Slim's, San Francisco
February 1, 2014
Long story short, I saw Blue Öyster Cult for the first time since 1994. It was a good show.. They opened with 'This Ain't The Summer Of Love' into 'The Golden Age Of Leather' which I took to be a homage to San Francisco since Slim's is located in SoMa (aka The Leather Daddy 'Hood of S.F.). The band's catalog from 1972-81 is pretty sacred to me and B.Ö.C. were the first concert I ever saw in 1979 so I'll always have a soft white underbelly for them... but part of me was bummed that it was only 2/5 of the original lineup. As good as Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma can still be, tonight only reminded me and magnified how essential Allen Lanier (R.I.P.) and the Bouchard Brothers were to the magic of the original band.
I was impressed they played 'Burnin' For You' as the 3rd song of the set and got their biggest hit out of the way early... but I was bummed by the semi-drunk guy standing next to me who danced like it was 1981 again... and he was wearing a sweater at a Rock concert. Then I was bummed by the middle part of the set that featured crappy songs that I didn't know because they were recorded after 1981. However, my inner teenage B.Ö.C. fanatic came back to life as the rest of the set steamrolled through 'ME 262' (THE best song about World War II, like, ever... until Maiden did 'Aces High'..), 'Then Came The Last Days of May', 'Career of Evil', 'Godzilla', 'Don't Fear The Reaper'... and then encored with 'Hot Rails To Hell' and 'Cities On Flames with Rock & Roll'. A tight ending but I was left disappointed because they didn't play my favorite song 'Astronomy'... and I must also admit it wasn't the same without Buck Dharma wearing a leisure suit onstage... or the arena stage laser light show... or the 5 guitar jam... or Bloom riding his Harley out during 'Born To Be Wild'. Anyway... I still had a good time and a couple of beers.
At this point in Umlaut's life, it's a double-edged sword going to see my original Rock heroes because it's a profound reality check. When I saw Blue Öyster Cult in the 70's and early 80's in stadiums in front of 50,000 people they seemed larger than life. Fast forward to the 21st Century and it's sobering seeing Blue Öyster Cult headline a 3/4 full club with as many people as who were probably standing in line to take a piss during their set at those long ago stadium shows. Hope I die before I get old.
If you bought one of every Blue Öyster Cult merch item you would have paid $60. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I still love B.Ö.C. long time.. and then 5 days later was another reality check that was altogether different. Stay tuned..
"It's been ten years.. Half my life.."