BY VIRGINIA STILL
The sizzling summer in the Central Valley is the perfect time to enjoy outdoor entertainment with the glow at dusk and the drop in the hot temps in the evening. The Ironstone Vineyards summer concert series beginning this month provides the perfect venue for nights filled with great music from different genres and a variety of artists.
The band Boston will be bringing their classic rock sounds to the Ironstone Amphitheatre in Murphys on June 10 with rocker Joan Jett and the Blackhearts as their opening act to kick things off with a little bit of rock and roll. The American rock band Boston had huge success in the 1970s and ‘80s and sold over 17 million copies with classic hit songs like “More Than a Feeling,” “Peace of Mind,” “Smokin,” and “Amanda,” just to name a few.
Rhythm and lead guitar, keyboards and backing vocals musician Gary Pihl has been with the band since 1985. He played for Sammy Hagar for eight years and they opened for Boston back in the late ‘70s. After Hagar accepted the lead singer position for Van Halen, Pihl found a spot with Boston.
Tom Scholz, the founder of Boston, asked Pihl to play for the band.
“Tom and I were the electronic geeks,” said Pihl. “He had designed amplifiers and started his own electronics company to manufacture them. So of course I worked there with him.”
“We have got to be the only band in the world that plays with amps that we have built ourselves.”
Remembering the very first show he played with Boston and the use of new equipment and seeing it all work out was a special moment for Pihl.
“We ran out there and started playing and everything worked perfectly,” explained Pihl. “I got choked up. I looked over to the side of the stage to my tech and just smiled and he smiled back at me like, oh man, it’s working.”
Touring all around the country the guys in the band have played in big stadiums, smaller theaters and everywhere in between.
“Every place is different but standing up on stage, you look out in the audience and people are smiling and singing along sometimes louder than the band and that is a thrill for me every night,” expressed Pihl. “Here, 40 years later, I still love the music and love playing those songs.”
Boston will be performing all their hits heard on the radio over the years as well as some songs from the albums that aren’t usually played and some new tracks from their latest album: “Life, Love, and Hope”.
Last year the band celebrated its 40th anniversary tour and this year launched the Hyper Space tour in April.
“Of course Hyper Space, that is where no band has gone before or as we say it is a small step for a band but a giant leap for band kind,” stated Pihl. “We are really looking forward to coming back to Murphys. It is really such a beautiful place.”
The hit list continues at the outdoor amphitheater at Ironstone for entertainment throughout the summer. Also on the schedule are: John Mellencamp on June 17; the Moody Blues on June 18; Jason Mraz and his Super band on June 25; Lindsey Buckingham and Christine McVie with The Wallflowers on July 21; Matchbox Twenty and the Counting Crows on July 24; Jake Owen on Aug. 11; Steve Miller Band with Peter Frampton on Aug. 13, and Willie Nelson and Family with Kacey Musgraves on Aug. 18; while George Benson and Kenny G round out the summer series on Sept. 9.