Album review: BLUE OYSTER CULT – Live albums

BLUE OYSTER CULT - Live At Rock Of Ages Festival 2016

Frontiers Records [Release date 04.12.20]

Even when hearing familiar Blue Oyster Cult material performed live, you are reminded of just how different they are to all in their peer group.

These two live recordings are densely packed with reasons that reinforce the claim, showcasing the effortless, distinctive style of the band. They come in the usual variety of formats, CD, DVD and Blu-ray.

Live At The Rock Of Ages, Summer Open Air Festival was recorded at the 2016 iteration of the event in Seebronn, Germany.

On stage in Seebronn they leaned hard into their seventies’ albums. The sound of the crowd initially seems detached from the music being played onstage. But it’s just a matter of tuning in, by third track, ‘Od’d On Life Itself’, the mix is good, the rhythm section has been brought up and is chiming sweetly and loudly with Dharma and Bloom’s cultured guitar sound. Bloom has found his voice and we’re loving the gig.

The picks would first be an elongated ‘Then Came The Last Days Of May’. Eric Bloom’s scorched voice allows for the song to sound as bruised and battered as a 45 year old rock song should, with Buck Darma’s solo axework, very detailed, very musical, very emotional, stretching the song to a satisfying ten minutes. And a tight, tight, red hot version of the breezily insistent, ‘Burnin For You’, and of course the band’s timeless rock classics, ‘Godzilla’ and ‘…The Reaper’ are here too.

BLUE OYSTER CULT - A Long Day's Night

Fourteen years earlier, A Long Days Night was recorded on stage in Chicago, USA, during the summer solstice.

What’s remarkable about the recording is this: across 13 cuts you never once step into the soft, yielding quicksand of we’re-only-doing-it-for-the-money. Everyone of these live tracks is solidly grounded in performances that always opt for the perfect fit. They hit their stride quickly and impressively, combining the athletic grace of a marathon runner with the explosive energy of an olympic sprinter.

And perhaps surprisingly, given this album is a much “older” recording, the band include several tracks from the eighties’ albums in their set. Forged in the fires of endless touring, the live version of ‘Perfect Water’ comes alive on stage. Written by Dharma and author, Jim Carroll, it was probably the most notable track on the band’s poorly received Club Ninja album. Similarly with ‘Lips In The Hills’, a bluesy, punchy, 4 and and a half minute soundscape co-written with by well known author, Richard Melzer, who collaborated with band several times over the years.

It’s well worth observing that the recording’s 18 year old audio has been sympathetically restored and remastered on this live recording. Add to that the bonus band and fan interviews and you have a package worthy of the band’s reputation.

Review by Brian McGowan


The latest Facebook Live session from Canadian singer-songwriter Josh Taerk was streamed on Sunday 20 December., imbued with a festive flavour to raise the spirits

More about Josh:

David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 20 December 2020 and announces the results of the Popular Poll for Best of 2020.

UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 20 December 2020 and includes Pete’s best of the year selections

Listen in to Get Ready to ROCK! Radio…
Click the appropriate icons at the top of the page.

Featured Albums w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 UNRULY CHILD Our Glass House (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 SERGEANT STEEL Truck Tales (Boyz Tyme Records)
14:00-16:00 DAN REED Liftoff (Zero Entertainment)

Power Plays w/c 11 January 2021 (Mon-Fri)

BLACK SPIDERS – Good Times (Dark Riders Records/Cargo Records)
GRAVITY MACHINE Standing Stones (Zyse Records)
EMPIIRES Love Or Hate (TLG Entertainment/INgrooves)
RAY FENWICK Tam Tam (Singsong Music)
DEAD REYNOLDS Voices (The Fort)
LAYLA ZOE Don’t Wanna Help Anyone (indie)

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