Boston, Cheap Trick offer parade of hits at rainy Bangor Waterfront concert

Posted July 03, 2014, at 5:31 a.m.
Last modified July 03, 2014, at 5:51 a.m.

Rock ‘n’ roll can make people do a lot of things. Standing in over an hour of pouring rain to hear two great American rock ‘n’ roll bands is one of them.

Cheap Trick and Boston performed two sets of massive FM hits on the Bangor Waterfront Wednesday night, and the crowd at the Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion didn’t seem to bat an eye while happily rocking through all of it — rain and wind aside.

“Oh man, I listened to both these bands in high school all the time,” said Adam Dewey of Bangor, who was at the show with his girlfriend, Misty. “It’s awesome that they’re in Bangor. I’ve lived here for a long time, and it’s amazing that they’re playing here.”

The rain started just before Cheap Trick took the stage and let up part way through Boston’s set, but people came prepared: rain jackets and ponchos were the fashion choice for the evening. Not that it mattered; the hit parade of songs came fast and furious throughout both band’s sets, and the audience roared approval for each one.

Cheap Trick, which has toured near-constantly for almost 40 years, started the night off. Rick Nielsen, Robin Zander and Tom Petersson with drummer Daxx Nielsen — Rick Nielson’s son, who joined the band in 2010 — played an energetic, good-humored set full of instrument changeovers. Lead singer Zander retains his note-perfect rock vocals, as well as his showmanship, sporting several glittery jackets over the course of the show.

Nielsen played a dazzling array of beautiful guitars, from a vintage Hamer to an ax emblazoned with the images of the four Beatles, to his trademark five-necked guitar, which he played near the end of a set that included top hits such as “Surrender,” “I Want You To Want Me” and “The Flame.”

Boston hit the stage after Cheap Trick with a seven-man band, featuring a lineup that included original guitarist Tom Scholz, lead singer Tommy DeCarlo — who joined the band after original singer Brad Delp died in 2007 — and drummer Jeff Neal, a Windham native who for most of the year teaches social studies at Windham High School. The band’s set was one of the more technically impressive for this year’s concert series, with a well-balanced sound mix and a visually appealing stage set, designed to look like the interior of an airplane.

Boston has almost too many hits to count — “Peace of Mind,” “Rock & Roll Band” and “More Than a Feeling” off the 17 times platinum 1976 album “Boston,” as well as “Amanda” off “Third Stage” and many others, all of which they played at the show Wednesday night.

Up next in the Machias Savings Bank Waterfront Concert Series is a concert from fellow classic rock favorites Styx and Foreigner on Saturday, July 5. More classic rock with Bad Company and Lynyrd Skynyrd is on July 10. Queens of the Stone Age is set for the Cross Insurance Center on July 12, and singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan will play on the Waterfront on July 18.

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