July 05, 2005

Boston Pops, What the Hell?

I'm wondering if they took the "pops" portion of their name a mite too seriously yesterday. Hublet and I settled down to watch The Boston Pops celebration and fireworks last night after a day filled with the hometown parade, much hilarity on the newly-acquired Star Wars-themed slip and slide, a trip to the Durham Bulls game wherein The Boy got to meet Spongebob Squarepants (Boy's verdict: "Spongebob was too big," as the mascot was far too wide for The Boy to embrace properly and I think he got a bit of a facial scuff from the polystyrene sponge head) and a trip to the end of our driveway to view the local fireworks display.

ANYWAY, we were all settled in to watch the Boston Pops and the fireworks--particularly the big 1812 Overture finale with stuff blowing up as the cymbals crashed--but do you know what we got instead?

Aerosmith! U2! Some freaking whiny country ballad piece of crap followed by R&B garbage from a SOUND SYSTEM! What the hell?

So I thought, "Okay, a nod to the mod. I can deal with this for a minute, and then they will bring on the crashing cymbals!"

But the cymbals were never brought. Nary a crash. Nary a "duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-DUH DUH DUH!!!" The finale was some POS song I'd never even heard of, and by the time we realized that THAT was the finale, it was too late to flip over to PBS to watch a drunken Barry Bostwick announce the DC fireworks which I'm sure would have featured some suitably martial tune-age and stuff blowing up in appropriate 19th century fashion.


But other than that, we had a great weekend. And now I'm heading over to I-Tunes to download some 1812 Overture. And maybe some Anvil Chorus.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at July 5, 2005 12:02 PM

Barry Bostwick was drunk? That may explain. We noticed that after he said his lines he frequently had a look of uncertainness or dismay on his face, and we couldn't tell why. I watched both, and I did like the Capitol Fourth, or whatever it was, better. "1812 Overture" and "Stars and Stripes Forever" for the finale.

Posted by: Laura at July 5, 2005 08:00 PM

I caught the fireworks display too, but the music was so crappy I turned the sound off and turned my stereo on. The finale didn't seem like a finale to me either.

I'm still confused about the 4th of July's connection with the 1812 overture. It would be like Armenia playing Wellington's Victory at their independence day celebrations. Anyhow it is fun to listen to. KUSC usually plays the Gothenburg symphony version which -- I'm not making this up --uses authentic period cannons

Posted by: Chris Martin at July 6, 2005 12:16 AM

I usually listen to Pictures at Exhibition. The Great Gate of Kiev never fails to bring the crowd to its feet, with period battering rams.

Posted by: Ron Hardin at July 6, 2005 07:59 AM

They played the 1812 overture BEFORE the fireworks. I think the Boston organizers are now trying to mimic the NYC/Macy's "pimp my song" presentation format, where the fireworks are timed to the music - so they have to use canned music to prep the charges ahead of time. Surely the Pops have the 1812 on CD somewhere?

Posted by: Roxanne at July 6, 2005 09:27 AM

Laura -
Drunk was the only explanation I could come up with for Bostwick's demeanor--either that or a mild stroke suffered immediately pre-show. Kinda freaky.

Chris -
I think they use the 1812 overture because the cannon explosions go really well with the fireworks. Hey, it's America--if stuff blows up real good we'll overlook the thematic appropriateness of the piece. And real cannons? Cooool.

Roxanne -
I was impressed by the way that the fireworks mimicked the music, but why couldn't they have used some holiday-appropriate music? "Somewhere Over the Rainbow?" The hell? I was most bummed out, even though the display itself was amazing.

Posted by: BAW at July 6, 2005 09:45 AM

NOOOOOOO! Say it ain't so, BAW!

I do NOT want to see a future where I'm condemned to watch fireworks while listening to "Born in the USA" or some heavy-metal ballad or some crappy song.

I didn't even watch my local fireworks this year; it involves a 20 minute drive on roads full of people filled with that Fourth of July cheer (read: Icehouse Beer), and they play the kind of POS music you mentioned in their execrable "sky concert" format. (I'm sorry, but Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" just makes me want to throw up. Normally I'm a pretty patriotic person but there's just something about that song that's like nails on a chalkboard to me).

Fortunately, my church did a Fourth of July concert that, if they didn't have the 1812 Overture (and thematic appropriateness be damned; that IS a Fourth of July piece) at least they played "traditional" patriotic music and American folk-tunes and gospel.

I just fear for the day when my ONLY music choices are country, western, rock, or rap. But it seems that day is coming.

Posted by: ricki at July 6, 2005 10:21 AM


I will admit (with a slight blush) that on two occasions the Lee Greenwood song has made me tear up: one time when I heard it after the start of the first Gulf War, and a day or two after 9/11. But out of such contexts I have also been unable to stomach it - I recently heard two fellow teachers earnestly discussing how the song makes them cry every time they hear it, and I just felt so embarrased for them.

Which just shows how hypocritical I can be. I cannot stand snobbery, and yet I have a very snobbish streak. And on top of that, I've actually been moved by that awful song myself!

However, I can safely say I've never been moved by Aerosmith's "Dream On", which also was played during that fireworks crap-fest on CBS.

Posted by: Husband of BAW at July 6, 2005 02:55 PM

Yeah, I miss John Williams too.

Just be thankful they didn't do some multi-cultural thing.

Posted by: snopercod at July 10, 2005 11:34 AM

I guess that explains Bostwick's "unalienable rights" comment.

Girl-child and her boyfriend went to the National Mall to see/hear fireworks and concert. They were disappointed, and have vowed to watch next year from somewhere along the Potomac, but not on the mall. They don't want to have to watch another MC like that.

Posted by: Tess at July 11, 2005 10:23 AM