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Guster Rocks With Pops

Guster Rocks With PopsThe popular rock band formed by three Tufts graduates performed two shows with the historic Boston Pops orchestra.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [06.24.05] Back when they were playing at the Hotung Café in the Campus Center or busking down the Red Line in Harvard Square, it probably never occurred to 1995 Tufts graduates Adam Gardner, Ryan Miller and Brian Rosenworcel that they would one day take the stage at Symphony Hall with the legendary Boston Pops Orchestra. But their rock band Guster did just that – not once, but twice.

''This is the sort of thing I'm most jealous of other bands for," lead singer Miller told The Boston Globe about their June performances with Keith Lockhart and the world-renowned orchestra. ''When John Mayer gets to play with Herbie Hancock or Maroon 5 gets to play songs with Paul Simon. Opportunities like that and this don't really come around for bands at our level."

The concerts are part of an initiative by conductor Lockhart called "Pops on the Edge," seeking to broaden the appeal of classical music to a younger generation.

But the show also had older, longtime orchestra patrons soaking up Guster's performance. "What rhythm!" noted 84-year-old Boston Symphony Orchestra season ticket holder Dodie Higgins McGrath to the Globe.

At the sold-out Guster shows, songs old and new by the band were orchestrated.

"'Come Downstairs to Say Hello' and 'Two Points for Honesty' were grand collaborations – the force of a full string section, bursts of warm brass, and dark, gathering swells of violas infused Guster's earnest, quirky pop tunes with a cinematic flair," wrote the Globe.

The Pops opened with an orchestral set that Guster helped select. Some of the pieces included Stravinsky's ''The Rite of Spring" and Debussy's ''Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun."

Miller was admittedly nervous about how performing with the Pops would workout. ''The four of us [counting collaborator Joe Pisapia] sometimes have a hard time playing together," he confessed to the Globe.

''I was kind of like, shouldn't this be Aerosmith or some bigger band?" Miller said to the Globe. "We're still an underground, cultish, grass-roots band. We're not really a band somebody is going to throw a bunch of money at."

But Guster has met with great success. The band, signed to Warner Brothers' Reprise Records, recently finished recording its fifth full-length studio album. Last summer, they toured with pop pianists Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright. The previous summer, upon releasing their last album "Keep It Together," Guster gave a free concert for 40,000 fans on Boston's City Hall Plaza.

For three guys who once shared a Somerville apartment and headlined at the Hotung, that qualifies as a bit more than "underground."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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