Blue Oyster Cult / UFO
Gas Monkey Live!
October 19, 2019
Review by David Simers
Photos by Andy Laudano
Rock N' Roll Classic Returns To Play The Monkey!
Everyone wins when two headliners share the bill. Fans completely packed Gas Monkey Live when UFO and Blue Oyster Cult poured out over three hours of classic rock, hard rock and progressive rock and cheered for both bands. The ones who mainly wanted to see UFO stayed until the end of the show and the ones who came for BOC showed up early enough to catch both acts and both enjoyed the whole night.
On their Last Orders tour, UFO came out to cheers and launched into “Mother Mary” as vocalist Phil Mogg, who will retire at the end of this tour, was in great voice and still spry at 71. He kept jumping around as bassist Rob De Luca laid down an aggressive beat and guitarist Vinnie Moore rocked a hard riff on “We Belong To The Night.” Continuing the solid rock with “Venus,” fans brought out their cameras and recorded a guitar solo that made the crowd jump.
Original drummer Andy Parker pounded a throbbing beat that permeated throughout “Lights Out.” Mogg continued to sound great with his rock voice as Moore also shined. The softer, almost balled “Burn Your House Down” thrilled the crowd as De Luca, who I talked to after the set about Spread Eagle, the band he co-founded, again made the bass an offensive musical asset.
Mogg, dressed in sartorial splendor with a vest and pocket watch, delivered on “Only You Can Rock Me” as Neil Carter kept the rhythm on the keys. Carter then switched to guitar and led the crowd in clapping for fan favorite “Cherry.” Moore shredded a solo as the fans cheered.
A soft intro preceded hot licks as “Love To Love” changed tempo into hard rock and the loyal fans who bought many of the 20 million albums they sold sang along to the song they knew so well. The cheers got even louder as Mogg announced “Too Hot To Handle.” The guitarists turned it into a good jam session to a roar from the crowd.
The tight band and superb harmony made the crowd sing along to “Rock Bottom,” then the jam featured Moore and De Luca play off each other to another huge hand. The music toned down into an eerie tone, then segued into “Doctor Doctor” as the fans exploded for the classic rock and roll. Everyone was still jumping and wanting more as UFO left the stage.
The large crowd was primed when Blue Oyster Cult took the stage. Technical difficulties delayed them for a minute before vocalist Eric Bloom said, “Alright, let's do it” and he began singing “Dr. Music.” Bloom's distinctive voice preceded Buck Dharma's riveting guitar solo as the fans came alive. The tight band continued with “Golden Age Of Leather” to keep rocking the crowd.
The distinctive first notes of “Burnin' For You” brought out the cameras and air guitars as the crowd sang along to the hit song. Bloom and Dharma played to the crowd at the well-earned ovation. It kept going for “ME 262,” a song that continued their roles as rock and roll pioneers.
Bloom switched to the keys as Dharma changed the tempo on “Harvest Moon” that contained a jam session by the band. The progressive rock style of BOC's early days was evident during “The Vigil,” a softer song containing two solid guitar riffs.
Bloom roamed the stage as he sand “E.T.I. Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” which fit his identifiable voice as Danny Miranda on bass kept the rhythm, as he did all night long. It turned into a jam, as did “Buck's Boogie” which turned into another jam of several minutes. Richie Castalleno on keys shined as did Jules Radino on the drums. Buck and Danny played off each other well and the crowd responded in kind.
“Then Came The Last Days Of May” was a good story set to music and was highlighted by Castalleno and Radino sharing the stage for a long, two-man jam. It thrilled the fans who responded to BOC enjoying playing for the crowd. “Black Blade” was a sci-fi type song that engaged the audience. Castalleno shined as the song segued into “Godzilla” which set off the crowd. The four guitarists lined up in front as people recorded this fan favorite while others head bobbed along to the familiar tune while still screaming.
Buck came out front for a solo on his Vader 6 guitar that he played with such ease. A true professional, he took the feedback from the crowd and raised his level of play even higher. The roof almost came off the building, though, at the first notes of “(Don't Fear) The Reaper.” The mainstay on classic rock stations thrilled fans as much as it did when it was new. Videos were out in full force as it turned into a sing along. Dharma and Radino led the extended jam as it ended the set.
The crowd demanded an encore an BOC came back out to play “Cities On Flame With Rock And Roll,” an anthem to rock and roll. The audience sang every word, Dharma played multiple solos and three-and-four-man guitar fronts thrilled everyone in the venue. Bloom and Dharma complemented each other and posed for the cameras that were out in full force until the very end of the show.
Bands like UFO and Blue Oyster Cult have not only stood the test of time, they have increased their popularity through touring, new albums and showing fans that rock done the right way will be viable for years to come. Catch them as they continue their tour together and then break off into separate tours. Music such as this was meant to be heard live.
Special thanks to Gas Monkey Live for their help and assistance.