BLUE ÖYSTER CULT is about as big an icon in rock and roll as one can get. Formed all the way back in 1967 in New York, the band has sold 25 million records across the globe. Pretty much anyone who loves heavy rock knows who they are. I first got a taste of them in the late 70’s (yes, I’m old as dirt). If I recall correctly, the first time I saw them, they were touring with another iconic band, TRIUMPH, circa 1980. BÖC was actually the very first band I ever met and it was totally by accident. I attended my first of their gigs in El Paso, Texas. What a great show that was and I was on cloud nine the next day.
That next morning, I decided to go to the bank to get some cash. On the way to said bank, I crossed the lobby of a hotel and holy crap, standing next to the elevators in the lobby, was THE band I had just seen the night before. I walked up to them and mentioned that I had attended the gig the night before and how much I enjoyed it. I think I shook Eric Bloom’s or Buck Dharma’s hand and quickly became a blubbering mess. Why the hell didn’t I get autographs? Well, I was completely star struck. Holy hell. I wasn’t expecting THAT! They have since had a fond place in my heart.
I’ve probably seen BÖC four or five times in concert. They are always exceptionally tight. Last year they co-headlined with UFO and played at the Gas Monkey Live in Dallas. Once called SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY, only Bloom and Dharma remain as original members. Current members are Eric Bloom (vocals, keyboard, guitar), Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (lead guitar, vocals), Danny Miranda (bass backing vocals), Richie Castellano (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), and Jules Randino (drums).
This latest release, out now on Frontiers Music and titled iHeart Radio Theater N.Y.C. 2012, was recorded before 200 fans and takes a trip back through time, primarily with the early tunes. It was a celebration of their 40th anniversary and the release of a box set at that time. I’m not sure why this is out eight years after recording. I have always loved the BÖC sound as it is completely unique. Each song has its own twist of macabre to seemingly every day life. Their music is exceptionally intertwined with the lyrics. Featured tracks include “The Vigil”, “Burning For You”, “This Ain’t the Summer of Love”, “Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll”, “Godzilla”, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”, R U Ready 2 Rock”, and more.
As much as I love BLUE ÖYSTER CULT, this live album seems a bit lackluster. Their other live sets are so much better and full of energy, such as On Your Feet or on Your Knees and Some Enchanted Evening. The iHeart seems to fall a bit flat and is somewhat disappointing. Of course playing the same tunes for 40 years would tend to wear on you I think, and the small crowd probably didn’t help with much energy either. However, I do look forward to their new album The Symbol Remains due out in October 2020. Salude’.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “R U Ready 2 Rock”, “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll”, “The Vigil”, “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
-MARK “\M/ETAL \M/ESSIAH” EHRLICH