Blue Oyster Cult
A Long Day’s Night
No matter what missteps the Long Island godfathers of rock might have made (“Godzilla,” anyone?), Blue Oyster Cult have secured their place on the hard rock temple steps with three songs: “Cities On Flame,” one of the heaviest slabs of six-string raunch ever; “The Red and the Black,” a short, brutal ice pick to the eye that Mike Watt has made a career covering; and the epic, majestic, soaring “Don’t Fear the Reaper.” The good news is two of the three are on this live recording from June of 2002. (No “Red and the Black,” alas, but it’s on plenty of Watt records.) And generally, this record sounds cool, for what it is. Which is three-fifths of BOC (the Bouchard brothers departed long ago) playing their hits. They don’t write new material much anymore, at least not that rivals their peak on albums such as Agents Of Fortune and Tyranny And Mutation, but compared to some other dinosaur outfits lumbering around, these guys can still pretty much throw down the boogie. Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser hasn’t lost much on the patented loud Les Paul/Marshall amp sound he helped develop, and singer Eric Bloom can growl when called upon and the new fellas on bass and drums hold down the bottom well, and do the arena rock solos just fine.
Granted, this is about the 75th live album from BOC, and while nothing will ever top their first — and best — live waxing, the legendary On Your Feet or On Your Knees, but frankly, this sounds better than I expected, and better than they did last summer. Music like this is hopelessly dated and out of fashion (if it ever was IN fashion, that is), but there are times when “My heart is black/And my lips are cold” (“Cities On Flame”) just says exactly what you need to say. Which is basically, kiss my ass and get out of my way, I need a beer. Blue Oyster Cult wrote the soundtrack to that moment. Hail Hail!
Sanctuary Records: http://www.sanctuaryrecords.com