Rocks Europe

Blue Cheer

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Rocks Europe Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

Recorded on what would be Blue Cheer's final tour, the 2013 double-disc Rocks Europe -- previously released as a DVD in 2009 -- captures a concert the power trio gave on April 11, 2008. As it turned out, this was the last Blue Cheer ever gave, as their linchpin, bassist/vocalist Dickie Peterson, died of prostate cancer the following year. Peterson's 2008 lineup of Blue Cheer also had drummer Paul Whaley, who played with the group during its golden era in the late '60s. On guitar was Andrew "Duck" MacDonald, who played with the group off and on since 1988, so even if this wasn't a full-fledged reunion of the prime Blue Cheer, it's still pretty close to an old-fashioned revival and the group does sound appropriately enlivened and wizened, cranking out its dinosaur blues with a genuinely ugly lurch. Some of that nastiness is diluted by the cleanliness of the production but there is no denying that Blue Cheer never quite matured, that they still could churn out giant waves of blooze skronk and clubfooted boogie that would test the patience of all but the dedicated. In a sense, that's a rousing endorsement: Blue Cheer stayed true to themselves, managing to create that same sense of nasty, scuzzy acid rock right up until the end (and they managed to do so in the studio, too, as the two bonus tracks here -- including a mistitled cover of Eddie Cochran's "Something Else" -- prove). This won't convince the doubters, of course, but it will satisfy the diehards that were with Peterson and Blue Cheer right until the very end.

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