On this date in history, 7/18/1989, I saw Blue Öyster Cult at The Vogue in Broad Ripple for the first time. They were so excellent to witness in the confines of an intimate club setting.
At one time BÖC had been an arena attraction with trend setting laser light shows and songs that were designed to thrill those larger spaces. Translating that size and scope to a room of The Vogue’s nature simply made the impact of their music more hard hitting and direct. For one thing, evidence of the rich history of legendary performers that have graced that stage are lining the walls of the Vogue.
It is impressive for a casual observer, but for a band it is a catalyst and an ignition switch to fuel a classic night of music making. Blue Öyster Cult impressed me that night because they didn’t have anything to win or lose and they played a killer show anyway; it’s what a great band does.
Their most recent album, Imaginos, had been released the previous year and was basically dead in the water due to zero support from their record company. I remember it as a good album, one of the first actual cd’s I ever purchased, but it was a complicated production that didn’t actually function as a true collaborative effort from the band.
Consequently, on the night I finally got to see this band, they were lacking their original rhythm section. This was both bad and good, the good in respect to their young and hungry drummer and bass player, who spurred the veterans to inspired performances of a veritable “best of” set.
I remember the obvious crowd favorites like “Don’t Fear The Reaper” and “Godzilla”, but also got to hear “Veterans Of The Psychic Wars” and “Astronomy”. Eric Bloom sounded amazing live, with that commanding voice bringing all those great lyrics to vivid life.
Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser burned up the frets on various guitars, and Allan Lanier lurked in the background, contributing keyboards and guitars for just the crucial components to the mix.
After the show we got to meet Buck Dharma and the drummer, Ron Riddle (reminding me of a young Tommy Lee, still fresh and excited to be part of it all). Many years later, my band Misfit Toys would get to play a show as direct support for the might BÖC, making one of my teenage daydreams come true in brilliant fashion. Keep dreaming, I can assure you it is fantastic when they occasionally happen to be obtainable.
Written By Braddon S. Williams AKA The Concert Critic