July 15, 2014 Boston & Cheap Trick Amaze Jones Beach, NY 7-1-14
Summertime is the season of rock-n-roll concerts, and 2014 is loaded with plenty of them. Filled with classic rock-n-roll bands all actively touring North America, add Boston and Cheap Trick to that list. Partaking in the Heaven on Earth Tour in support of their latest album Life, Love & Hope (2013), Boston hit the road for the first time since 2012 and Cheap Trick continue to live on stage year after year. Both legendary stadium rock bands in their own right, this tour is something classic rock fans can really sink their teeth into. Fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters gathered at Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Tuesday July 1st for this pre 4th of July celebration of music.
An unstoppable rock-n-roll freight train since 1974, Cheap Trick is known for their dedication to touring. Keeping the team of Rick Nielsen (guitars), Tom Petersson (bass), Robin Zander (vocals/guitar), and Bun E. Carlos (drummer) together for over four decades is impressive enough, but in the process the band has released sixteen studio albums and produced a load of charted hit singles. Quite frankly, one of the more influential rock bands, Cheap Trick is vastly underrated as they continue to rock.
Opening up with “Hello There”, the rocking guitars of Nielsen filled the amphitheater and Zander’s voice glimmered loudly through old classics like “ELO Kiddies” and their famous cover of Fats Domino’s “Ain’t That A Shame”. The humming from the amps was warm and there was no evidence of age for the band as they jammed with enthusiasm and vitality. Moving along with little downtime, they treated the audience to more memorable tracks such as “Tonight It’s You”, “Need Your Love”, and “I Know What I Want”. Having everyone on their feet playing air guitar and singing along, Zander and company knew exactly what their audience wanted. Tossing out guitar picks, Nielsen’s many fans were happy to have a souvenir to take home. It was at this point in the performance that Cheap Trick rattled off their four biggest hits starting out with beautiful ballad of “The Flame” then going into the up-tempo “I Want You to Want Me”. Having fans roaring and singing along, they concluded with the irresistible “Dream Police” and anthem of “Surrender”. Cheap Trick’s music is made for stadiums and they still prove it year after year with electrifying performances.
Wandering away from their seats for only a brief intermission, everyone was talking about Boston and their fond memories of their music. Coming together in 1976, the band released their debut self-titled album the same year and since then, it has gone seventeen times platinum and is regarded as one of the greatest rock-n-roll records of all time. Led by the unforgettable voice of Brad Delp, Boston’s sound was accented by high production epic choruses and larger than life guitars. Releasing a series of platinum selling records over the next two decades to follow, Boston would not return to the recording studio until 2002 with their fifth album Corporate America. Consistently touring, the band’s relevance has never faded with dedicated fans over the years. Tragically in 2007 Delp took his life at the age of 55 years old, leaving family, friends, and fans heartbroken. Keeping the memory of his voice alive through the music of Boston, the band continues with new vocalist Tommy DeCarlo. Now a permanent member of the band since 2008, DeCarlo recorded his first album with Boston on last year’s Life, Love & Hope. Now with fresh new material, Boston was ready to take the stage at Jones Beach.
With bright colorful lights beaming into the night, they opened with “Rock & Roll Band”. Tom Scholz, Gary Pihl, Kimberley Dahme, David Victor, and Tracy Ferrie jammed and harmonized on vocals, sending warm vibes out, setting the bar high for the rest of the evening. DeCarlo sang strongly and gave everything he had through “Smokin'” and “Feelin’ Satisfied”. That is when the band transitioned into new material and they played the beautiful instrumentals of “Last Day of School” and “Life, Love & Hope”. Being the first new music in over a decade from the band, the songs were exciting, fresh, and DeCarlo sounded right at home. It is one thing for a vocalist to sing classic tunes they grew up adoring, and it is another to perform songs written for them with that same band; truly surreal and inspiring not only for DeCarlo but the audience.
Flowing right back into older pieces, the unmistakable acoustic guitar strum of “Peace of Mind” had everyone on their feet dancing and having a blast. On the next song, Dahme took over on lead vocals for “It’s Been Such a Long Time” as Scholz ripped through a guitar bending solo that had everyone howling. Keeping the fond musical memories going with “Cool the Engines”, “Surrender to Me”, and “Don’t Look Back”, there was a balance that made long-time fans smile. Breaking up guitar parts evenly among the entire band, everyone played a key role in bringing the songs to life and the drumming of Jeff Neal was the foundation it was built upon. Complemented by high quality graphics behind the band, Boston had everything going for them at Jones Beach.
Moving along, Victor took on vocals for “Amanda”, and did so in glowing fashion. Building the excitement shortly after they broke into “More Than A Feeling”, as one of the most iconic rock songs of all-time, the band did justice to the timeless piece. Keeping everyone on their feet, immediately after Scholz played an eye-popping guitar solo. As the founder and pulse of Boston, Scholz still has all the flare to keep this band alive. That was never more evident than the orchestral output during “Walk On/Get Organ-ized /Walk On (Some More)” where Scholz’ work on the keyboard sent shock waves through the bay surrounding the stage. DeCarlo hit the massive Boston gong behind Neal. It was the perfect prelude into set closer “Foreplay/Long Time” where the classical instrumentation was enough to make anyone awe-struck.
Pleading for an encore with whistles and cheers, Boston came out for “I Think I Like It” and “Party”. Saying goodnight for the final time, Jones Beach was grateful to see the band on the stage again. Boston is the type of band that is made for live performances. From their lush guitar-driven soul to magnificent song composition, whether fans wanted to either zone out and relax or rock hard with the band, it was non-stop adrenaline and rock-n-roll tranquility all night through.