By Michael Strickland
As we ponder our 123idaho message of great thoughts and great causes, what could be a better cause than bringing people together with music that has inspired generations?
I’d have given about anything for tickets to a Boston or Styx show some 40 years ago. That’s why nostalgic chills went through my spine when I learned that Bostyx featuring David Victor formerly of Boston was going to play in my home town of Nampa, Idaho. When it comes to classic rock, the songs of Boston and Styx and are legendary. Their music survives despite constantly changing musical trends.
Victor brought an array of world-class musicians to the Nampa Civic Center on Nov. 18. Helping to handle the distinctive lead vocals of Styx co-founder Dennis DeYoung was multi-talented drummer and lead vocalist, Glenn Jost. With the accompaniment of guitarist/vocalist Roby Duron, bassist Manny Aguirre and keyboardist/vocalist Victor Bender, the band reproduced Boston’s soaring guitar harmonies and lightning-fast keyboard runs. They also added the lush vocals and theatrical style of Styx, while the bassist provided a steady groove to all those thump-heavy rockers.
Bostyx opened the show with the Star Spangled Banner and an array of richly harmonized riffs. They moved into Rock and Roll Band, one of several Boston songs with the theme of making music and how music makes them feel. Then they broke into the boogie groove that persists throughout the song “Smokin.’”
Victor, who lived a “Rock Star” dream being plucked from a tribute band into the namesake band, the multi-platinum Boston; had a strong night on vocals. He adeptly handled the sounds of one of the finest rock tenors of all-time, Boston’s Brad Delp. Victor’s performance included “Don’t Look Back,” the hard rock masterpiece from Boston’s second album.
Every Bostyx band member helped provide the soaring harmonies that made those classic anthems stand out in pop music history. Their Styx tunes melded the power of a hard-rock guitar balanced with acoustic guitar, drums and keyboards.
The band’s set came packed with memorable Styx morsels, from 70s favorites “Grand Illusion,” “Blue Collar Man,” “Come Sail Away”, “Lady” and “Renegade,” to “Foolin’ Yourself,” “Too Much Time on My Hands,” and other hits. The 1981 Billboard top ten Styx anthem “Best of Times” was followed by Boston’s mega-hit, the exceedingly high-pitched mainstay “More Than A Feelin.’” From the first notes to the final falsetto cries, Victor impressively handled this very difficult vocal.
More Boston followed. The self-explanatory choice “Party” began with a short, slow introduction before a surprising change of pace to the fast, harder sound that persists throughout the rest of the song. “Feelin Satisfied,” an upbeat, affectionate tribute to the power of music, was the opener after intermission, filled with clear singing and fresh sounds.
The crowd would not let the band leave without an encore. The band obliged with “Foreplay” a progressive instrumental prelude. Bender nailed the rapid triplet keyboard arpeggios, while the band joined with synthesizer-like swoops, complex bass and drums, and lead guitar at the end. The song flowed naturally into “Long Time,” with its three epic guitar solos. Their “Foreplay/Long Time” treatment was a perfect marriage of electric and acoustic sounds.
The Nampa Civic center manages to offer a mixture of close-community and arena feel inside a space with a several hundred seats. This night of power, grace and precision from Bostyx was convincing. With fluid expertise and the swagger of a national act, Bostyx is a must-see for anyone who wants to be transported back to the magic of Boston and Styx.