Blue Öyster Cult – 45th Anniversary Live In London
Frontiers Music srl
Released Date: 07/08/2020
Running Time: 1:13:54
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, you wall eyed, vain and insane creatures. It is I, Dark Juan, addressing you after a particularly physical 48 hour duty shift wrangling recalcitrant young gentlemen. Said young gentlemen have been firmly reminded of just what constitutes acceptable behaviour, and suffice it to say it was not the extensive levels of property damage that was caused yesterday morning. I told them if it were the House of the False God it would have been ok, but not when it is your own bed. Thankfully, the Mighty Gothmobile (my particularly ratty looking, ancient Audi. Even Hellpriests need to travel. But it is black, and the stereo is KICKASS) emerged unscathed, not that you would be able to tell due to the state of it. Anyway, now I’m seated in the lounge of Dark Juan Terrace, Mrs. Dark Juan across from me, as she is drawing a really quite disturbing changeling creature and the Hounds of Smell are distributed about various items of furniture and I am on my fourth cup of tea of the day, listening to the stylings of the mighty and puissant Blue Öyster Cult.
Unsurprisingly, given the title of the album, this is a 45th anniversary performance of the finest of BOC’s music, recorded in London at the O2 Indigo. In fact, it is a show comprising the entirety of BOC’s FUCKING CLASSIC first album with added extras, rare songs and ‘(Don’t Fear) The Reaper’. No, stop that shaking of your heads. I SAID STOP IT! You would only have been disappointed if the band hadn’t played it, and let’s face it, it is a fucking stone cold classic hard rock song and puts a lot of modern bands to shame with the sheer scale of its vision. Anyway, I’m done arguing with you. You’re wrong.
Starting with a typically understated greeting from the veteran New York noiseniks, they waste no time with niceties and crash straight into opening number ‘Transmaniacon MC’. As well as it having oodles of Hammond organ (but sadly no cowbell), you can’t help but be mightily impressed with the quality of the sound production and mix. It is fucking perfect, baby. Every instrument is clearly audible, the bass drum resonates superbly and does NOT sound like someone belting a taut, wet tea towel with an equally wet and very flaccid dead rat, and no one part of the band overshadows the other. The bass guitar is also top notch, easily cutting through and just grooving its way around the music. Blue Öyster Cult’s sound engineer must be some kind of fucking archmage, his work is that good. Now, as you are well aware, I am not normally a fan of live records, but by Jiminy this is fucking amazing – I’m not sure whether it is the innate (insanely high) quality of the songs, the fact that the band just EFFORTLESSLY groove or what. All I know is that I’m fucking LOVING IT LARGE! Blue Öyster Cult’s Eastern tinged, funky, groovy, psychedelic sound is not for everyone, but if you want to hear a live recording played with passion, precision and sheer joy, you can do no better than this record. I mean it. I am seldom so enthusiastic about this sort of stuff, but this atmospheric, spacey kind of exploratory hard rock is right up my fucking street, seeing as I am an Ipsissimus Of The Temple Of The Groove, and I am being transported on great, purple clouds of acid tinged enthusiasm and the high just keeps on getting bigger, man. ‘Then Came The Last Days Of May’ is particularly noteworthy with its amphetamine fuelled speedy middle eight and solo before it changes gear and slams back into the colossal groove it was following. Also of note for the more metal tinged warriors amongst you, my children, is ‘Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll’ as it has one of the most classic sleazy guitar riffs ever committed to celluloid, before the acid trip hits and then there’s honky tonk piano and some kind of bizarro fucking echoey fuzz phasery bit that then crashes into the kind of soloing that just makes you weep with ketamine fuelled joy and false endings and all kinds of shenanigans before slamming back into the groove for a final four bars… Then there is a surprisingly violent version of ‘Workshop Of The Telescopes’. Oh, this is what music should be like.
Listening to Blue Öyster Cult, you are reminded of the roots of this thing we called metal, and how it welded the sounds of jazz, rock and roll, psychedelia and the blues together. BÖC do it expertly and effortlessly. I’ll be honest here – I was expecting a jaded, tired band completing a jaded, tired performance in a blatant cash grab for the anniversary of the release of their first record. Instead I got an obviously committed band, playing classic music with the kind of passion that is lacking from a lot of modern metal, with a surfeit of skill, musicianship and songwriting talent. There isn’t a SINGLE bum note anywhere and I can detect no overdubs covering mistakes.
In short, if this isn’t regarded as a classic live album in the future, I’m going to eat Ever Metal supremo Rick Tilley. He’d barbecue so beautifully and I imagine with shallots and an apple jus he would be most agreeable on the palate. (This is news to me and I’m actually quite perturbed by the thought! – Rick)
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Blue Öyster Cult a shining and sparkling 10/10 for a classic live album – pin sharp, fucking perfect and still heavy as fuck, man. Heavy. As. Fuck. Every song is a classic masterpiece. Every fucking song. And let’s face it, if you don’t love ‘Godzilla’ you have no fucking soul and you’re dead to me.
01. Transmaniacon MC
02. I’m On The Lamb, But I Ain’t No Sheep (I do SO appreciate wordplay.)
03. Then Came The Last Days Of May
04. Stairway To The Stars
05. Before The Kiss, A Redcap (Psychedelia for the win!)
06. Screams (Could be written for the sounds Mrs. Dark Juan emits when I’m being enthusiastic about something. Like Blue Öyster Cult currently.)
07. She’s As Beautiful As A Foot (I’m slightly concerned by this.)
08. Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll
09. Workshop Of The Telescopes
11. Buck’s Boogie
12 Godzilla (Stadium BANGER!!!)
13. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper
14. Tattoo Vampire (I never noticed that my first teenage band, The Theatre Upstairs, had ripped off the opening drum pattern from this. Please don’t sue me, Blue Öyster Cult. I have nothing worth having besides a number of elderly dogs of uncertain temper. And, judging by the state of their arses, gastric problems.)
15. Hot Rails To Hell
LINE-UP (as if you didn’t fucking know already!)
Eric Bloom – Vocals, Guitar, Keyboards
Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser – Guitar, Vocals
Richie Castellano – Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals
Danny Miranda – Bass Guitar, Vocals
Jules Radino – Drums, Percussion
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