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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Blue Öyster Cult

Live in Anaheim, CA, March, 2007

Review by Michael Bader

Gone are Eric Blooms’ tight fitting leathers, curly hair and neatly groomed beard/goatee. Gone are Buck Darhmas’ white suit, black mustache and long black hair. Gone is the laser light show and stage effects. The familiar Kronos logo could only be found in the lobby on merchandise.

Gone are Eric Blooms’ tight fitting leathers, curly hair and neatly groomed beard/goatee. Gone are Buck Darhmas’ white suit, black mustache and long black hair. Gone is the laser light show and stage effects. The familiar Kronos logo could only be found in the lobby on merchandise.

Still with us are the loyal BOC fans, many of whom are now in the later phases of male pattern baldness. Most dug deep into those bottom drawers and corners of the closet they rarely visit to find their fading and peeling black Cult shirts, just for this one special evening.

One thing that wasn’t MIA was Donald Roeser’s (aka Buck Darhma) virtuoso picking and driving guitar lines that remain integral to the sound of Blue Oyster Cult. Dharma and Bloom’s voices are not full and rich as they once were. Still, in all fairness, my vantage point was not the best, acoustically speaking, to hear the vocals as clear as I would like. These factors taken into account, there still was not one moment where there was any doubt of BOC’s veteran membership’s ability to rock and rock hard.

Dharma is clearly the musician who is filling seats (although the Grove of Anaheim was far from full) for this long time touring live band, he must rely upon the rhythm section to set the table. Jules Radino on drums, Richie Castellano on bass and long time BOC guitar and keys player, Allen Lanier, did just that.

The material this evening focused on more of the classic BOC material. “This Ain’t the Summer of Love” and “Don’t Fear the Reaper” were the only two from Agents of Fortune, the bands’ first platinum selling album. Opening with “Stairway to the Stars” and they finished with “Then Came the Last Days of May,” “Cities on Flame with Rock n’ Roll” and the rarely heard “She’s as Beautiful as a Foot.”

Revolution By Night’s “Shooting Shark” brought the crowd to its feet early when inspired by Buck Darhma’s seemingly effortless guitar solo. How can this guy not sweat? His solos last 3-5 minutes and he just knocks out killer guitar riffs without breaking one. Reverbing his guitar gave an echo effect similar to seeing the show in a large arena.

“OD’d on Life Itself,” and “The Red & the Black” from the Tyranny and Mvtation album and the Dharma hit “Burning for You” all made it into this evenings set-list. It was amazing how many people found their way to the edge of the stage during the fan favorite “Godzilla” to have their friend or date snap a digital picture of them with Buck soloing at the end of the stage during the song. I would have gladly traded “Godzilla” for a rendition of “Astronomy”. Unfortunately, the BOC website rejected my attempts at song requests.

If you have ever enjoyed the driving force of Blue Oyster Cult music, you will not be disappointed making the effort to see one of their live performances, even at this stage of their careers. Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom remain two of the most talented hard and heavy rock musicians in the industry.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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