Earth, wind, rain, and fire were on the menu for this July 4th. I gathered my blanket and camera, donned my backpack, and was ready to sit on the esplanade through the weather to see the fireworks spectacular that so many people descend upon Boston to get a glimpse of. As someone who spent their life watching fireworks on TV, I was more than excited to see the Boston Pops Fireworks spectacular on July 4th.
The day before the fireworks, July 3rd, was the dress rehearsal concert. They ran through the entire program that would be performed on July 4th, including the cannon shots, but not including the fireworks. I was fortunate enough to get a seat close to the stage. The Boston Pops played along with every performer that came to the stage, including the Dropkick Murphys, Kaye Tuckerman from Mamma Mia!, the US Navy Band Sea Chanters, and Jennifer Hudson. The way the orchestra blended with the sounds of each performer was incredible - there isn’t an adequate word that can describe how well the timbres of each individual section in the orchestra melded with each soloist. I could feel the music, and it’s not because of the terrific speakers that pushed the sound out of the hatch shell and broadcast the concert all around the river. Hearing the orchestra perform the 1812 overture and feeling the rock of the cannons firing off in time with the high points of the piece is a memory that will remain with my days in Boston after I graduate.
The dress rehearsal, while incredible, was promised to be made even more awesome by the fireworks set to happen the next day. Some of my friends had staked out a nice spot on the esplanade right in front of the fireworks barge. Despite rain in the forecast, until around 9pm, everything was going smoothly. Then, amidst storm clouds spewing thunder and lightning, a voice came in over the speakers and told all the people outside to seek temporary shelter as the storm would pass through. A few minutes later, several service members, donned in traditional army camouflage, came by attempting to evacuate everyone from the esplanade. Being as ill-suited for rain as we were, most of our party decided to head back to the Cambridge side, resolved to watch the show from Walker Memorial where we would have quick access to shelter should the rain start up and render conditions inhospitable. We got about halfway across the Harvard bridge when we realized the music had come back on, the concert was continuing!
Not wanting to go further away or put ourselves in a position to get engulfed by the inevitable crowd of people that would be exiting the river after the show, we decided to stay right there and watch from the bridge. Just as the rain started to fall from the sky, the first firework went up. Through the downpour, mist, and wind, the fireworks lit up the sky and overpowered the sound of thunder. Fortunately, one of my friends had brought an umbrella, so I didn’t get too soaked, but even if I did, it was worth it.
The show on the 4th, despite being delayed by the weather, was an experience I will never forget. I can understand why people travel from all around to see the show, seeing it in person and feeling the energy of the fireworks and the crowds of people around you is something you simply can’t get from just watching the show on TV.