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WBOS EarthFest '98 Live At The MDC Hatch Shell, Boston, MA on April 25, 1998.


The day started on a bad note as while walking to the concert site I was greeted by an unwelcomed downpour. I decided to duck into the Bull & Finch Pub (a.k.a. Cheers), which I happened to be passing at the time, and have lunch while waiting out the passing shower. Lunch was great, and the storm did pass, but unfortunately I missed the opening performances of Edwin McCain and Abra Moore. A soaked onlooker informed me that they were both very good so Iíll take his word for it.

Glen Frey took the stage to introduce Max Carl & The Big Dance, the band which he signed to his own record label. The former Eagle remained to play rhythm guitar and perform two of his solo hits, "Smugglerís Blues" and "The Heat Is On." Max Carl & The Big Dance proved to be very entertaining and succeeded in getting the damp crowd dancing.

10,000 Maniacs were greeted loudly by the large crowd, many of whom were obviously there to see them. 10KM has been doing well on the second leg of their "Love Among The Ruins" tour. They continually show that theyíve not only survived the departure of Natalie Merchant but have in fact grown, as a band, with the addition of Mary Ramsey and the re-joining of John Lombardo. They performed several tracks from "Love Among The Ruins" as well as their classics "Whatís The Matter Here," "Candy Everybody Wants," and their remake of "Because The Night." They had to leave right after their set to make it to a Philadelphia show later in the day.

Chantal Kreviazuk, Matthew Ryan, and Peter Stuart (of Dogís Eye View) followed with short but entertaining sets. All were enjoyable but none really seemed to set itself apart from the rest of the day. The order of performances could have been better managed to avoid the midday slump but for some reason it wasnít.

Marc Cohn was warmly greeted by the crowd as he made a comeback of sorts after a several year absence from the music business. He won a Grammy, as best new artist, several years ago and had a big hit with his song "Walking In Memphis." He began solo and later was joined by Shane Fontaine (ex-Lone Justice and a member of Bruce Springsteenís Ď92-í94 touring band) on guitar. Cohn was in a humorous mood and joked with the crowd about his absence, which he said did his children a lot of good. He also proved himself to be quite a songwriter as he spontaneously made up extra verses to his songs, once to ask for more volume in his monitor and later to tell a story about a German appearance where he corrected someone who had commented about how well he performed a "cover version" of his own "Walking In Memphis." The crowd sang along when that song was performed today, omitting the word "rain" from the chorus, which caused Cohn to burst into laughter. This was a fun set, because of Cohnís interaction with the crowd, and may have been the best of the day.

Paula Cole closed out the day with an excellent set of her own. She performed at the EarthFest three years ago and was now returning as the headliner after her huge success and big Grammy wins this year. She was greeted by throngs of screeching teenage girls, with cameras and Colesque outfits, who had worked their way to the front of the crowd during the intermission. Cole sounded good but oddly chose to perform her biggest hits early in her set. The large crowd remained throughout her set, which was unusual for this show because people usually start filing toward their cars during the last performance of the day. Credit Cole with keeping their attention to the last minute and pulling off the "returning as a star" routine.

Overall, the show drew a bigger crowd this year and the early rain certainly didnít seem to keep anyone from coming. This is always one of the best freebies of the year and this year was no different. Environmental displays filled the rear of the park and guest speakers filled in between bands as usual. The only comment Iíd like to offer concerns the environmental comments made from the stage by performers. Hereís a hint, if you donít have something real to say keep your mouth shut. Too many performers start yakking about the environment and end up looking like idiots because they donít really have anything intelligent to say. (i.e. "Letís save the Earth because we all live here") Just because itís an Earth Day show doesnít mean you should sprout off about the environment. If you didnít care yesterday donít pretend that you care today because youíll only make yourself look stupid.