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(73:52; Frontiers Music)
On June 17th Blue Oyster Cult celebrated the 45thanniversary of the release of their debut album by playing it in its entirety, plus some other songs as well. It was recorded and filmed, and Frontiers are making it available on CD+DVD, Blu-ray, and double LP. In the intervening years between this and the 40th Anniversary, Sulton had departed to be replaced by Danny Miranda who had previously been in the band between 1995 and 2004. Alongside Roeser, Bloom, Castellano and Radino, this is still the current line-up, and everyone has certainly put in their tenure, although Buck Dharma is the only one who can say he has been there since the very beginning in 1967 (Bloom didn’t join until two years later). Although the recording of this album is more recent than the other two I have reviewed recently, vocally this is a stronger performance by Bloom and Roeser, and there is a real confidence in the playing which shines through. Roeser definitely belies his years when he is ripping through the solo on “Then Came The Last Days Of May” and the rest of the guys are right there with him. As for “Before The Kiss, A Redcap”, I swear the guys are playing and singing it better than ever, with a real force and presence and guitars crunching in with the keyboards to create something quite special indeed. “Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll” was the inspiration for the artwork on Kiss’s ‘Destroyer’, and while Bloom may not have the power and width to his vocals he used to, there is no doubt he is singing so much better than he was some five years earlier. As for Buck Dharma, he will happily stand up next to any of the young guns and show he can provide note density as well as anyone, with “Buck’s Boogie” showing the guy really does still have it. When the guitars crunch and move into “Godzilla”, one can feel the venue literally shake under his footsteps, while the crowd reaction to “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” is both expected and deserved. They finish with a wonderful version of “Hot Rails To Hell” showing just why they have survived as a band without label support for so very long. I am incredibly intrigued to hear what the new album is going to be like, and what else is going to surface from the vaults. Whereas the other two recent live albums may be more for fans only, this one stands firmly on its own and captures a band who have refused to lay down and are still delivering the goods.
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