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(63:21; Frontiers Music)
January 16th, 1972 saw the release of the debut Blue Oyster Cult album, and on December 17th 2012 the band celebrated their fortieth anniversary with an intimate performance at iHeartRadio Theater in New York in front of 200 fans. The show had also been set up to tie in with the release of ‘The Columbia Albums Collection’ boxed set, and was recorded for a webcast, and Frontiers Music are now making it available on CD+DVD, Blu-ray and LP. Rondinelli left the band in 2004, and was replaced by Jules Radino, with Richie Castellano taking over from bassist Danny Miranda the same year. When Lanier left in 2007 Castellano moved to guitars/keyboards/vocals and ex-Whitesnake bassist Rudy Sarzo joined the band. The line-up was then stable for a number of years before Sarzo left in 2012 and was replaced by ex-Utopia bassist Kasim Sulton. Before even joining the band, Castellano had deputised for an unwell Buck Dharma, providing lead vocals, so with Sulton onboard it meant the band had a strong vocal presence. Well, it would if Bloom wasn’t so obviously struggling throughout this set. Some singers are fortunate enough to keep their voices throughout their career (take a bow Bob Catley, who is still stunning), while others struggle as age takes its toll, which is a real shame. There are times when his vocals are thin, and just do not have the power of yore, which is what is required. Musically though, this line-up is a revelation, with the addition of Sulton providing a very different musical focus – his performance on “Shooting Shark” is simply superb. I was fortunate enough to see BOC back in 1985 (Girlschool and Statetrooper were support), when their first two live albums were very much front of mind. It seems somewhat strange to me not to find more classic numbers on this set, as we only have one song which made it to ‘On Your Feet Or On Your Knees’, namely “Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll”, and three from ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ (“RU Ready to Rock”, “Godzilla” and “Reaper”). Where are the other classics from the early days? Possibly, and I hate to say this, it is due to the way Bloom is struggling so much. Musically this is a band who are on fire, but they need a singer who can really control and dominate, and that just is not the case on this performance. ‘On Your Feet’ was the first album I ever bought by the band, when I was still at school, and is one I still play regularly to this day, but I doubt very much that I will listen to this one again. That is a shame, as any band who can still crank out “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” with that lick, some strong keyboard interplay, and great harmonies are always going to be worthy of checking out.
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