Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Concert Review - BLUE ÖYSTER CULT

Blue Öyster Cult
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Minnesota State Fair Bandshell Tonight!, St. Paul, MN


Here's the first of a batch of overdue concert reviews...

This was the second of two nights for the legendary BOC at the Minnesota State Fair, and it was primarily an older crowd that turned out on this hot summer night. The band immediately dug back into their early black-and-white era (the first three albums, for those uninitiated in BOC lore) with a fired-up, fast version of boogie rocker “The Red And The Black” from 1973’s Tyranny And Mutation. A slightly different set from the previous night was promised as “Golden Age Of Leather” was introduced before launching into the 1981 mega-hit “Burnin’ For You”. The catalog was mined further with “O.D.’d On Life Itself” and “Harvest Moon” (from the more recent Heaven Forbid album). Further surprises were revealed when Eric Bloom took over for an extended version of “Black Blade”, and the band stretched the set even more with 12-minute versions of “Then Came The Last Days Of May” and heavy classic “Godzilla”. Bassist Kasim Sultan had his extensive non-BOC work noted during “Godzilla” when the band delved into snippets of “I Love Rock ‘N’ Roll” “Bang The Drum All Day” and “Paradise By The Dashboard Lights” before letting Jules Radino launch into his drum solo. By this time the crowd had been worked into a frenzy, so when the guitar strains of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” started the audience left the benches and rushed toward the stage, overwhelming the security that had been keeping everyone at bay all night. This brought huge smiles on the faces of everyone in the band, and it made for a grand closing to the set. An encore was expected at this point, and BOC were in no rush to leave, so a long version of “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll” put an exclamation point on to what seemed a relatively short (85 minute), but powerful show.

Despite brief filtrations with mainstream success, BOC built their fortunes on the strength of their live shows back over 40 years ago. That fan loyalty remains to this day, and the full turnout at the State Fair was a testament to the band’s working class ethics. Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma still remain as the core of Blue Öyster Cult, and the entire band was a natural fit for the group. I got the feeling that the band was limited to 90 minutes for their show and that they would have played longer if they could have, but it’s hard to complain when the show was free with the fair admission. The only downer of the night was having to listen to the strains of Sheryl Crow coming from the Grandstand on the way out. I also need to give thanks for the kind people in the front row who graciously offered to make room on their bench to make room for me so that I could take pictures - I'm grateful for this type of kindness!



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