Peace of Mind - The Boston Experience salutes a sometimes-overlooked classic-rock giant
You can’t swing a Fender bass without hitting bands recreating superstar acts with roots in the 1970s. Casino entertainment schedules are filled with groups playing the music of such classic-rock pillars as Aerosmith, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band. But one unit has taken a musical road less-travelled.
As its moniker suggests, Peace of Mind — The Boston Experience, which performs Saturday at the Hard Rock Café inside Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, deals in the music of Boston, which exploded onto the scene in 1976 with a self-titled first album that remains one of the best-selling debuts in history.
Led by its founder, a one-time Polaroid engineer named Tom Scholz, Boston combined earwormy hooks with Scholz’s flashy lead guitar chops and the late Brad Delp’s powerful vocal stylings to create one of the first avatars of what would become known as “arena rock.” Its signature tunes include “More Than A Feeling,” “Foreplay/Longtime” and “Peace of Mind.”
While paying homage to Boston may seem a little unusual, the six members of PMBE consider the decision to do so a no-brainer.
“Several of us have been playing together since we were teens,” notes lead singer Alby Miller. “When the first Boston album came out, we were overwhelmed with the vocals and layered guitar sounds. We had never heard anything like it before--the big, full sound with deep, meaningful lyrics and amazing guitar solos.
“Playing Boston stretches us and continues to push us musically to be the best we can be. I guess I can say it’s in our DNA!”
According to lead guitarist Walt Lau, duplicating Scholz’s singular sound, which stamped virtually all of Boston’s recorded material, was as much a matter of hardware as it was ability.
“Tom’s guitar playing is melodic, has a unique tone and the solos always fit the song,” he says. “The challenge for me was to find two specific pieces of equipment to reproduce the midrange which has a very specific tonality. I also ended up customizing a harmonizer that can engage and disengage using unconventional methods.”
Hard Rock Atlantic City, Boardwalk at Virginia Avenue; 10 p.m. Saturday, January 11; free admission.