Boston - 1986 Third Stage

geoviangeovian Earth Orbit
edited August 2 in year-1986


ARTIST: Boston
ALBUM: Third Stage
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: 1993, Mobile Fidelity, UDCD 582 * 2009, Universal (Japan), UICY-93917 (remastered, reissued)


LINEUP: Brad Delp - vocals, guitars * Tom Scholz - guitars, organ * Gary Pihl - guitars * David Sikes - bass * Doug Huffman - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Amanda * 02 We're Ready * 03 The Launch * 04 Cool The Engines * 05 My Destination * 06 A New World * 07 To Be A Man * 08 I Think I Like It * 09 Can'tcha Say * 10 Still In Love * 11 Hollyann


It took a few years but finally Tom Scholz managed to release a third and very long overdue album.

This album was the result of some hard work (some would say painstaking), with a few casualties along the way.

The success from previous years took its toll on the band. Their relationship with record label Epic fractured to a point of total separation. Scholz took so long readying a third album that Epic, in their impatient wisdom, stopped paying the band royalties.

Band members Barry Goudreau, Fran Sheehan and Sib Hashian walked the plank, running out of patience with the extended and forced layoff, and all taking Scholz to court for various legal infringements. So not all was happy in the Boston camp.

However, after Scholz secured the band name rights once again after his legal victory over Epic, he upped and signed with MCA.

Listening to Boston eight years after 'Don't Look Back' it was hard to tell whether my schoolboy teenage years were but a distant mosaical memory, or whether I hadn't grown up at all during my young adult years. I'll opt for the latter, as I feel I still haven't grown up!

Some critics also argue that Boston themselves hadn't grown up either, as 'Third Stage' is as logical a successor to 'Don't Look Back' as that album was to the debut.

Long time (excuse the pun) fans wouldn't have given a toss, as a Boston record in 1986 was as rare an event as the passing of Halleys Comet, but thankfully not gift-wrapped in a 76 year cycle!

As history records, the album did very well, despite the lengthy absence. Fans and the record buying public flocked to the stores to pick this up.

The Songs

The album starts out with their No#1 hit single 'Amanda'. A thrilling listen for all concerned after the eight year break. To hear them sound so good and so familiar was like finding a long lost friend. It was for me at least.

The strange thing about this tune was that in the midst of MTV, Boston did not record a video for it, in fact 'Amanda' remains the only song to reach No#1 that NEVER had a video.

Segueing into 'We're Ready', this one reminds us of the 'Don't Look Back' album, and if you thought that was blatant, then the pairing of 'The Launch' and 'Cool The Engines' could be 'The Journey/It's Easy' revisited!

The next track 'My Destination' could be considered an 'Amanda' reprise given the musical similarity, and at 2 mins 20 sec, it rounds out Side One.

'A New World' is a brief instrumental burst, which precedes the ballad 'To Be A Man', quiet and restrained on the verses but powerful and surging on the choruses, the layered guitar lines a treat to hear.

Boston revert to party-rock on the excellent and enjoyable romp that is 'I Think I Like It', the vocal harmonies are a standout on this one.

The pairing of 'Cant'cha Say/Still In Love' was the bands other single, though an edited version of the song made its way into the charts.

The closer 'Hollyann' is another favourite track of mine, the rich strains of acoustic guitar, a neat organ solo, and those soaring Brad Delp vocals tops off a great return to the 80's for the band.

In Summary

Not surprisingly, the album went straight to No 1 in the charts, and stayed there for four weeks.

Scholz took the band out onto the road with the lineup listed above, plus another drummer Jim Masdea, and a trip down memory lane was had by all.

Again, not surprisingly, the next Boston album 'Walk On' would materialise out of hyperspace in 1994, the eight year duration about standard for a disappearing act and subsequent reappearance by Scholz.

The only thing we are missing with this album is a good remastering job and a reissue as original copies are becoming hard to track down.

If you are into AOR, then this album should already be in your collection. Boston fans? well, you'll already have this one in the collection. I guess there is no point preaching to the converted.

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