Written By Braddon S. Williams aka “The Concert Critic”
On this date in history, 12/3/2021, Blue Öyster Cult played a great show at Piere’s in Ft. Wayne, IN. I must qualify the word “great”…because BOC is a Hall Of Fame level band that has rocked the world since 1967. So when I say great, there is a certain assumption from some people that a band that has been around that long must be either phoning it in or just coasting at this stage of their career.
On this early winter night, the venerable hard rockers played an extended set loaded with fan favorites and a (pleasantly) surprising number of newer songs…and they did it with no warmup band. Blue Oyster Cult endured quite a few lineup changes throughout their illustrious career, but Eric Bloom (lead vocals, guitar, keyboards) and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (lead vocals, lead guitar) have been along for almost the entire ride. Both of these elder statesmen seem to have plenty of music left in them, and they were ably supported by the phenomenal Richie Castellano (lead and rhythm guitars, vocals, and keyboards), Danny Miranda (bass and backing vocals), and Jules Radino (drums). Opening the show with Transmaniacon MC and immediately following up with Before The Kiss, A Redcap, the band sounded fresh and enthusiastic. The mix is always good at Piere’s, and once you get used to the support beam that splits the visuals from the front, it’s simply time to rock, and the crowd was not disappointed for a moment. Buck Dharma quickly established his guitar hero credentials, and he and Bloom both provided their instantly recognizable vocal styles. One of the early songs was near and dear to my heart, the amazing deep cut “Golden Age Of Leather” from the Spectres album. Beginning with a rousing singalong of the opening acapella section, “Raise your can of beer on high, and seal your fate forever…Our best years have passed us by…the golden age of leather”, the song seemed to take the evening to the next level. From there, Burnin’ For You caught the entire audience in a singing mood. New songs were met with the same enthusiasm, proving that this crowd was not just sticking around for the hits. By the time they rolled through a blistering reading of Then Came The Last Days Of May, featuring extended guitar solos from both Castellano and Roeser, there was absolutely no doubt that these guys still love their jobs. The next couple of songs, ME 262 and the fan favorite Godzilla) both brought the gig to the ultimate peak, and shortly after that they played the ultimate cowbell anthem, (Don’t Fear) The Reaper. All of these classic songs resonated with the primarily older crowd, but there was one that actually got away this time. As the show grew nearer to the end, I was hearing at first one, then a few, then many voices yelling for “Astronomy.” It got so noisy that I grew certain it would be in the encore. Although they didn’t play Astronomy, they did give us four more songs; The Alchemist (which was superb! Eric Bloom wearing a spooky Druid robe and singing his ass off, and a ripping duel lead guitar solo, too), Perfect Water, Tainted Blood, and finally, Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll. I have been a fan of Blue Oyster Cult for nearly 50 years and I’m thrilled to say they still deliver the greatness. Thank you guys for all you have given us! One more thing…please put Astronomy back in the set next time around!