Over 800,000 people gathered on the Esplanade on July 4th this year to watch the annual Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular. The show featured musical performances at the Hatch Shell by country singer and superstar Toby Keith, the Boston Pops Orchestra with conductor Keith Lockhart, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums. This is a “show that will surely dazzle the senses!” promised the announcer as the show went live on national television.
As in years past, Bostonians and visitors camped out in the sweltering heat for prime space on the Esplanade eight hours before the show actually started. To fend off boredom, children played volleyball with beachballs and garnered red, white and blue face paintings.
Keith was dressed in flared blue jeans, cowboy boots and hat, and brown shirt with glimmering gold inserts. Each time he entered the stage, his most avid fans cheered wildly. One fan shouted loudly, “I love you!” prompting the national television host Craig Ferguson to acknowledge the declaration.
The highlight of the show was the Boston Pops Orchestra’s performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture set to cannon salutes by the 101st Field Artillery Regiment. The three M102 Howitzer cannons have a range of 11,500m (7.1 miles) and a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute.
The spectacular show concluded with the famous fireworks display. This year, the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular focused on presenting new effects, adaptations, and meaningful music themes—including this year’s use of hot pink hearts. During the fireworks, recordings of “You’re a Grand Old Flag” sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and “Just Dance” sung by Lady Gaga were played for spectators.