A career of evil spanning more than thirty years, and the cities are still aflame: seminal east coast hard rockers Blue Oyster Cult—once referred to as the "American" Black Sabbath—have issued a new commemorative live document with their legions of loyalists in mind. A Long Day's Night is the band's first honest live album (not counting a certain 2CD issued several years back) since 1983's magnum opus Extraterrestrial Live. Three-fifths of the original quintet still hold the reins: lead guitarist/vocalist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom, and keyboardist/guitarist Allen Lanier. Along with supplying his unique brand of marvelous axework, Buck is the voice behind many fine BOC tunes, including two of their grandest hits, "Don't Fear The Reaper" and "Burnin' For You." Eric Bloom's sinister pipes grace "Cities On Flame" and "Godzilla," and he collaborated with famed British author and Elric creator Michael Moorcock on "The Great Sun Jester," "Black Blade," and "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars." The "mysterious thin man" of the Cult is the reclusive Allen Lanier, instigator of pianistic and synthetic brushstrokes analog & digital on tunes like "Joan Crawford," "...Psychic Wars," and "Astronomy," and even lead guitar on "The Red and the Black." Allen also penned "Tenderloin," "In Thee" and others.
Blue Oyster Cult's rhythm section equals, if not exceeds, the original rhythmic tandem of brothers Albert and Joe Bouchard (drums and bass, respectively). Danny Miranda now holds down the low end, and with gong in tow, ex-Rainbow/Black Sabbath drummer Bobby Rondinelli brings his seasoned fists, wrists, and feet to the fold. Recorded on the summer solstice in 2001 in Chicago, the thirteen tracks of A Long Day's Night represent a timely persistence which proves the boys from New York aren't about to let up, anytime soon—the band's modern slogan is On Tour Forever. Set staples "Godzilla," "Burnin' For You," "Cities On Flame (With Rock And Roll)" and "Don't Fear The Reaper" (with a new, short guitar prelude) are present, accounted for, and delivered with blistering accuracy. Eric Bloom's voice isn't quite as gruff as it once was (his trademark), but no overall power is lost.
"Stairway To The Stars" has been a common set opener for some time, now, and doesn't sound dated one bit as it kicks the show into gear with its decidedly rockabilly character. Choppers blaze by as one is "OD'd On Life Itself," always a splendid upbeat track, a prospective anthem for life on the road. BOC's 2001 studio album Curse Of The Hidden Mirror (a relatively retrochronological return to form) is represented solely by "Dance On Stilts," a fine number that is destined to be a classic with its infernally catchy chorus, organ strut and ballsy guitar lead. Pleasant surprises come in the form of "Buck's Boogie," "Harvest Moon," and "Lips In The Hills." The moment everyone waits for comes on the ten-minute opus, "Astronomy": Buck's epic-length solo is [cliché alert] worth the price of the entire disc, simply a beautiful piece of work. This is not to downplay the song's thought-provoking lyrics and Bloom's superb vocal treatment. As per the best-for-last policy bands uphold, "Don't Fear The Reaper" consolidates every aspect of things BOC and fine-tunes them to fruition; "Reaper"'s melody is one which will never die—considering Buck wrote the song at a time he felt his earthly days were terminally limited, that in itself is anomalous.
A Long Day's Night is also the subject of a DVD release which runs a gracious two hours' length, and contains quite a few more selections performed that night (the CD should have been a double disc, but opinions vary), plus many behind-the-scenes extras. One difference between the CD and DVD release is that "Astronomy" (one of the very best songs) is exclusive to the former, making it necessary to own both releases (again, opinions will vary). Onward to the next studio album…Dharma, Bloom, and Lanier may be aging physically, but great rock 'n' roll is ever youthful. The sign of Kronos is aglow on A Long Day's Night.