My First Rock Show: Boston

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Growing up in MN, whenever I rode in the truck with my dad (likely heading to my grandparents' or a field for rock picking), he would quiz me on who was playing on his favorite radio stations: classic rock KXLP and oldies KXAC. If I didn't blurt out "Ratt's ‘Round and Round!'" within four seconds of hearing the song, I'd get an "EERT!" then an explanation of who it was. I was like my dad's own personally trained music recognition machine. boston One summer afternoon, he and I were headed to town to pick up some sweet corn for dinner. Along the way, Boston came on the radio, which I proudly rattled off straightaway because I was (and still am) a pretty huge Boston fan.  After the song had ended, the jockey came back on the air, booming "Aaaaaand that was Boston with ‘Don't Look Back . . .' " and went on to announce that the group would be playing nearby at the end of July. My head darted to the radio. Boston still plays shows?! Bands come to Minnesota?! But then reality quickly set in. When I say "nearby" I mean two hours away. Plus being 12, my only means of transportation was my parents or the lawn mower. So I turned my head forward, dismissed my short-lived enthusiasm and waited for the next song to come on. But apparently my dad recognized my inflated and then flattened excitement and made a mental note of it. About a week or so later, when my mom came home from work, she walked over to the couch where I was eating cereal and handed me an envelope. With a mouthful of Lucky Charms I asked, "Hwha's ‘iss?" She just raised her eyebrows, smiled and walked off. I put down my cereal bowl, ripped open the envelope and inside was a small stack of tickets that read, in all capital letters, "BOSTON." The next thing that anyone heard was a very high pitched "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" My mom, dad, little sister and I were going to see BOSTON! When the end of July finally came, we loaded ourselves in the truck and made the two-hour drive to the Twin Cities. And, of course, there was plenty of radio music quizzing the entire trip. Once we arrived, we found our spots fairly quickly; balcony seats near the stage on the left side about 4 rows up. There were two opening bands that I can hardly remember as I was distracted and mortified by the two 40-year-old biker couples making out in front of us. Irritated by their indiscretion, my mom tapped one of the couple's and asked if they wouldn't mind switching seats with us. And surprisingly, in between set changes right before Boston was scheduled to come on, they did! Moments after the switch, the house lights went down. The audience roared. I could see cameras flashing all across the venue. Everything felt electric and the hairs on my arms stood on end. The opening chords of my favorite Boston song rang in. I looked over at my dad and yelled "PEACE OF MIND!" He flashed a grin. The rest of the band kicked in and the colored stage lights danced over the band as the rest of the song played through. I hadn't known what any of the members of the band looked like but they all looked like the happiest people in the world to me that night. The tallest guitarist ever, Boston's Tom Scholz, played impeccably and the lead singer Brad Phelps could seriously belt. They were all so in tune with each other, moving fluidly together through each song. It was mesmerizing. I couldn't have asked for a better experience to start my obsession with live music. Boston came back for a two-hour encore. I kid you not. Two. Hours. My sister had managed to fall asleep even through the thundering music, but I was wide awake the whole way through. Boston's music will always remind me of that summer. Carefree and perfect. Now if only we could get the ball rolling for Lullaby Renditions of Boston . . . Who's with me?! In the meantime you might also enjoy these releases.

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