40 years after playing a memorable show in Pawtucket, the iconic Beach Boys return to the area to play a concert in E.P. on Aug. 9.
EAST PROVIDENCE — Forty years ago, Joseph A. Botelho, Jr. was 19 when Carl Wilson, Mike Love, Brian Wilson, Dennis Wilson and Al Jardine of the Beach Boys played before a crowd of more than 40,000 fans at the Narragansett Raceway in Pawtucket – the largest concert attendance ever in the state of Rhode Island. Botelho remembers that Friday night concert on Sept. 2, 1977, like it was yesterday.
“I was at that concert 40 years ago and there were literally that many people there,” says Botelho, a local realtor and member of the East Providence City Council.
More than 100 police officers from Pawtucket, East Providence and other communities watched over the massive crowd gathered on the infield grass at the track. Before the concert, which was hosted by Pawtucket and East Providence, traffic to the race track was backed from the intersection along Newport Avenue and Cottage Street onto the Newport Avenue exit of Route 95.
“My car was parked right at the triangle where the two signs were advertising the horse racing and I didn’t get out of there until 2 in the morning,” says Botelho.
According to newspaper accounts at the time, the Beach Boys arrived 40 minutes late, which caused the nighttime con- cert to run past 11 o’clock.
“I have to say it was a blast,” the 58year-old Botelho says today. “It felt like Woodstock. It’s a fond memory I will always have.”
Forty years later, East Providence will be the host city once again as the Beach Boys, who are celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, kick off the firstever concert at the brand new outdoor music venue at Bold Point Park Pavilion on Wednesday, Aug. 9. Bold Point Park is an open-air seasonal event center with a capacity for 3,500 people. Located off Veterans Memorial Parkway on Waterfront Drive next to Tockwotton on the Waterfront, the venue is located directly across the river from India Point Park in Providence, with views of upper Narragansett Bay and the Providence and Seekonk Rivers.
Waterfront Productions and partner Live Nation secured final approvals in February for a three-year lease of land at Bold Point Park. The East Providence City Council initially approved the venue for the property in November 2016.
To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the 1977 concert and its recordbreaking total of more than 40,000 fans, the City Council, led by Mayor James Briden, will be at the concert on Aug. 9 to present the Beach Boys with a proclamation and keys to the city.
The city is also designating Aug. 9 as “Beach Boys Day.”
Forming in Hawthorne, California, in 1961, the Beach Boys and their distinctive harmonies became synonymous with the “California Sound” which celebrated a youth culture of surfing, cars and romance.
The Beach Boys are scheduled to play a concert at Bold Point Park on Aug. 9.