View blog reactions Waiting for Speedway Fowler: Blue Oyster Cult

Friday, January 26, 2007


Blue Oyster Cult

I recently went looking for a good concert DVD to buy so I could test the 5.1 set-up. I picked up Blue Oyster Cult's "Long Day's Night", their 2002 concert in Chicago. I have to admit, I made the purchase with some trepidation. I saw BOC live in concert a LOT back in the 70's and 80's... maybe close to a dozen times. I always considered them a thinking man's heavy metal band, but, let's face it, a lot of time had passed since then, and I was nervous about what I'd see on the DVD. These guys were now in their 50's, and there a real chance that all that would be left would be a sad sight, a band that should have called it quits long ago.

That's not what I got.

What I got was an incredibly pleasant surprise.

"Long Day's Night" isn't about a rock band. It's about musicians. That seems a strange distinction, I know, but what I saw on the DVD was three middle-aged guys (plus the much-younger drummer and basist, the two roles in BOC that seem ever-changing - both guys have since been replaced...) who have, for the most part, shed all the trappings of a Rock Band and become something else: a tight trio of professional musicians who just happen to perform as a (small case) rock band. It's what they do. It's who they are. Don "Buck Dharma" Roeser now looks like Joe Pesci, in almost a buzz cut, wearing a simple black t-shirt and jeans. He has a guitar shaped like a wedge of Swiss cheese. He enjoys himself on stage, just playing the music. No pretense. The fact that he happens to be one of the greatest guitarists in the history of rock is just a bonus. Eric Bloom still shows a few traces of his 70's self, but the 'fro is subdued, the beard is now a stylish goatee, and the hipster-vampire vibe is nowhere to be seen. Alan Lainier remains frighteningly corpse-like, but I swear that's genetic. It's just the way he is. These guys could have wound up like a modern-day version of Spinal Tap, but they're just the opposite. They're not trying to hold on to their youth. They're older, more mature, and ... more sophisticated. They're the farthest thing from party animals.

And the music is better than ever. BOC plays an inspired set on this DVD, a mix of hits and obscurities spanning the bands four decades. It sounds incredible in Surround. And when Roeser takes the spotlight with a big smile on his face and mows through the guitar solo on "Don't Fear the Reaper", he manages to dissolve all the years of gothic silliness and gentle mocking that have surrounded the song and restore it to its original coolness. Not bad for an old guy.

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