Blue Öyster Cult

A Long Day's Night [Video/DVD]

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This professionally filmed concert video was released in tandem with its similarly titled live audio-only counterpart. Any fan of the band is encouraged to choose this over the CD if only because it adds six songs and nearly 45 minutes onto the playing time. Caught at a single show in Chicago on June 21, 2002, Blue Oyster Cult roars through their hits and selected album tracks with a renewed but not quite youthful vigor, belying the 40-something ages of the primary players. Candid interviews included as bonus footage show the three originals still on board (Allen Lanier, Eric Bloom and Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser) testifying that the band has never sounded better, and the live show proves it. Acknowledging their position as classic rockers with something left to say, the Cult burns through most of their recorded highlights in live versions that equal, and sometimes improve on, the originals. Lighting and presentation remain remarkably low-key -- at least until the "Godzilla"-"Don't Fear the Reaper" one-two closing punch -- and only the tired bass and drum solos reveal the concert's '70s characteristics. Often embarrassing interviews with hardcore fans -- many tattooed with BOC's logo -- confirm the Spinal Tap-ish qualities one would expect from BOC's graying audience. Thankfully the group seldom panders to lowest common denominator expectations. Lanier is definitely looking a little worse for the wear but both frontman Bloom and especially lead guitarist Roeser are in fine form. Bloom's vocals are confident without being overbearing, and Roeser's many fiery guitar solos show that his chops have gotten sharper with age. The 5.1 mix buries some of Roeser's vocals but the audio is spacious, clean and reasonably well-mixed throughout. Bonus footage of the soundcheck for the show shot with amateurish, often dizzying technique, is as bland and tedious as soundchecks usually are. Post-production doctoring of the gig seems either limited or non-existent, making this a definitive portrait of one of the most resilient of classic rockers as they take their music to the next century with class, spirit, and determination.

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