Boston Music Experience

(photo by Tim Toomey on Unsplash)

Ever since I raided my brother’s record collection during junior high school, I fell in love with the sound of the rock band Boston. Their sound contained unique melodic harmonies, turning the band into an instant hit.

Although Boston signed a contract to produce ten albums within six years, they only produced two albums before contract disputes led to years of legal red tape. Their third album, Third Stage, came out eight years after the second one. And during the making of Third Stage, changes were made to the original line-up.

I saw Boston in concert during their Third Stage Tour. The music was still great, but I was disappointed when the split happened. The original line up came out first to play music from their first two albums. Then they switched line ups to the new one to play their third album. As a fan, I had an allegiance to the original band members, and I still do.

Moving forward, I continued to follow the original band members as they moved on to other endeavors. In particular, guitarist Barry Goudreau created new bands over the years. First was his solo album, which came out after Boston’s second album. Barry’s bandmates for this album were Boston’s lead singer Brad Delp, Boston’s drummer Sib Hashian, and bass player/singer Fran Cosmo who would become a future member of Boston. One possible reason Boston’s original line up changed is because Tom Shultz, the mastermind behind the music, was angry with how the marketing company marketed this solo record as a Boston project, even though Tom gave the okay for Barry to move forward with his solo project.

Barry’s next band was Orion the Hunter, which produced the hit So You Ran in 1984. Brad Delp and Fran Cosmo were carryover members into this band. Keyboardist Brian Maes joined the touring band as well.

Then RTZ (Return To Zero) was formed around 1989 with a line up of Goudreau, Delp, Maes, bass player Tim Archibald, and drummer Dave Stefanelli. Hit songs included Until Your Love Comes Around, There’s Another Side, and All You’ve Got.

And during the 21st century, three additional Goudreau bands were created: Delp-Goudreau (2004) collaboration album that produced the song What You Leave Behind. Ernie and the Automatics (2004-2011), and currently – Barry Goudreau’s Engine Room – with many of the same musicians from RTZ.

My all-time favorite concert experience occurred at a small restaurant in a small Massachusetts town on a Tuesday night. Ernie and the Automatics practiced every Tuesday night at this restaurant. Luckily, during a New England visit to my brother, a band practice was scheduled. I got to the restaurant early. And when I drove into the parking lot, there was one car in the lot with the trunk open and a man behind the car. It was Barry Goudreau taking out his guitar!

I entered the restaurant and was seated up near the front, next to the saxaphone player’s wife. We chatted throughout the evening. And during a break, the saxaphone player Michael “Tunes” Antunes sat down and included me in the conversation. He was so nice.

Prior to the start of the set, I saw the bandmates at a table near the stage, eating dinner. When they were done, I got the courage to approach Mr. Goudreau. He was gracious and we chatted for a few minutes. And I also met the original Boston drummer Sib Hashian during a break.

The band’s set included songs from all the past bands. I knew many of them and had a blast. The highlight song at the end was a medley of Boston songs condensed into about ten minutes. It was an incredible night that I will never forget.

For anyone interested, here is a video of Ernie & the Automatics performing the Boston Medley. This is not from the night I saw them. Running time of 12 minutes.

(1) Boston Medley – Ernie and the Automatics.mpg – YouTube