By Gerry Gittelson
Melodicrock.com Los Angeles correspondent
LOS ANGELES -- Boston was not treated especially well here at melodicrock.com in terms of reviewing the band's new CD 'Life, Love & Hope' ' and rightfully so because the album is a far cry from what the legendary band once was all about ' but thank god for a back catalog overflowing with incredible songs, mostly from Boston's pre-1990 era.
Led by guitarist Tom Scholz, Boston is touring again, and the group absolutely tore it up on Tuesday, July 29 in a soldout performance before more than 17,000 spectators at the Forum in Los Angeles.
Boston stuck mostly to all the classic hits, mixing in only a small handful of new songs, and the crowd ate it up. My gosh, we have not witnessed a band that sounded this good with such incredible dynamics in a long time.
Opening with a roaring version of 'Rock & Roll Band,' Boston proved ultra-tight and utterly clean, partially thanks to the building's revamped, high-tech PA system, and the place was going wild. Then came 'Smokin'' and 'Feelin' Satisfied,' and at that point Boston had total control of the room.
The last time we had seen Boston live in Los Angeles, new vocalist Tommy DeCarlo was just starting out, having been discovered on youtube, and back then he was overweight and without the charisma to be a frontman for such a majestic band ' and co-lead singer Michael Sweet (now gone) also sucked that night ' but wow what a difference a few years has made. This time, DeCarlo was a different man, well-fit and confident, and my goodness he sang well as a replacement for the late Brad Delp, who was about as irreplaceable as a lead singer could be.
The songs were tuned down a step or so ' as is the case with most classic-rock bands this side of Journey ' but except for failing to hit the very highest notes like on 'Peace of Mind' and a few others, DeCarlo was right in the groove.
On 'Don't Look Back,' Scholz was his usual dominant self, the lanky guitarist tearing his way through the classic radio hit -- including that unforgettable mid-song guitar riff -- and he was Eddie Van Halen-like when he broke into a guitar solo about an hour into the spectacle.
Co-guitarist Gary Pihl proved impressive, too, and with a total of seven players up there making music, Boston put on a show that was richly dramatic and geared toward optimum audience enjoyment.
Everything was going splendidly until former American idol finalist Siobhan Magnus jumped on stage towards the end for 'Walk On' and almost ruined the whole thing with her screaming ' guess Scholz is just too nice to say no ' but the momentum was back in Boston's hands with 'Foreplay/Longtime,' then an encore of 'Party' to finish the evening with an exclamation point.
Overall, a five-star performance. This is about as good as it gets in the classic-rock circuit.