz for a solo guitar intro on stage, the crowd knew they were in for a night of heavy rock hits that spanned the band’s entire 40+ career. Notably, the ages of the audience also ranged from the longtime devoted fans to a new generation of listeners likely experiencing their mastery for the first time live.
With their stage featuring three large video screens resembling the window and dashboard of their iconic guitar-shaped spaceship album covers, we were all on board the craft, traveling through space and time of greatest hits. Boston blasted off with “Rock & Roll Band” from its acclaimed 1976 debut release, then went into hyper-speed on “Smokin'” as scenes of desert-scape and city lights flashed on the screens.
DeCarlo’s piercing vocals complemented Scholz’s fierce guitar shreds and Smith’s high-energy drums on Boston favorites like “Peace Of Mind,” “Don’t Look Back,” “Amanda” and “More Than A Feelin’.” Fans were also treated to Scholz’s genius instrumentals with both guitar and keyboard solos sprinkled in between songs.
Having recently released a new album, Live, Life & Hope, Boston also featured a couple newer tracks, including the album’s ethereal title track. The band’s first album since 2002, Scholz garnered cheers from the crowd when posing the question, “do you think bands like us should record new albums?” It was clear that Boston has plenty of momentum to keep going for quite some time.
Another notable highlight from the show was a special guest appearance from former American Idol finalist Siobhan Magnus, who joined the veteran rockers on “Walk On.” Her powerful vocals roared through the Forum walls and blew the crowd away. She briefly left the stage as the band engaged in a vigorous jam session and later re-joined to pick up the song right where she left off and remained on stage for the remainder of the show.
With intricate arrangements that are both melodic yet intense, it’s a wonder why this highly underrated band hasn’t been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame yet. With a catalog of classic songs that continue to stand the test of time, Boston has proven to be more than ‘just another rock and roll band.’
Boston Set List:
“Rock and Roll Band”
“Last Day of School” (instrumental)
“Live, Live & 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”
“More Than A Feelin'”
(Tom Scholz solo)
“To Be A Man”
“Walk On”(with Siobhan Magnus)