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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Blue Öyster Cult

Live in Costa Mesa, California, August, 2007

Review by Rick Damigella

Celebrating 35 years as the original “thinking man’s metal band” Blue Oyster Cult has been touring the majority of 2007 with various members of their 1970’s classic rock peers. On this night, BOC was the middle act of a line up featuring Edgar Winter and headliners Deep Purple. As such, it was a fairly short set, consisting of some of the bands best known numbers and a relative surprise with one of their later songs. Here is the set list: 1. This Ain’t the Summer of Love
2. OD’d On Life Itself
3. Burning for You
4. Cities on Flame
5. Shooting Shark
6. Godzilla
7. Don’t Fear the Reaper

If you haven’t seen BOC on their 35th anniversary tour, the band’s current line up consists of founders Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser along with Richie Castellano on keys and guitar, Jules Radino on drums and for the balance of the ’07 tour, Rudy Sarzo on bass. This was a bit of a surprise to see but seeing as Dio is on a break while the band’s namesake singer tours with Heaven and Hell, it appears Sarzo is enjoying his stint playing in another legendary band.

The surprise song which I didn’t expect to hear the band play during such a short set was “Shooting Shark” from 1983’s The Revolution By Night. This was the band’s second MTV “hit” and a number which I have always enjoyed. The band really hit its stride at this point in the performance as well, leaving me to wonder what a full set list from them would be like.

Rudy Sarzo’s bass playing on this cut took the bass-driven song in a new sounding direction compared to the album version, infusing it with an edgier energy and making it less like the anti-ballad of the original. It did take me a bit to get accustomed to Sarzo’s stage presence, which was highly animated, strutting around the stage, but in the end his playing really helped fuel the performance. Eric Bloom did a fun intro for Sarzo before the band launched into “Godzilla” by introducing him to the crowd and the band by playing about thirty seconds of the opening riff of Ozzy’s “Crazy Train.” This was followed by a short solo from Sarzo and a drum solo from Radino.

Buck Dharma’s soloing during the show was amazing, showing he has lost none of his ability or status as one of the most underrated players of his era. Since this was an outdoor show, during “Shooting Shark,” Dharma pointed skyward as he sang the line “lighting up the sky,” which was really cool since the annual Perseid Meteor shower was only hours away from hitting its peak over the So Cal skies. I haven’t seen BOC play in nearly 20 years since the Imaginos tour, but I can say even after 35 years of touring, the band still delivers a satisfying set to both their hardcore and casual fans.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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