Blue Oyster Cult @ Variety Playhouse, Atlanta, GA 10-30-2015

Same band, same venue, one year later. Same show? Not really. It began as it did last year with the theme from Game of Thrones. But this time there was nothing close to a mass beheading or even a red wedding. It was more like Jon Snow came to visit for a while (and didn’t kill anyone). A fun time but lacking the passion of last year. There was still enough music left in this guitar army of geezers to get the crowd whipped up into a frenzy.

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Blue Oyster Cult hit the stage at 9:40 and played for an hour and forty minutes, which included one encore. Last year they played three encores and were on stage for two hours.BOC15-stageBOC15-9

Maybe they were tired and needed their rest. Maybe they had a fever. Sometimes, when you’ve got a fever, the only prescription is more cowbell.

Stonerider opened and played about an hour. Stonerider is a bunch of young guys who somehow channel seventies hard rock and do it well. This was my third time seeing them as a warm up act and amazingly they do not suck. I sincerely hope they make it to the big time.

It was Halloween Eve at the Variety. No one in the band was in costume but there were several in the audience who were dressed up (I think). BOC opened with “The Red and the Black” from 1973 and followed with “Golden Age of Leather” from 1977’s Spectres. The entire set list was similar to last year but this time with much more narrative.

BOC15-setlist BOC15-shirt BOC15-wide   Eric related the fable of the albino prince who gained strength from a sword, which of course is the plot to “Black Blade”. There was the science fiction theme of alien contact to introduce “The Vigil”. And Buck told the true story of a drug deal gone bad, which was the inspiration for “Then Came the Last Days of May” from their eponymous debut album. This was the album described as “heavy metal for people who hate heavy metal”. This could very well be the moniker of BOC for their entire forty-plus-year career.

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Original members Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and Eric Bloom, both on guitars and vocals, continued to please the crowd with radio staples like “Reaper”, “Burnin’ For You” and “Godzilla”. “Reaper” included an extended guitar solo, and “Godzilla” contained a guitar riff nod to Led Zeppelin’s “Heartbreaker” for those paying attention.

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If there had to be only one encore, “Cities On Flame” was most appropriate. Marshall will buoy but Fender control – indeed. By that time I had worked my way to the stage. It was obvious that the band was enjoying this enthusiastic crowd. Ditto for the crowd. I suppose I’ll return next time, even if it’s the same set list. But I really hope they add “Astronomy”.

Until the next concert, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.

George Ford

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