Come Together: A Tribute To The Life Of Brad Delp at the Bank Of America Pavilion on August 18

A review of 'Come Together: A Tribute To The Life Of Brad Delp' at the Bank Of America Pavilion on August 18, 2007

, Editor-in-Chief

When Brad Delp took his own life in March, a sense of deep shock and sadness hovered over the Boston community. Though the loss of the man affectingly known as the “nicest guy in rock & roll” still runs deep, family, friends, and fans convened at the Bank of America Pavilion on Sunday night to turn their collective grief into a celebration of the life of one Boston’s favorite sons. Sure, tears were shed, but the concert, Come Together: A Tribute To The Life Of Brad Delp,” was a fitting tribute that ran just the way Delp would have wanted it.

The five-hour show was closed out by a headlining set from Delp’s former band, Boston. Led by founding member Tom Scholz and a rotating set of lead singers, the band led one final sing-along of tunes that defined Delp as a musician. Michael Sweet, of Stryper fame, was no Delp but was clearly the best of the rotating cast that included Kimberly Dahme, Curly Smith, and Charlie Farren. The most surprising performance came from Tommy DeCarlo, a fan from North Carolina, whose vocals shined during “Smokin.” When Dahme sang “Feeling Satisfied,” the verse of “The time has come to get together / You gotta have a little rock ‘n roll music / To get you through the stormy weather” seemed eerily fitting.

Unfortunately, for most of the set, the band was plagued with technical difficulties. Still, the enthusiasm of the crowd seemed to fill the void through one final round of sing-alongs including “Rock And Roll Band,” “More Than A Feeling,” and “Piece of Mind.” The show marked the 20th anniversary of Boston’s famous nine-night stand at the Worcester Centrum. All the former Boston band members (with the exception of drummer Sib Hashian who was in the house – playing with Ernie and the Automatics as well as sitting in during RTZ’s set) put their differences aside and took stage together for a final rendition of “Don’t Look Back.” Scholz introduced each of the band member’s through a lengthy segment before original members Jim Masdea, Barry Goudreau, and Fran Sheehan joined Scholz with fellow one-time Boston members David Sikes, Doug Huffman, Curly Smith, and Fran Cosmo, and current members Gary Pihl, Kimberly Dahme, and Jeff Neal.

RTZ, Delp’s other band in the early 90’s, preceded Boston’s performance. Their set featured keyboardist Brian Maes on lead vocals and included the band’s singles, “Face The Music” and “Until Your Love Comes Back Around.” In addition to their own material, the band also performed material from guitarist Barry Goudreau and Delp’s album from 2003, including “What You Leave Behind,” and “Dreams” (where Goudreau snuck in part of Boston’s “Long Time”). RTZ finished with a new song, “Set The Songbird Free,” written by the band after Delp’s death. With lyrics such as “his gifts have all been given / the joy is just to listen” and “he brought the sunshine when he singed,” plenty of tears were shed as the band emotionally closed out their tribute.

Godsmack and Extreme brought some star power to the tribute concert. Godsmack delivered a solid four-song acoustic set, which included “Running Blind” and “Hollow.” Extreme’s set began with a new song, “Rock ’n’ Roll Man,” written earlier this year about Delp. Lead singer Gary Cherone fittingly tagged Boston’s “A Man I’ll Never Be” onto the end. Their set included crowd favorites “More Than Words” and “Whole Hearted.”

Earlier in the evening, Farenheit and Beatlejuice performed. Still boasting crisp vocals, lead singer Charlie Farren led Farenheit through a solid set. The band, who opened for Boston throughout the 80’s is still recording new material and even tested a new tune, “Walk On Water.” Beatlejuice, Delp’s former Beatles cover band, rotated a host of singers for an enjoyable sing-along of favorites from the Fab Four.

The show started with a brief blues set by car mogul Ernie Boch Jr.’s group, Ernie and the Automatics. Boch’s impact on the night was more noticeable with the plethora of cameras on hand to tape the show for a future DVD release.

As memorable as all the music sets were, it was Delp’s Daughter, Jennifer, who stole the show with a poignant and remarkable film called “The Rock Star I Called Dad.” The film featured interviews with family, friends, and band mates all the way back to his first high school band, The Munks. It recalled Delp for the person he was offstage: the soft-spoken man who enjoyed movies, idolized the Beatles, but most importantly would do anything for those he loved.

Delp once sang, “Life’s not only for the living / It’s what you leave behind.” Everyone in attendance on Sunday night could have told a story of how Delp influenced his/her own life in some shape or form. He was humble, engaging, extraordinary talented, but more than anything he left something – big and small -behind with everyone he encountered. From fans to band mates to family, Delp will be missed but the songbird will forever live in the music.

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