Saturday, March 10, 2007

Boston's Brad Delp; 1951 - 2007

It was August 21, 2003. I was gimping around on a bum leg after blowing out my ACL. I was quite frustrated being it was the push to Drum Corps nationals. Doc said to wrap my leg in an immobilizer and stay off of it for a few days. With some Tylenol and TLC he felt I could still perform with a hinged knee brace and postpone surgery till later.
Then I got the call. My good friend 'The Doctor' told me that he had a couple freebies for the Boston Concert at the State Fair. His old high school chum was touring again, this times as a guitar tech for Boston. Buddy had set us up many times, from sitting on the tour bus with Great White, to back stage with Nine Inch Nails. This time he had lined up some cozy seats for Boston, one of my all time favorites. Afterwards, there was an outside shot we may be able to get behind the scenes. Gimpy or not, I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity.

I made it to the show, and what a show it was. Brad was in prime form, with a fantabulous show. Fran and son Anthony Cosmo were spot on. And the addition of Kimberley Dahme was just what the band needed to enhance some of the upper range that is signature Boston, and which Brad admitted later, was not quite within his ability anymore. Tom Scholz continued to prove he was still one of the best in the game.

As the show wound down, we staged ourselves near the backstage entrance, in hopes to meet-up with Buddy, and wish him our best. There was a line-up of KQ fans, winners of back stage passes, also hanging out. We looked at our credentials and they seemed different from theirs. We didn't know what that meant, yet. The gate was opened and we were waved in with the rest of the groupies. There was a tent off in the distance, which was clearly the destination of the throngs. To the left was a grouping of Motor-homes, and we peeled off. A few fans followed us, but they were immediately hustled back with the cattle, our passes had more clout than I thought. We huddled amongst the motor homes, awaiting Buddy. We saw Tom (Scholz) sitting down by himself, plucking away at a guitar, almost seeming reclusive. At that moment Buddy approached and greeted us like it was old home week. He noticed my leg and after sharing my story he said "Let's get you off that and find a place for you to sit" He motioned us to one of the motor homes, and in we went.

After navigating the creaky steps, we entered a plush looking motor home. We all found a spot to rest, while Buddy asked if we were thirsty. I passed for now, only to hear the door ease open. I can't recall whom came in first, but several people walked in and it didn't take me long to recognize who they were. Buddy had brought us into the 'Green Room' and in walked Brad, Fran, Anthony, and Kimberley. I was in awe, and immediately tried to get up so as not to invade on their space. Brad looked at me and said something like "You relax their partner, I'm fine"

Buddy took care of the introductions, and we all started chatting like we were best friends. All four of these rock stars treated us like long lost friends. We hung out for over an hour just chewing the fat. At one point Brad asked me if I wanted a beverage, this time I was feeling parched, and without even nodding he was right there handing me one of their beers from the fridge. I simply couldn't believe how accommodating and personable they were. Later, Cosmo was stressing a bit about their next gig. They were off to Syracuse for the NY State Fair. This was his old stomping grounds and there was a level of apprehension every time he went 'home'

I have fond memories of this experience, and when I heard of Brad Delp's passing I couldn't help but think of what a 'regular Joe' he was to a common schlep like me. The picture above is from the Boston Website. The caption reads "The nicest, kindest, most caring, down to earth rock star the world has ever known." I can attest, from personal experience, how spot on that statement is.

Thank you, Mr. Delp, for giving us all the gift of your music, and for accepting me into your world like I was one of the guys.

May you rest in peace!


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