Hitchin’ a ride with Boston and Tom Scholz to Wild Adventures Theme Park

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Eighteen unearthed photos and videos shed light on 1970s arena rock veteran Boston’s nearly sold out End of the World tour stop at Wild Adventures Theme Park in Valdosta, Georgia. Seen above, temporary rhythm guitarist David Victor casually leans back to do a little picking on his prized Gibson Les Paul during Boston’s June 30, 2012, concert at the family friendly outdoor venue. Photography by Jeremy Roberts

When veteran quintet Boston stampeded through South Georgia on their first tour in four years, fans were treated to a high octane concert streamlined with ‘70s and ‘80s classic rock radio staples. The third date of a 50-city summer tour which inexplicably skipped the West Coast, Valdosta’s family friendly Wild Adventures Theme Park hosted the rockers on June 30, 2012.

Led by guitar crunching wizard Tom Scholz on a vintage Gibson Les Paul, the band also featured guitarist Gary Pihl, who joined in 1985 and is the second most tenured member, drummer Curly Smith, vocalist Tommy DeCarlo, and two early twenty-tens additions — former bass player of Christian metal band Stryper Tracy Ferrie and rhythm guitarist-vocalist David Victor — he departed in the midst of Boston’s Heaven on Earth Tour in 2014.

DeCarlo, sporting a shaggy salt and pepper goatee, resembled original frontman and songwriter Brad Delp, who tragically committed suicide in 2007. Throughout the evening, he was obviously grateful to be onstage, shaking hands repeatedly with fans and demonstrating a humble attitude that other rock stars ought to emulate.

The trek was amusingly dubbed the “End of the World” tour. Critics and fans alike gave the shows two thumbs up. With no new album to support — Corporate America slipped out with scant notice 10 years earlier — the Wild Adventures setlist was greased like a well-oiled piston, focusing heavily on their first three multi-platinum albums distributed between 1976 and 1986 — Boston, Don’t Look Back, and Third Stage.

Par for the course, sixth studio album Life, Love & Hope was long in the works and ultimately dropped in December 2013. With the quality of Boston’s stage shows, let’s hope Scholz, a graduate of M.I.T. and the group’s resident creative mastermind, considers releasing a live album documenting the experience. Surprisingly, only sonically sub-par bootleg shows are available.

As a Boston concert first-timer, the song most deserving of an onstage rendition before Scholz calls it a day is “A Man I’ll Never Be,” which just missed the Top 30 in 1978. Composed by the meticulous multi-faceted musician and a mini operatic powerhouse for Delp, DeCarlo’s vocal dexterity is capable of pulling the feat off. Hang tight for a dozen Wild Adventures Theme Park snapshots unearthed of Boston in action.

© Jeremy Roberts, 2012, 2018. All rights reserved. To touch base, email jeremylr@windstream.net and mention which story led you my way. I appreciate it sincerely.

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Retro pop culture interviews & lovin’ someone fierce sustain this University of Georgia Master of Agricultural Leadership alum. Email: jeremylr@windstream.net

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