Review | Blue Öyster Cult – 50th Anniversary Live – First Night

Frontiers Music srl

In October 2020 Blue Öyster Cult released its first studio-album for almost two decades in the form of ‘The Symbol Remains’. To me, as a fan from the very early days, that record was a pleasant surprise. It featured a rejuvenated line-up with plenty to say and with bundles of energy again. Founding members Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser (guitar/vocals) and Eric Bloom (vocals/guitar), both in their seventies, had gathered some new members and found their ‘mojo’ again. Two years after the release the band celebrated its 50th anniversary of the release of their first album ‘Blue Öyster Cult’ that came out in 1972.


On September, 22, 23 and 24, 2022 the band performed in their home town New York at the Sony Hall three special concerts. The first night they played the whole first album in its entirety. The second night they played the second album ‘Tyranny And Mutation’ in its whole. The third night it was time to remember the ‘Secret Treaties’ album. For these three concerts co-founding member Albert Bouchard (guitar) joined his old friends for a short reunion. In those early days the band was developing its style that could be described as a mix between heavy metal, hard rock and some psychedelic rock as the song titles and lyrics (most of them co-written by their manager and producer Sandy Pearlman) were a bit… shall we say experimental and weird.


Released as a 3 CD/DVD and featuring the ten songs of the first album. Plus a sort of mix between old hits like ,,Godzilla’’ and ,,Don’t Fear The Reaper’’ plus several of the strongest tracks of ‘The Symbol Remains’ (like ,,Tainted Blood’’, ,,Box In My Head’’, ,,Train True (Lenny’s Song)’’, ,,That Was Me’’). This package is for sure a journey through time for B.Ö.C and the listeners. Fifty years have flown by like a flash it seems.

Having seen only a few images on YouTube it is not really possible to judge the visual show. Hearing the music, it must be said that the performance is solid indeed. Especially guitarist/keyboardist/singer Richie Castellano has added fire to the B.Ö.C.-belly. He drags Roeser and Bloom to a higher level as well. But to say that this is very spectacular would be a bridge too far. The sound sometimes is simply not forceful enough. A little bit more dynamics would have made this release something to really cherish. For now, it will satisfy the core B.Ö.C.-fans for certain. But I am not sure if the band will raise the eyebrows of new rock fans with their 50-th Anniversary celebration. Not sure if there are plans to release the second and third night as well. Don’t be surprised if that happens.

Release date: 8 December 2023



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