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Classic rock, R&B on tap this weekend

Founding member Tom Scholz, left, and Gary Pihl of the band Boston perform during this year’s nationwide tour.
Founding member Tom Scholz, left, and Gary Pihl of the band Boston perform during this year’s nationwide tour. Boston

Two musical anniversaries are being celebrated this weekend in Northern California. The rock band Boston marks its 40th year in the business at Thunder Valley on Sunday, and the legendary Fifth Dimension enjoys its 50th at Cache Creek on Saturday.

Few bands have been able to sustain a career with only intermittent recording, but Boston has retained popularity with gaps as long as eight years between efforts. That’s largely because it was able to start big – huge, in fact. Boston’s self-titled debut in 1976 sold 17 million copies and the follow-up “Don’t Look Back” in 1978 sold 7 million.

Boston has become a staple of classic rock radio. Its current lineup includes founding member Tom Scholz on guitar, joined by Gary Pihl, Tommy DeCarlo, Jeff Neal, Tracy Ferrie, Beth Cohen and Curly Smith.

Boston’s latest album was 2013’s “Life, Love & Hope.” (7 p.m.; $43.75-$189.75; thundervalleyresort.com)

In 1967, the Fifth Dimension released “Up, Up, and Away,” which was destined to be one of the biggest debut recordings in musical history. That started a string of hits, including “One Less Bell To Answer,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “Stone Soul Picnic,” “and “Aquarius” teamed with “Let the Sun Shine In.” The group became so big that even Frank Sinatra came knocking in an attempt to revitalize his then-sagging career. (He truly did look ridiculous dressed like them.)

Although they are clearly a nostalgia act now, they have managed to continue through appearances in casino showrooms, with symphony orchestras, at Disney theme parks, and in PBS specials. Through it all, the main, clear, and elegant voice of Florence LaRue has made them what they are. She is the only original member still performing, joined this time around by Willie Williams, Leonard Tucker, Patrice Morris, and Floyd Smith. (8 p.m.; $35-$55; cachecreek.com)

Elsewhere

R&B heavyweight Charlie Wilson brings his hits such as “You Are” to Thunder Valley Saturday, joined by After 7 and Solero. (7 p.m.; $44.75-$189.75)

Thunder Valley brings a potent duo to its outdoor amphitheater with Rick Springfield joined by 38 Special. (6:30 p.m. Friday; $34.75-$169.75)

Boz Scaggs play music from his newest release “A Fool to Care” at MontBleu Saturday. (8 p.m.; $55.50-$65.50; montbleuresort.com)

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