Boston – Then And Now?

We all know Boston from the 2 albums that they released in the late 70’s: 1976’s “Boston”

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and 1978’s “Don’t Look Back”.

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These albums are beyond reproach. Pure statements of 70’s rock that cannot be shaken.

I think I have mentioned a few times on this blog that my friend Jeff made a tape ( a rare 120 minute one) which he sent to me while I was at my father’s one summer. It had both albums on that one tape and I played it literally to death. The tape snapped (notorious for 120 minute tapes) and I grieved its passing. During my subsequent later high-school vinyl phase I bought both, parting with them only during my “sell vinyl and buy CD’s phase”.

I rebought them on vinyl again over the past couple years. I feel complete again.

In 1986 Boston released “Third Stage”.

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Yes, if you do the math that is a 8 year hiatus. The album had some songs that were worthy of waiting that long. “Cool The Engines” and “Amanda” were solid. However, the rest, in my opinion, was just okay. Tom’s guitar is no less awesome, and Brad’s vocals are great, it just seemed some of the songs just didn’t have that same old spark.

After that album… I thought Boston was over. I never heard another word about them, until the sad death of Brad.

Apparently, as Spotify is telling me, there were subsequent albums. I was surprised when I looked them up. The wiki describes Tom’s obsession with studio techniques and delays for production reasons, and also for legal reasons. It is a convoluted tale. Then the suicide of Brad. The history of people in and out of the band, leaving and returning, splinter bands… it’s quite a story.

I gave the newest album “Life, Love & Hope” a listen. Meh. The track “Someone (2.0)” is pretty good. There are vocals on here from Brad, but also from others, a pet peeve of mine, and frankly most of the songs are solid middle of the road music. No stadium show stoppers though.

It makes me sad. I fully acknowledge that I can’t expect to hear that same music from the 70’s in current releases, but I cannot help but weigh them against each other.

I mean if you are at someones house, and they tell you to go to the record bin and pick something to play, and you come across the complete section of Boston in his bins… are you gonna pull out anything but one of the first 2 albums? Seriously?

Why discuss Boston now you ask? I’ll tell you.

They are coming to the Wisconsin State Fair.

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I have seen a few bands in their later phases and some have been great. The Psychedelic Furs and Bauhaus were fantastic, but then there was Blue Oyster Cult. Bad. So while I am happy that Boston is still around and making music… I am scared.

I do not mean to dismiss The Wisconsin State Fair either, they have brought in some great music, but, these guys used to sell out stadiums.

This is the same feeling I had when I saw that Marilyn Manson was playing the Orpheum.

When I saw Boston in the advertisement on the back of Maximum Ink (shout out!) I had an immediate urge to go see them. Then as the days wore on and I thought about what they might sound like now, and with flashes of Blue Oyster Cult in my mind, I have decided not to go.

I hope someone goes and lets me know that they were awesome and that I should definitely go next time they come around, but for the moment, I don’t want a potential bad experience to mar the pedestal that I have them on.

For me, there will always only be only 2 Boston albums in my collection…

but I hope Tom continues to rock on.

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Someone tell me how it was so I can either sleep well knowing I chose right, or wallow in my poor decision.

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