It seems crazy that Blue Oyster Cult have never played here in over 44 years on the road, but it’s great to have them, and it’s not just any show either, tonight we get two separate sets the first being the excellent Agents Of Fortune album in full, especially for it’s 40th Anniversary, and a second set made up of the bands greatest hits outside that album. Throw in a special guest on these shows, and not for just a track, original Drummer and one of the founding members Albert Bouchard (percussion, guitar, vocals) and it’s got that extra special touch to it.
Right, this needs to be said at the start not the end, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band with six people in it manage to have 4 lead vocalists, 4 guitarists, 2 drummers, 2 keyboard players, and a bassist during a set before, it was amazing to watch the guys trade one instrument for another and all be at ease, all we were missing was Richie Castellano grabbing a second bass as he has played bass with the band before, to have 4 guitarists playing at once without sounding messy and 2 drummers, awesome stuff indeed, just stand back and take a bow.
The Agents Of Fortune album sounds great, Albert Brouchard joining the rest of the guys after they had been wowing the crowd with the classic “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, their ability to integrate someone new into the setup and not miss a beat is a mark of how good they are. For me thought it’s when the guys come back out for the Greatest Hits set that things really kick up a notch or ten, and you can feel it as the crowd gets louder and more and more into the show. “Dominance And Submission” is almost a singalong, well shout along, and that escalates with another of their biggest hits “Burnin’ For You”, it’s great watching the crowd reactions from the side of the Pit as you can get a sense of the enjoyment and participation of the audience.
More excellent guitar work in “The Vigil” with Buck sounding so sweet, and shortly afterwards we get “Then Came The Last Days Of May” with Richie bursting into a wonderful solo, where he just smashes it, and then he starts trading solos with Buck and it’s one of those moments you just settle back and let the music wash over you. yes there are a couple of tracks that slow things down just a little too much, but you can see what the guys are trying to do, create a balance and not have too many upbeat tracks, but sometimes that can work against them, “Godzilla” brings the crowds syncing up a few decibels again, and it’s a cracking track, but that is nothing compared to “ME 262” which leads us into a really sublime jam, with a bass solo to start things off then gets joined by 4 guitarists and a drummer, as with everything else tonight the sound is absolutely spot on, Buck’s tone all the way through the night is really a thing of beauty to the ears, you feel that Richie is being held back a little and is ready to just unleash his powerful playing at any moment, something that little bit special is being is unfolding before our ears.
Not to keep things easy, the encore is a little bit of a drama, with 2 drum kits on the stage, but it all works out, with an oldie “Black Blade” thrown into the mix and then Albert playing on the second drum kit in sync with Jules who’s playing his normal kit, sounds great and adds a little to the closing track, “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll”, even though the guys are running over nobody minds, the sign that everyone is happy for them to play all night. Brilliant night of music from a band that we will hopefully see back on our shores, but judging by the crowd tonight and the reaction I’d be surprised if next time around they weren’t in a bigger venue.
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography © 2016
BLUE OYSTER CULT – ACADEMY DUBLIN, JULY 28TH 2016