Blue Oyster Cult
October 4, 2019
Newberry Opera House
Review and Photos by Greg Perry
Blue Oyster Cult Destroys Newberry
The 1970’s iconic hard rock band Blue Oyster Cult rumbled through Newberry on a Friday night leaving all who attended burning with a desire to see and hear more. The legendary band who is fronted by original members Donald “Buck” Dharma and Eric Bloom, also includes guitarist/keyboardist extraordinaire Richie Castellano, Jules Radino on drums and Danny Miranda thundering on the bass. All of these guys have been playing together for years and it shows as the band is tight, powerful and very adept in all phases as they blast through their set leaving the audience astounded in their wake.
On this night they appeared on stage as the theme from HBO’s “Game of Thrones” played, quickly grabbing their instruments, took their places and launched into the first of 15 numbers we would have the privilege to hear this night. The opening track chosen was 1972’s “Before the Kiss” from their debut album, they rolled straight away from this rousing number challenging us all to raise our cans of beer up high as they gave a spirited performance of the great track “Golden Age of Leather”. This was immediately followed by Buck’s great lead vocal and tremendous guitar work on the fantastic crowd favorite “Burnin’ for You”.
It became evident very early in the show that the setlist was structured to rely heavily on Buck’s vocals as he took the majority of the leads this night with Richie handling the remaining tracks, many of which are normally handled by Eric Bloom. Unsure why this was as no reason was given for Eric’s limited vocals during the performance, possibly he was a bit under the weather? No one in the sold-out crowd seemed to notice or feel slighted as they were loud, very vocal, on their feet many times and cheered the band on time after time all night long.
After “Burnin’” they performed with Buck on the lead vocal once again with the seldom heard and really wonderful track “Shooting Shark” from 1983’s “Revolution by Night”. This was followed by “Vigil” before Richie took the lead on the huge crowd favorite “Hot Rails to Hell.” Castellano’s incredible vocals, overall energy level, incendiary guitar work and showmanship forced every one on their feet cheering as loudly as possible. I thought the roof of the opera house might come down on this one!! Not to be outdone by Castellano, guitar master Buck Dharma took the lead on the next track as he showed off his tremendous axe skills on the instrumental classic “Bucks Boogie”. Next up was another taste of their debut album and another great performance by Dharma, “Then Came the Last Days of May.”
As they began to enter the home stretch of the show, we were thrilled to hear the seldom performed “Dancing in the Ruins” from their “Club Ninja” album after which Richie took the lead vocals once again with a rousing performance of “Tattoo Vampire” from 1976’s “Agents of Fortune”. Eric came to the mic and advised us there had been a sighting of a large monster near the opera house, as we heard his roar in the background, he posed the question to the audience, who can it be? We all shouted at the top of our lungs GODZILLA to which the band launched head first into an inspired version of the classic track to the delight of all in attendance. The performance came complete with Buck’s trademark move of using the mic stand as a slide for his guitar as the song takes off. Without allowing the crowd to catch its breath, the band rolled straight way into the iconic classic rock radio staple “Don’t Fear the Reaper” complete with an extended intro on guitar as Dharma displayed his legendary skills once more. The crowd was at a complete frenzy by the point the track came to a conclusion to which the band was obviously very pleased as they took their bows and exited the stage.
After several minutes of chanting, stomping and screaming from the audience they appeared on stage once again to a thunderous applause. They quickly fired up their instruments and jumped into the first of what would be a 3 track encore which included the seldom heard “I Love the Night” and closed with the great rocker which seemed very fitting as they had burned the opera house to the ground, “Cities on Flame”. Once the track closed, again they spent a couple of minutes taking their bows and waving to the crowd visibly impressed by the outpouring of approval as they exited the stage.
One heck of a rock ‘n’ roll night and honestly, I don’t think the sleepy little town of Newberry will ever be the same!!!