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ConcertsBlue Oyster Cult Celebrates Their 40th Anniversary in NYC 11/5/2012

Posted on Tuesday, November 06 2012 @ 19:46:23 CST by Pete Pardo
Heavy Metal

Yes, the legendary band known as Blue Oyster Cult are currently celebrating their 40th Anniversary, and what better place to throw a big party than their hometown of New York City (they are originally from Long Island) at the Best Buy Theater in Times Square. This show was originally scheduled for Sunday, October 28th, but due to Hurricane Sandy ripping its way up the East Coast, the concert was postponed till November 5th, in hopes that fans in the New York area would have seen their lives getting back on track after the onslaught that the storm brought in. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo was on hand for the celebration, and it marked the first time he has seen the mighty BOC since 1983...a long time indeed.

According to reports, the original date of this concert had originally been close to a sell out, but due to the rescheduling it appeared that many people could not make the new date, as the venue was perhaps only about 60% full, but for those who made it, they were treated to a pretty special evening. Original start time was supposed to be 7:30 with no opening act, but apparently a pre-show meet & greet went over the time allotment, so the band did not go on stage till a little after 8PM. Founding members Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser & Eric Bloom were joined by drummer Jules Radino, guitarist/keyboard player Richie Castellano, and veteran bassist Kasim Sulton for the current incarnation of BOC.

Kicking off the first set was "This Ain't the Summer of Love" from their 1976 mega-hit album Agents of Fortune, which was followed by an upbeat version of "Golden Age of Leather" from the underrated Spectres album. Right from the outset you could tell that both Bloom and Roeser (I'll refer to him as 'Buck' from here on in) were in fine form vocally, though the mix was quite off, with Sultan's bass way too loud and Buck's guitar almost inaudible. Bloom's rhythm guitar was there, but the speedy solos and crunchy riffs of Buck were barely heard. The early '80s hit "Burnin' For You" featured a great vocal from Buck and a tasty solo (by this time the sound was improving a little), and a nice little surprise was "Harvest Moon" off 1998's Heaven Forbid, though it did bring the intensity down somewhat. One of my personal favorites, "ME 262" from the classic Secret Treaties album, really got the crowd back into it with its heavy riffs and clever lyrics, sung by the always reliable Bloom, and at this point Buck's guitar was upfront and center. Then band went back to the debut for "Then Came The Last Days of May" and then launched into the first of two tracks this evening from Cultosaurus Erectus, the excellent "Lips In the Hills". Another great surprise came in the form of "Shooting Shark", a long forgotten gem from The Revolution By Night featuring a poignant vocal from Buck and some soaring guest sax solos from Bruce Kapler, and the band closed the opening set with their heavy metal anthem "Godzilla", complete with a bass solo from Kasim Sultan, and "I Love the Night".

After a short 20 minute break, the band came back onstage and played a few acoustic numbers. Most notable where the classics "Astronomy" and "Harvester of Eyes" (though I would have rather heard them electric) and a fun "Death Valley Nights" with guest vocals from original member Albert Bouchard. "In Thee" saw another original member, Allen Lanier come out to play some acoustic guitar with the band, but at this point the crowd was ready for some hard rock thunder, as the acoustic set was starting to drag on a bit too long. The band plugged back in, and launched into "Arthur's Comics" (an early version of "Buck's Boogie") and a killer "Black Blade" (including all those cool synth sounds courtesy of Castellano, who also provided a lot of great guitar work this evening), which really got the crowd ready for some additional classics.

That brought out Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard, who joined Bloom and Buck to reunite the original line-up of Blue Oyster Cult. "OD'd on Life Itself" rocked hard, "Career of Evil" had the right amount of playful funkiness to go along with the hard rock muscle, and "The Red & The Black" showed that the original line-up could still deliver the goods just like they did back in the day. Of course the finale had to be "(Don't Fear) The Reaper", and the entire BOC line-up old and new together cranked out this rock staple to an ecstatic crowd and sent everyone home happy.

Sure, there were omissions like "Veterans of Pyschic Wars", "Joan Crawford", "Cities on Flame with Rock & Roll", "Screaming Diz-Busters", "Hot Rails to Hell", "Dominance & Submission", "Flaming Telepaths", and maybe "ETI", but you can't have it all I guess, and the band did deliver a varied set that had more than a few surprises. Vocally the band were spot on, and Buck still plays some of the best lead guitar around. The whole band musically did a great job, and it was awesome to see all the original members on stage together again, not missing a beat at all. I would have limited the acoustic part of the evening to 3 songs, but overall this was a great show that brought back many musical memories for a lot of people, and showed that Blue Oyster Cult is still a band to be reckoned with 40 years later.

Pete Pardo
Photos by Ken Pierce

Set 1
1. This Ain't the Summer of Love
2. Golden Age of Leather
3. Burnin' for You
4. Harvest Moon
5. ME 262
6. Then Came the Last Days of May
7. Lips in the Hills
8. Shooting Shark (with Bruce Kapler - saxophone)
9. Godzilla
Kasim Sultan bass solo, and snippets of "I Love Rock 'n' Roll", "Bang On The Drum All Day" and "Paradise By The Dashboard Light"
10. I Love the Night

Set 2
11. Harvester of Eyes (acoustic)
12. Astronomy (acoustic)
13. Gil Blanco County (acoustic)
14. Death Valley Nights (with Albert Bouchard vocals, acoustic)
15. In Thee (with Allen Lanier guitar, acoustic)
16. Summa Cum Laude
17. Arthur Comics
18. Black Blade
19. OD'd on Life Itself (with Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard)
20. Career of Evil (with Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard)
21. The Red & The Black (with Allen Lanier, Albert Bouchard, Joe Bouchard)
22. (Don't Fear) The Reaper (with everyone)

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