These days, the outdoor amphitheater on Boston’s waterfront is called Leader Bank Pavilion. But I’ll always call it Harborlights.
The Leader Bank Pavilion name change came about in 2021, when the aforementioned bank bought the current naming rights. And yes, I use the name when referring to the venue on the air. Which is important, because when we’re giving tickets away to shows there, you gotta know where you’re going. And these days, if it’s an outdoor show on Boston Harbor, it’s Leader Bank Pavilion.
But if you’re Boston-area native and a live music fan of a certain age like I am, it’s Harborlights. Because the venue was called Harbor Lights Pavilion when it opened way back in 1994. And, like true Bostonians, we immediately gave it a nickname, shortening it to Harborlights. The irony? It wasn’t even two years before the name changed to Bank of Boston Pavilion. Doesn’t matter. We had our name and it stuck.
I’ve seen so many amazing shows there over the years I could put together an entirely different piece just focusing on those. I’ll just single out a pair here. Radiohead, touring on OK Computer, with Teenage Fanclub supporting, summer of ’97. I wrote about that one here. And then there was Foo Fighters in the summer of ’03. Crusher of a gig. Read about that one over here.
Flashback: Harborlights Through the Years
I thought it might be fun to go through a history of the name changes at Harborlights over the years, so I did. Believe it or not, the venue has changed its name eight times in its almost-30-year history. So let’s step back to 1994, then take a trip through Boston Harbor through the years. We’ll end up back in present-day at Leader Bank Pavilion, of course. But you and I both know: it’s really Harborlights.