BOSTON (CBS) –- The banks of the Charles River was packed for Boston’s Fourth of July celebration Thursday evening.

Queen Latifah headlined the free concert, which featured an F-15 flyover and performances from singer Arlo Guthrie and Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman before the fireworks.

“This is our time to be all one,” said Queen Latifah. “We are all one – one nation.”

For those who wanted to get a spot close to the stage, gates opened at 9 a.m. for the show that kicks off at 8 p.m.

“It’s so great to finally get the front row, baby!” one man celebrated.

Many are also said they felt good about being in Boston on the Fourth of July.

“When you’re singing the ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ or the patriotic songs with so many people, your heart just swells,” said attendee Harriet Sesen. “You feel so good about yourself and your fellow Americans.”

“In 26 years I’ve had nothing great times with people in Boston,” said DC Jones, who came up from Virginia. “For me, I drive by Philly, D.C., New York – this is Fourth of July.”

Half a million people will line the banks of the Charles River for Boston’s Fourth of July celebration. (WBZ-TV)

New elements were woven into the dazzling fireworks display.

“There are some rotating peonies which you will be able to see, in the sky what they do is they’ll actually be a color change and it’ll rotate,” said chief pyrotechnician Dan Havens.

Find Weekend Fireworks Displays Near You

And Boston Pops  Conductor Keith Lockhart — who was conducting the Pops in this event for his 25th year — said the fireworks are his favorite part of the show because they’re time when he can sit back and relax, although he felt confident hours before the big show.

“No there are no jitters at this point,” Lockhart said

Crowds begin to fill the Esplanade on the Fourth of July. (WBZ-TV)

There was a practice run Wednesday night for the big show on the Esplanade – thousands showed up to see the Boston Pops rehearsal in the Hatch Shell.

Comments (3)
  1. Rj Magee says:

    This was the worst Pops July 4th concert on record. The Navy singers were excellent but the rest were the pits.

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