Tom Scholz and Boston celebrate 40 years with a tour

The classic rock band Boston is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a tour aptly named the 40th Anniversary Tour—and it’s getting good reviews. After opening night at Hard Rock Live at Seminole in Hollywood, Fla., Wendy Rhodes of the New Times Broward-Palm Beach wrote, “It’s hard to imagine how a live performance could mimic the technical perfection that the recordings notoriously took years to create, but they pulled it off.” Happy fans on social media are calling the show awesome, excellent and pure solid rock.

Forty years is a long time. Scholz, the band’s founder, who will turn 70 next year, exudes a youthful energy. He’s slim, lithe and still rocks a muscle shirt. On stage he doesn’t disappoint, squeezing a sonic version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” out of his Gibson guitar.

While social media posts on the tour are positive, for the most part, Boston did get some negative feedback when, in protest of North Carolina’s bathroom bill, House Bill 2, they cancelled dates in Charlotte, Greensboro and Raleigh. Scholz called HB2 an oppressive and discriminatory anti-LGBT law. He wrote on Facebook, “My sincere apologies to our fans who have already made arrangements to attend these shows. The removal of the shows from our schedule is a major disappointment. It has always been my wish to inspire people with Boston’s music. Hopefully the sacrifices we are all making here will inspire people to do the right thing in the future.”

In 2008, Mike Huckabee used “More Than a Feeling” while trying to gain the highest office in the nation and Scholz asked him to stop. According to Rolling Stone, Scholz wrote to the presidential contender: “By using my song, and my band’s name Boston, you have taken something of mine and used it to promote ideas to which I am opposed. In other words, I think I’ve been ripped off, dude!”

Scholz, an MIT graduate, developed the Boston sound while he was a product design engineer at Polaroid, the high-tech company that created the instant photo. His favorite project was when he helped build a sound system for analog instant movies. “That’s where I learned how tape recording worked,” Scholz said in an interview on Nova.

Scholz built a recording studio in his basement and spent six years submitting his records to music companies, receiving a rejection every time. It was when he decided to give it just one more try that “More Than a Feeling” caught the attention of Epic Records and went on to sell 17 million copies. To this day Scholz still records his music in his basement studio.

“I never thought that I would be successful at it so I wasn’t like planning for…to have hit singles or anything like that. I was just sort of writing music the way I wanted to hear it. I was told that the music I was doing was not going to be a success back in the ’70s because disco music was the happening thing,” Scholz said in an interview on the Japanese television show, “Song to Soul.”

Boston will perform tonight at the Downtown Las Vegas Event Center in Las Vegas, and then after a couple of shows in California, will begin heading east and wrap up the celebratory tour with two nights, Aug. 14 and 15, at the Wang Theater in Boston, Mass.

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