One of the few positive things that can be said about RTZ–which includes former members of the ’70s supergroup Boston–is that the absence of Boston founder Tom Scholz–famous as much for the snail-like pace at which he works as for his success–should ensure a timely delivery of any possible follow-up album.
Although RTZ has several listener-friendly cuts on its debut Giant release, “Return to Zero,” none matches the staying power or classic status of such Boston perennials as “More Than a Feeling” or “Peace of Mind.”
Nor will RTZ’s album touch the 9 million sales mark (a record figure at the time), as Boston’s debut did when it was released in 1976.
Yet this Roxy showcase was an even-keel presentation of fine musicianship and been-here-before rock ‘n’ roll, with Boston guitarist Barry Goudreau and vocalist Brad Delp forming the group’s nucleus.
Both artists have changed little over the years. Goudreau still has the chops , and Delp sounds as good as ever. The duo’s revved-up demeanor and unforced presence were to be both appreciated and admired, considering some of their Spinal Tap-like career parallels.
Band’s decision to toss several Boston covers into the mix, rather than let the RTZ material stand on its own merits, only served to illustrate how the new tunes pale in comparison with the older ones. It was also the only time during the 75-minute set that the audience truly rallied around the band.
Opener Danny Tate, who has endured thanks to a number of big names who’ve had hits with his tunes, focused on his self-titled Charisma debut. The Arkansas-bred Tate–despite his feet-in-cement stage style and constant ceiling gazing–showed his mettle by whipping up equal measures of youthful fire and lyrical sophistication, a sort of John Mellencamp meets Bruce Springsteen, during his too-brief set.