July 31, 2017 Boston Mesmerize Jones Beach, NY 7-23-17 w/ Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
A space ship was spotted for the very first time on August 25, 1976 hovering in the skyline of Boston, Massachusetts. It was mistaken for a UFO, but it was later identified as the Rock band Boston after they dropped a close encounter album self-entitled, Boston. Primarily recorded at Tom Scholz home, Foxglove Studios in Watertown, their debut has attained 17 time platinum status, and is widely considered one of the best Rock albums of all-time.
Over four decades later, Boston is still going strong as they continue their Hyper Space Tour across America in 2017. The Tourship was ready to launch from its makeshift launchpad in Hollywood, Florida on April 14th, 2017, casting off to various cities along the way, picking up a few galaxy hitchhikers to share the journey with, one being the Queen Bee of Rock and Roll, Joan Jett, and her beloved Blackhearts! Casting off together on June 14th, the 21 date tour extension hovered over Long Island, New York before landing down at Jones Beach on Sunday, July 23rd, to the excitement of Rock fans for miles between New York City limits and Montauk.
Anxious to find their way into Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, once inside, the crowd intently focused on a backdrop of a black heart set front and center with the following slogan “Welcome to Joan’s Beach” emblazoned over the inlaid heart with black bold letters edged in white surrounded by a crimson background Joan’s beach size signature calling card. Her name is a homophone to the beach to be sure, but it sure is aptly entitled because for the duration of her set it is absolutely HER beach! So focused, the audience were unaware that Long Island’s own Joan Jett was coming through the gate headed to the stage.
Coming out in high spirits, she charmed the crowd with her fireball energy and timeless beauty. Onlookers with quick reflexes grabbed the photo op moment and had their phone cameras set at auto shoot to capture a likeness of this Rock-n-Roll royalty as she strode on by. Famously known as once been a part of the all-female pioneering group the Runaways, it was short lived stint before Jett set off on her own and made her own history.
Rocking and rolling since, her current lineup consisting of Drummer Thommy Price, Guitarist Dougie Needles, and Bassist Hal B. Selzer proudly backed Jett as they began their set. With everyone in place, one cannot emphasize enough that Jett is a veritable fireball of Rock-n-Roll energy and has broken the barriers of what a female musician can accomplish in a lifetime. She is an inspiration and a guitar strumming symbol of perseveration. A forced to be reckoned with, returning to Jones Beach, she shone with the brilliance of the midday sun and has the same level of energy on stage and gave her hometown crowd one hell of a show!
Beginning with ‘’Victim of Circumstance,” then came 1976’s “Cherry Bomb,” a favorite from her Runaway days. Matching the excitement of the music, the screen behind her was a collage of old fashioned TV sets portraying Jett at various junctures in her life. She followed with hearty vocals of “Do you want to Touch me (Oh Yeah),” a song that originally written by English Rock Singer Gary Glitter and Mike Leander, but Jett has since taken it and made it her own. Keeping excitement high, she rocked into the anthemic “Bad Reputation” before singing with gusto “You Drive Me Wild.” Taking a breath to take in the moment, she shared some insights about the song “Light of Day” and how it holds a special place in her heart. Going into the song originally done by Bruce Springsteen, it also happens to be the 1987 film where Jett took on an acting role alongside longtime friend Michael J. Fox and Gena Rowlands.
A cool moment of personal connection with fans, Jett continued with “Love is Pain” before diving into the theme song from the beloved TV sitcom Mary Tyler Moore, Sonny Curtis’ ”Love is All Around.’’ Then came the body gyrating and blood pounding lyrics of “I Love Rock and Roll,” leading into Jett softening the mood as she crooned Tommy James and the Shondells’ “Crimson and Clover” tune.
Taking it up a notch one more time, she went into the classic “I Hate Myself for Loving You” before making a shoutout to all the veterans out in the audience. Yes, without a doubt, veterans most certainly rock too and deserve a special round of applause, leading into Jett concluding the set with Sly and the Family Stone’s “Everyday People.” A very poignant song that Jett sings with feeling, she acknowledged each band member before leaving the stage to a thunderous round of applause. Ranked by Rolling Stone one of the greatest guitarists of all-time, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, it is no wonder based on her performance at the beach!
During intermission, fans all anxiously awaited Boston’s arrival on stage. Carrying on after the tragic loss of original Vocalist Brad Delp in 2007, currently Boston is made up of commanding officers alight: founder Tom Scholz (guitar), longtime member Gary Pihl (guitar), Tommy DeCarlo (vocals), Jeff Neal (drums), Tracy Ferrie (bass guitar), and Beth Cohen (keyboards).
Together, they sauntered onstage as the screen behind mesmerized with a backdrop simulating the interior of a spaceship as if the audience was part of the ship’s crew as Boston played a lively version of “Rock and Roll Band,” “Feeling Satisfied,” “Smokin’,” and “Peace of Mind.” Keeping it very visual, images of asteroids appeared during “Long Time Seque” as well as “Cool the Engines.” Then, “We’re Ready” appropriately described the mood of Boston and the audience before other favorites such as “Hollyann,” “Don’t Be Afraid,” “I Think I Like It,” and “Don’t Look Back.
Sounding crisp and tight, DeCarlo did a superb job on vocals while Scholz orchestrated a massive guitar attack with Pihl and Smith, Neal, Ferrie, and Cohen filled out the full sound of each track. Matching their attention to detail, the light show was outstanding, illuminating the stage like Griswold’s domicile. Carrying on, “Something About You,” “Amanda,” “The Launch,” and “Magdalene,” came before the adored hit “More Than a Feeling.” The latter, always a song that inspired a strong reaction from audiences, everyone was on their feet, singing and dancing along, proving why it is one of the most distinguishable Rock songs ever.
Following up with ““E”’ Jam,” later generation Boston cuts such as “Walk On,” and “Get Organ-ized,” came before “Foreplay/Long Time” closed out the main set. It was then fans screamed for more, and Boston delivered with an encore featuring 1978’s “Party.” Living up to its namesake, everyone was dancing and enjoying the party atmosphere until the final note. Sadly, the concert came to an end, but left the crowd completely satisfied.
There was a cohesive force at play at Jones Beach, it was one for love of Rock-n-Roll. Joan Jett set her sights on being the best musician she could be and the accolades rained on her. On the other hand, Tommy DeCarlo never imagined that his dream of being a member of Boston would come to pass, he is living a Rock-n-Roll fantasy. This is what happens when you go and follow your dreams. Live life doing what you love and Boston continue to do so as they delight audiences night in and night out.
Photo credit: Stephanie Pearl Photography