By Jim Harrington, CONTRIBUTOR
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - 6:50:04 AM PST
BOSTON kicked off its show Friday at the Chronicle Pavilion in Concord with a proclamation: "Well, we were just another band out of Boston."
For much of the overly long two-hour show, that's exactly how the group came across. The Concord concert illustrated the group's shortcomings better than it did its strengths.
Most significant, the band simply doesn't have enough worthwhile tunes to fill up an entire evening.
Instead of going it on its own, Boston would have been better off hiring a suitable opening band to take up 40 minutes of stage time. That way the headliner could have trimmed its set significantly, which, in turn, would have helped reduce another key problem: low energy.
It didn't start out that way. Boston, led by original members guitarist-keyboardist Tom Scholz and vocalist Brad Delp, came out firing with a solid double shot of "Rock and Roll Band" and "Feelin' Satisfied."
With the exception of Delp's pleasantly age-weathered vocals, the band sounded almost identical to the meticulously produced late 1970s albums.
The downward spiral started with the third song, the puffed-up "I Had a Good Time."
Boston is one of the few bands to really have a signature sound, characterized by swift tempo shifts, sing-along choruses, a one-two punch of acoustic and electric guitar and dramatic keyboard work.
With the newer material, Boston has somehow replaced that sound with an uncanny ability to mimic other classic rock acts at their worst.
Friday, "I Had a Good Time" had the self-explanatory feel-good ring of generic Doobie Brothers. "Livin' for You" was typical of Peter Cetera-led Chicago. The lamentful "Someone" was a weak rip-off of The Eagles "Heartache Tonight."
Until the group shortens its set or (less likely) writes more good songs, it will continue to sound like "just another band out of Boston."