Blue Öyster Cult
Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014
Today marks the 48th Anniversary of Blue Öyster Cult’s self-titled debut, an album that launched a career that, without a doubt, helped define classic rock.
On Hard Rock Live Cleaveland 2014, the band performs “Then Came The Last Days of May,” a song that pegs guitar on guitar with some of the more endearing noir-like song progressions. It pulls a head spin into prog rock territory until the tempo blasts off and plasters another round of layer upon layer of guitar solos only to stretch into infinity. The original is more blues structured under the canopy of a three-minute pop rock contemplative window. They have had years to explore, expand, and perfect this song. Hard Rock Live is proof of it. I would wager that every person in that audience was gobsmacked of the veracity of this band’s accomplishment and exuberance. Age is only a number. Looking back, what an exceptional song to come from a debut album and a band who was born from the heyday of the 1960s hippie movement yet influenced every metal band hereafter.
We had to wait four years to experience the monolith of classic rock songs and an album that is critical to every classic rock collection. Agents Of Fortune led to a poppier, more commercialized Blue Oyster Cult only to blow it out of the water with Spectres.
Cult Classic revisits these hits while making new recordings of them. We have “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” ingrained in our head that anything beyond its purist original seems like sacrilege, even if it comes directly from the band. The cowbell is pushed back. The high end stands out and the guitars come to the front. Suddenly you get a 3D view of this song, and it just seems weird. The live version is less impressive, especially coming not far off the heels of “Then Came The Last Days of May.”
To look at another big hit, “Burning For You” sounds immortal. This is where Cult Classic shines. This version makes me realize just how much I love this song, and it does not matter when and how I hear it. And the live version on Hard Rock Live proves how well this song can transition from the studio to the stage. Over two hours of music, Hard Rock Live gives us timeless classics like this and “Godzilla” to “Hot Rails To Hell” and “Golden Age of Leather.” Then there is the more obscure “The Vigil” and “I Love The Night.”
Both albums have their perks as they serve a larger purpose of capturing the essence of the band in different environments while keeping a fresh perspective many years later.
Blue Oyster Cult – “I Love The Night” (Live Music Video)