|BLUE ÖYSTER CULT
A Long Day's Night
Roseland Ballroom, Portland, OR
Celebrating 30 years together, Blue Öyster Cult are touring behind their first live record in 20 years, "A Long Day's Night." Released on both CD and DVD format, it is a magnificent retrospective of a band still in their prime. One of the pioneering Heavy Metal acts, BÖC was put together on a college campus by a couple of rock critics involved with a controversial literary group who explored Science Fiction and Horror. Their peer group included legendary figures Eric Von Lustbader, Patti Smith, Michael Moorcock, and Stephen King, The year was 1967, the place was Stony Brook College, Long Island, New York, the rock critics were Sandy Pearlman and Richard Meltzer, the band was Soft White Underbelly.
Thirty years and a million line-ups later, the re-tagged Blue Öyster Cult retain three original members, singer, guitarist Donald "Buck" Dharma, and Eric Bloom and Keyboard man Allen Lanier. An unprecedented number of gold and platinum albums decorate their glorious career and it is with "A Long Day's Night" that they intend to prove their majesty once and for all. Resurrecting cult classics "Astronomy," "Quicklime Girl," and "Stairway to the Stars" the disc is a must for long time fans.
So it is with great confidence BÖC bring their show to the Roseland. Critics have praised "A Long Day's Night" for its originality in meetings the fans demand for vintage performances. And so they do tonight. With a band of seasoned professionals including Bobby Rondinelli (Black Sabbath, Rainbow) and bassist Danny Miranda the five-piece track the record, changing the song order to accommodate the crowd response. The delivery is clear and focused as they mix top 40-hits "Burning For You," "Cities On Flame," "Godzilla" and "Don't Fear The Reaper" with rare "Perfect Water," "Lips In The Hills" and "Harvest Moon."
Under the house lights the group look fit as they open with cult classic "Stairway To The Stars." Bloom's voice, though weathered, is strong and relevant while Dharma strikes in with darting guitar shards. Behind the elaborate drum stand, sits the hard working Rondinelli pounding out the song's backbeat. He locks in effortlessly with Miranda as they move into the chart topping "Burning For You" which makes its appearance early in the set. The near sold-out capacity writhe with fists in the air as Dharma leads the chorus, "I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you."
"Od'd On Life Itself" is another Rondinelli moment as the song rides on his thunderous beat. Dharma's voice is exceptional. His ability to bring power and emotion with fevered passion is a science unto itself. Rumor has it BÖC still play 200 dates a year. A feat indeed but with the tight structure of the group it'd obvious they've logged some serious road miles together. It all comes together during "Buck's Boogie." Besides his vocal dexterity, Dharma is a magnificent guitarist and it is here he flings a string of metallic blues unmatched in today's amphitheaters. Up front, acting as a bit of a sparing partner is long-time keyboardist, Allen Lanier. The two duel it out in a meaty exchange of friendly fire giving the audience one of many thrills for the night.
"Astronomy" with it vicious guitar solo and "Cities On Flame," both from the group's pre-FM repertoire whip the crowd into a frenzy with the surging waves of an electric tsunami. Sewn together like a world-serious baseball the five feed off each other, exchanging glances, rubbing shoulders and working the crowd like a world class stripper. Bassist Miranda stomps his feet and waves his hands, eliciting the crowd to do the same while Bloom and Dharma trade licks that burst with firework intensity. The set ends far to early and as the Long Island natives run off stage the Roseland erupts with a single roar beckoning them back.
Not one to keep the fans waiting the intro to Godzilla can be heard over the loud speakers. Dharma leads in with an extended boogie, then launches into the power-riff of the now immortal classic. Bloom voice carries the message of the Tokyo legend as the crowd leaps up and belts out the chorus. In quick fashion "Don't Fear The Reaper" seals the deal. Though the set reads like a BÖC jukebox, its the shear presence of a unit perfected by timeless dedication that keeps folks coming back for more. At this rate, they will easily be playing for another 30 years.
Web site: www.blueoystercult.com