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!

On This Day in History

Written By Braddon S. Williams

Blue Oyster Cult: Secret Treaties

Blue Öyster Cult released Secret Treaties in 1974 and pulled off a pretty cool recording trick by having each song seamlessly fade into the next one, creating an effect like a classical suite, but in their case it was a rock suite that was quite sweet!

Some of my favorite BOC songs are on this album, including Astronomy, Subhuman, Harvester Of Eyes, Dominance And Submission, and Career Of Evil.

Eric Bloom handles most of the lead vocals in his distinctive golden toned way and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser plays his face melting signature lead guitar style.

I saw them live in 1989 and actually got to play a show opening for them in my hometown in 2013.

Blue Öyster Cult are one of those bands that just kept putting out great albums and stacking up material that sounds fantastic in the live setting; a classic American hard rock band through and through.

https://youtu.be/Uf5ja-GEizY

Influences And Recollections of a Musical Mind

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

On This Day in History