A Look Back at “Don’t Look Back”, 1978

I remember it like it was yesterday. The year was 1976 I was a junior in high school and like most kids at the time my friends and I made a habit of driving our hot rods around New England each and every Friday and Saturday night. Although there were several mainstays aboard as we drove to the Salisbury Beach circle — among other places — the music was of vital importance. Our cars all had the best stereos at the time: Pioneer speakers, equalizers, and Alpine tuners to blast all that great music of the 70’s. We listened to newer bands like Styx, Foreigner, and Kansas as well as classic artists like The Who and of course the Beatles and the Stones. But when one local band hit the scene we were all blown away. When we heard “More Than A Feeling,” that first single off the now classic album, we all knew this band that called themselves Boston was special. Then came the second and third singles and we couldn’t get the album (well cassette actually) in our cars fast enough. Not only was their sound unique, the songs and the musicianship excellent, but they were Boston: named for the city we were from and something we all had in common. A lot of bands at the time took the name of their native city but these guys were ours and we loved it.

Fast forward to August 1978 and the release of the band’s second album. I can fondly remember standing in line at Strawberries on Washington Street waiting patiently for my copy. I took the train in from the suburbs just to get the album and after I got my copy I immediately boarded the train and headed back home to the turntable. Don’t Look Back was a great album as well and showed another side of the band. The only thing left was to see these guys live and on November 6th 1978 at the Boston Garden that became a reality. The Garden had hosted so many true legendary performers over the years from the Stones, to Zeppelin, to the J. Geils Band and now this new band from Boston. The energy in the building was so intense that you got the feeling everyone there knew that what we were about to see and hear was going to add to the Garden’s list of unforgettable concerts. Montrose — a solid band in their own right — opened up before Boston hit the stage, and was excellent, but the reality was that all 15,320 of us didn’t need to be warmed up. As the stage lighting started to dimly reveal Tom Scholz’s massive pipe organ (that we heard had to be specially configured to rise up from the stage and fit in the old Garden) the place went insane, but when the band did “Foreplay” and segued into “Long Time” the old building was shaking from the Loge to the second balcony. Everything from Brad Delp’s phenomenal voice and incredible vocal range to Sib’s drum work was tight; they were playing at home and they were all enjoying it as much as we were. The band did fifteen songs that night from both albums and a new song we hadn’t heard before, “Television Politician”.

As music lovers we wind up going to hundreds of shows in as many venues but there are a handful that truly stand out — these are the nights that resonate in your mind and leave an everlasting impression. The Boston concert all those years ago was indeed one of those nights, seeing one of those Rock and Roll bands, that I won’t soon — or ever — forget.

(by Mark Turner)

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