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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Boston - 1986 Third Stage
Boston - 1986 Third Stage

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 eighties 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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#1 | jeffrey343 on February 11 2009 21:21:10
This was THE album of fall '86 and one of the very first albums I bought on CD (one of my first five, I think). Played the heck out of it. Definitely a bit more mellow than the first two albums. I still play it a good amount.
#2 | trillion1999 on October 19 2011 17:35:01
I love Amanda/My Destination.Pretty solid album IMHO.
#3 | AOR Lee on May 07 2012 18:35:26
Third Stage was my introduction to Boston and AOR/arena rock in general. Untouchable record
#4 | aaasreg on September 12 2014 19:04:38
The problem with this album that it has no edges, too perfect produced and played. Nevertheless the songs are good especially 'Amanda'
#5 | super80boy on September 26 2015 00:20:21
It was nice to hear Delp fly again on this third offering. Third Stage is quite strong on a number of fronts, but that would have been expected after eight long years…The beefs I had/have with the album is the instrumental fillers and song sequencing. They strip out the instrumental fillers ('The Launch' and 'A New World') or just have integrated them into the next song since they bleed into them anyway. Secondly, move the ballads around so they aren't right next to each other and start Side 2 with one of the romps like 'We're Ready' or 'I Think I Like It'…I know, I'm just nit picking…I love the album…done.
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