Grady Boston Review

Review by Grady Moates (Switch to

Well, I don't know what concert the Boston Herald reporter was attending, but from my seat in the Bank Of American Pavilion in South Boston (front row, dead center -- Todd-spittle-zone) The New Cars were amazing.

In spite of a REALLY INTENSE Nor-easter* right over the venue (The Bank of America Pavilion is right on Boston Harbor, so the first thing that winds coming in off the ocean hit is the BOA tent), there were no distractions on stage, and interestingly, no angst either. The rain was so intense at times that every so often a splash of water would cascade onto the stage and a stage-hand would have to run out and wipe it up to prevent artist fallage.

Since Boston is the home town for The Cars, you'd think there'd be some trepidation from Elliot and Greg when rolling out their new model for the folks they went to high school with, but in spite of Elliot's recent tour-bus injury, these guys looked and sounded like they were on top of their game, knew it, and were very, very happy about that.

Now, I must tell you that the BOA tent is a pretty bad place to hear a concert. The tent material is stretched so taught, and is so thick and smooth, that it causes a distinct wash of reverb in 3/4 of the space. There are very few good seats. When the tent was moved half-a-mile-or-so a few years back to make room for a big South Boston development, the venue added a small amount of absorption in the back to mitigate the worst of the problem in the back 30 rows or so, but the fact remains that if you don't have substantial direct sound from the PA, there is such a miasma of non-correlated sound that it's hard to tell where the down--beat IS, much less discern whether or not everyone is ON the down-beat.

At the front, where the sound folks had thoughtfully provided wedges on the edge of the stage, we were getting a (gasp, this NEVER happens) near-perfect mix. TR's vocals at first seemed a little low, but as the night progressed, it became apparent that this helped his vocal performance mesh with the cars catalog all the better. Since we KNOW how the vocals are supposed to sound (after all we've heard these songs a thousand times each, so WE are the arbiters of correctness), it's better to have well- crafted "reminders" of the vocals, rather than being bludgeoned by them, so that we can more fully immerse ourselves in the power of the instrumentation.

And powerful it was. Prairie and Kasim are in the ninety-ninth percentile in the pantheon of rhythm sections. With a foundation this strong, the melodic components have no restrictions on where they can go. Elliot, Greg and Todd took full advantage of this and simply rocked that tent. When Elliot and Todd played their twin- lead breaks, it was pure liquid gold. Watching Greg come to life behind the keys was wonderful. They guy seems so reserved in person, but when he's playing and singing he's bouncing around and having a great time, while never missing a note with his signature synth leads and fills.

After the show, a fan named Kevin standing behind me (none of us sat much) said, "This was TEN TIMES what I was expecting!" Interesting, since just before the show I'd TOLD him exACTly what to expect based on the Reno show I'd seen a couple of weeks earlier. What this tells me is that words cannot convey how good this show is.

I bought tickets for several friends who were 32 rows back on the right-hand aisle, the only other almost perfect place for sound in this misbegotten hell-hole of a bad idea for a sound- space, since the Front-Of-House line array is aimed right at this spot and the subwoofer cabinets shoot right down the aisle, but it's far enough back that ears don't melt. I got rave reviews from these folks, none of whom are Todd fans. Their conclusion was that these were Boston's CARS and they ROCKED!

Business managers were taught in school to NEVER pay a bill until it's 90 days old, and to keep that money in an interest bearing account while making the creditors sweat. None of us like it, but it's the way of the world. Newspaper art critics must have been taught that balanced reporting means that you MUST report an equal amount of negatives to offset any positive comments you are compelled to write, even if you have to MAKE IT UP. But that's not news, it's just fiction. This tour is closing-in on the last week of shows. If it's coming near you and you haven't seen it, JUST LIKE THE LIARS TOUR, it'll be gone soon, and you'll have to put it on that list of things you wish you had done.

You know, that list of people who might have been lovers, if you had only taken a little initiative during that fleeting moment when you had a chance and didn't take it.

That list.


* Nor-easter:

A storm characterized by a low-pressure cell that moves slowly up the coastline, just off-shore, so that the winds, in a counter-clockwise hurricane-like pattern, hit the shoreline after building up speed over miles and miles of ocean surface, collecting moisture along the way and dumping it as soon as the winds meet the shoreline.

A storm that, when combined with snow, creates blizzards.

Other reviews for The New Cars
6/07/2006 - Bank of America Pavilion - Boston, MA

Other reviews for overall The New Cars

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