A Long Day's Night

by: Blue Öyster Cult

Shortened by six songs from its accompanying video, Blue Öyster Cult's fifth live release is a rugged and often exciting trawl through their 30-year career. Featuring songs from their debut like the inescapable "Cities on Flame" and even a few tracks from works such as 2001's sadly underappreciated Curse of the Hidden Mirror, the album also serves as a reasonable career summation. Guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser's chops are in fine form, as the six-and-a-half-minute "Buck's Boogie" proves, and the band plays passionately throughout. Recorded at a single Chicago show in June of 2002, there seems to be few overdubs patching up this exuberant performance. Although only three of the original five bandmembers (Roeser, Allen Lanier, Eric Bloom) remain, there is no mistaking the sound. From dreamy to bone-crunching, Blue Öyster Cult retains a knack for melody, even on the newer tracks like Roeser's "Harvest Moon" and "Dance on Stilts." A ten-minute "Astronomy" highlights the band's sci-fi origins and never gets boring. Nor do extended versions of the set-closers "Godzilla" and "Don't Fear the Reaper." Digging deep into their catalog, they emerge with "Perfect Water" and "Lips in the Hills" (from Club Ninja and Cultosaurus Erectus, respectively), two forgotten gems that sound just fine dusted off for this concert. Excepting a few crowd-pleasing, Spinal Tap-ish moments in the closing minutes of "Cities on Flame" and the lumbering bass and drum solos in "Godzilla," Blue Öyster Cult remains one of the more enjoyable relics of a time when hard rock bands ruled the airwaves. Three decades of shows have only sharpened their attack.. ~ Hal Horowitz

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