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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Traffic jam: priceless

We interrupt our political rants for this question: why is a busy major Boston street (and even busier public transit line) being shutdown to accommodate a "free" concert by aging rockers selling a new album?

Yet that is exactly the reality faced by commuters in Boston as city officials shut down Commonwealth Avenue and the Green Line branch to place a plaque and allow a concert by Aerosmith, who launched their career in what was no doubt then (and maybe still is now)  a student roach trap.

A few disclaimers: I am about as old as the band and probably haunted many of the same dives. I have lived in or around that area for decades. Allston still has a somewhat raw charm.

The idea of a free concert like the Beatles legendary performance atop Apple Studios -- after a plaque dedication and a Grauman's Chinese Theater cement ceremony -- has a certain amount of marketing genius.

But not at the start of a work week on a busy "Evacuation Route" and a streetcar line whose service is questionable on a good day.

The city, which has known about and cooperated with organizers for months, has been mum about this until the weekend. Their best advice: be nice and suck it up:
"There’s always inconvenience when you do this, but it also creates an excitement for the city that is priceless,” [Boston Mayor Tom Menino spokeswoman Dot] Joyce said. “It’s a challenge, but obviously the city is very proud of the boys from Boston.” 
Joyce says the concert is organized by the band who will assume the costs and an introduction by New England Patriots President Jonathan Kraft suggests team involvement.

But taxpayers will foot the bill for police and fire details?

So why a workday Monday, one day before the election? Could it have anything to do with promoting the album being released the very next day?

Maybe the band can contribute some of its profits from the new work to defray the costs in terms of time and inconvenience to the thousands of current and potential fans whose Monday will be thoroughly disrupted by this publicity stunt for a bunch of aging rockers who really don't care all that much for each other any more?

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