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BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
Written By: Gary Crouthamel
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BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
Boston
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
Kansas
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
BOSTON / Kansas / Grand Funk Railroad
Aberdeen Proving Grounds
Aberdeen, Md. • Saturday August 11th, 2012

        Wow, back to the Proving Grounds. I haven’t been here since ZZ Top in 2008. You still have to show your ID at the gate to enter the military grounds but at least this year the guards don’t have rifles hanging on their shoulders. Going in traffic was a lot heavier than ZZ Top and I heard they actually sold about 10,000 tickets which, for this place, I thought was really good.
        At 7pm, GFR took the stage and with original members Don Brewer on drums, Mel Schacher on bass, and new members Tim Cashion on keyboards, Max Carl (38 Special fame) on vocals and guitar and Bruce Kulick (KISS fame) on guitar, they opened their set with "Bottle Rocket", "Rock N Soul Music", and "Footstompin' Music". They played most of their hits through their hour-long set, throwing in a few covers such as  "Second Chance" by 38 Special, then a drum solo (you usually never see an opening act play a drum solo), then "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Carole King, “I'm Your Captain (Closer to Home)” and, of course, "We're An American Band" to close out their set. If anyone has forgotten, these guys will be here in our town playing for Bike Week, so make sure you get out to see them.
        Next up, Kansas, with original members Steve Walsh on keyboards and vocals, Phil Ehart on drums, Rich Williams on guitar and new members Billy Greer on bass and David Ragsdale on violin, they opened their set with "Magnum Opus", "Belexes", "Point of Know Return", the first song that got the crowd’s attention, and "Song for America", with Williams playing double duty switching between acoustic and electric guitars, and "On The Other Side" with Ragsdale trading his violin for a guitar. Their one-hour set brought most hits and "Dust in the Wind", this year being the thirty-fifth anniversary of that song. Then “The Wall", "Cheyenne Anthem" and "Miracles Out of Nowhere", featuring Billy Greer as the main vocalist. They finished their set with "Icarus - Borne on Wings of Steel" and "Portrait (He Knew).”
        After a short break they returned and dedicated their first encore, "Fight Fire With Fire", to those in service, and then the final number, "Carry On Wayward Son". There was rumor Kansas would also be coming to our Bike Week but that isn’t happening now; they are playing the very intimate Music Box in the Borgata in Atlantic City, NJ.
        Another set change and headliners Boston hit the stage with the group’s founding member Tom Scholz on guitar and keyboards, new members Curly Smith on drums, Tracy Ferrie on bass, Gary Pihl on guitar, Tommy DeCarlo on vocals and David Victor on guitar, kicking off the set with "Rock & Roll Band", "Smokin'”, "Feeling Satisfied" and "Peace of Mind." A huge LCD screen took up the entire back of the stage projecting the famous Boston logo or it would turn into three separate screens to project videos of the band. I was not happy when the cameraman set up shop right in front of the stage making it harder for me to move about in the pit. DeCarlo sang with exceptional quality, echoing the late Brad Delps’ vocals with perfection. All songs they played were from Boston's first three albums with the exception of two from their fourth. Their lights were amazingly bright and blinding, only the better for photographing. Next up came, "Cool The Engines", "Surrender To Me", "Don't Look Back", and "Something About You". As the band took a breather, Sholtz introduced Victor as the newest member, letting him take over the vocals for the next song "Amanda", one of their slower songs. Good break for the band cause they did a great job presenting these old classic hits. Next was "We're Ready", "The Launch", "More Than A Feeling", "My Destination", "A New World", "To Be a Man" and "Walk On", with Scholz going over to a synthesizer facing the side of the drumkit and playing them while smoke billowed up from below; before closing out their set with what else but "Foreplay / Long Time".
    To end their 90-minute set, I would have thought a few of the earlier hits would have made this cut, but they chose "Used To Bad News" and "Party", both from their second album, 1978's Don't Look Back. (And yes, I saw the original Boston band on this tour at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. Damn, I miss that venue. But like I said, I was very impressed with the new lineup, production, sound, and song choices. I actually don’t know why they are not hitting all the major markets. I'm sure they would do well and it was well worth it.
– Gary Crouthamel, concert photojouralist

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