Eric Bloom - guitar, vocals; Albert Bouchard - guitar, drums, vocals; Joe Bouchard - bass, guitar, piano, vocals; Tony Cedrone - percussion; Allen Lanier - bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals; Rickey Reyer - percussion; Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser - guitar, vocals
The name Blue Oyster Cult conjures all the right mythical, alchemical, and fantastical elements of heavy metal: For over 30 years, the band has brought all that plus the elements of crash and shred to their rock 'n' roll stage. This late '70s concert--technically their early period--captures the band at the height of its live powers.
The set takes place immediately following one recorded on the same night at the Palladium in New York City, staged as a benefit for Indochinese refugees. Though the band turns in the same set as they did earlier, it's no less on fire than the early show and even works out some of its rough spots (A/B the opener "Stairway to the Stars" from both sets and you'll get the drift). But despite the similarities, there are differences, and most importantly, the spontaneity is not lost. No two performances are alike, and that includes the imperfections.
As you listen, notice that "E.T.I." is that much more stomping--looser and funkier--than it was earlier in the night. The difference in "Harvester of Eyes," is… well, you decide. Performing songs from their beginnings ("Stairway to the Stars" and "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll") to the contemporary ("Dr. Music" was a new song, from the 1979 album Mirrors), the band rocks unrelentingly. They even throw in the original heavy metal song, "Born to Be Wild," as the night's only cover. Bear in mind, by this time in their career, BOC had logged six studio albums, two live albums, and one charting single with "Don't Fear the Reaper" in 1976, though they wouldn't see the Top 40 again till 1981 ("Burnin' For You"). And yet, they kept cranking it up and cutting the competition to shreds; in 2010 they were still going strong.
So sit back and revel in the lore and the legend of the mighty BOC, "Don't Fear the Reaper," and all they stand for: Not just the '70s and metal, but the infinite possibilities of the universe contained within each metallic knockout. More cowbell baby, more cowbell.