Residing smack dab at the stylistic intersection of Boogie Boulevard and Prog Place, the Long Island-based band, Blue Öyster Cult has been a celebrated American rock and roll brand for nearly 50 years — long before branding or umlauts even were a thing.
Back in the day, BÖC seemingly was everywhere — in the press, on the radio and on the road. In fact, if you were a frequent fixture on the U.S. concert scene during the glory days of live rock, you would have had a tough time taking in too many shows featuring Aerosmith, Foghat, REO, ZZ Top or the Nuge without also experiencing “the amazing” BÖC somewhere on the bill. Truth be told, I attribute 83% of my current 67% hearing loss and ongoing equilibrium issues to the incredibly intense volume I’ve endured while attending a lifetime slew of BÖC performances.
Today, decades after the band first panned gold and platinum successfully with such chart-busting LPs as Agents of Fortune, Spectres and Fire of Unknown Origin, co-founding, guitar-slinging frontmen, Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and Eric Bloom continue to keep the BÖC flame burning for you (and me).
BÖC’s impeccable reputation was, and remains cemented onstage — a perspective proven by the band’s newly-released live set, iHeart Radio Theater N.Y.C. 2012. Recorded in concert before an intimate, yet enthusiastic crowd on December 17, 2012, the show commemorated the band’s (then) 40th anniversary. In addition to “Buck” and Bloom, the impressive lineup features longtime guitarist/keyboardist Richie Castellano and drummer Jules Radino, as well as dashing, renowned bassist Kasim Sulton (Joan Jett, Todd Rundgren, Don Felder, Meatloaf).
With a catalog as deep as BÖC’s, presenting the band’s ardent legions with a universally satisfying live song list would be challenging, if not downright impossible. As an admitted fervent follower myself, I will confess that I would have loved for my old friend “Dr. Music” and his fiancée “Joan Crawford” to have been invited to the party. However, the final cut selections do reflect a fairly even, career-spanning set that doesn’t appear to simply be going through the motions.
Available in an array of configurations (LP, CD, DVD, Blu-ray), iHeart Radio Theater N.Y.C. 2012 is quite a treat. Shot from multiple camera angles, it looks great — crystal clear, with the band in top form. As for the performance itself, the guys are firing fully on all cylinders — nailing every note, while leading the audience in lively sing-alongs and through engaging banter.
I ain’t gonna catch those countdown blues! — nor will anyone else, for that matter, as “R U Ready 2 Rock” remains a crisp classic and kicks off the show in fabulous fashion. While the 11-song collection certainly serves up a fair share of signature staples — “Burnin’ for You,” “Shooting Shark,” “Cities on Flame” and “Black Blade,” the set benefits equally from such deeper cuts as “Golden Age of Leather,” “This Ain’t the Summer of Love” and “Career of Evil.” The whole shebang comes to a fist-pumping crescendo with the closing knockout combo of “Godzilla” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.” Dude, my ears are ringing SO freaking bad, dude!
Although I’m not an ultimate authority, I am at least reasonably well-versed in the BÖC legacy. As a result, I believe the band’s 1982 Extraterrestrial Live double-slab established the BÖC benchmark. And from production to performance, this record meets that standard.
iHeart Radio Theater N.Y.C. 2012 Track Listing:
1. R U Ready 2 Rock – 5:17
2. Golden Age of Leather – 6:21
3. Burnin’ for You – 4:56
4. This Ain’t the Summer of Love – 2:45
5. Shooting Shark – 8:36
6. Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll – 6:22
7. Career of Evil – 4:04
8. The Vigil – 7:00
9. Black Blade – 5:43
10. Godzilla – 5:15
11. (Don’t Fear) The Reaper – 7:09
Run Time: 63:28
Release Date: June 12, 2020
Record Label: Frontiers Music s.r.l