“Live from the Esplanade” – or not

I don’t have a set routine for the Fourth of July but the day inevitably involves a fun family cookout and ends in front of the TV watching the Boston Pops from the Esplanade. The “national” show that we’ve seen in the final hour of the production the past few years doesn’t do too much for me. It always seems too generic and too forced. I prefer the locally televised Pops portion. The highlight, of course, is when the 105mm howitzers of the Massachusetts National Guard start blasting away during the 1812 Overture. If the show ended there I’d be happy.

Last night the show almost ended there; in fact, it kind of ended right before the 1812 Overture when the state police shut the show down and evacuated the Esplinade because of an advancing thunderstorm. (And according to someone at the courthouse today who witnessed the entire thing from a roof-top deck on Beacon Hill, it absolutely was the right decision; the storm was intense and dangerous). Anyway, after the announcers explained the evacuation and cut away to commercial, the show returned with a recording from Tuesday night’s dress rehearsal. For a brief moment, a “previously recorded” overlay appeared on the screen but that soon disappeared. The recording was fine and the cannons fired on cue so I was content. I also felt badly for the performers, especially the singers in the Navy choral group. Imagine getting the once in a lifetime opportunity to be on stage with the Boston Pops on the 4th of July and having the thing suddenly be cancelled by bad weather …. tough luck.

Well the “national” show began also with a recording from the previous night’s rehearsal. Of course, Lowell-born host Michael Chiklis was rehearsing the real show, so he kept saying “Live from Boston”. Everyone I talked to today interpreted that to mean that 100,000 people had scurried out of the Storrow Drive tunnel and re-occupied the Esplinade during a 2 minute commercial break. Certainly that was not the case. The folks in the control truck did do a slick job switching to a live shot when the fireworks began, but they never showed any crowd shots throughout the entire barrage or at least until the very end when the showed a few drenched spectators huddled together.

The show was great so I’m not complaining. I’m more amused at the production team’s hesitancy to inform viewers that they were watching a recording from the previous night.

One Response to “Live from the Esplanade” – or not

  1. Christopher says:

    The 1812 is always the highlight of that program. I think they should rearrange some things so it can be done during the national hour.