Blue Öyster Cult – “Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014” 2CD / 3 LP / Blu-Ray (Frontiers Music)
Battle Helm Rating
With their origins going back to 1967 (the year I was born!) and still with members Eric Bloom (vocals, guitar and keyboards) and Donald ‘Buck Dharma’ Roeser (guitar, vocals) the cult of BÖC is nothing short of legendary – right down to that umlaut later inspiring Motörhead, Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche and even Spın̈al Tap!!! Fusing psych rock, 70s hard rock and of course, heavy metal, the band has sold over 24 million albums worldwide, and their musical influence on the rock world is both immeasurable and indelible on just too many bands to mention. If by some miracle you’ve yet to experience their magic or by some miracle you’ve been already touched by it, then this 17 track double live album is no better way to get acquainted with the original ‘thinking man’s heavy metal band’. Recorded in 2014 at the Hard Rock Live in Northfield (OH), “Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014” is a comprehensive, 17 track 2 hour essay spanning BÖC’s 5 decade history – and the crowd know it too! With No 1 hits like ‘Burnin’ For You’, taken from 1981’s gold album “Fire Of Unknown Origin” grabbing you through its massive melodic guitar hook together with that irresistible harmony chorus still resonating as true as when I first heard it, the band are on top form in delivering an energetic performance enthusiastically received by an equally excited crowd. Cranking out and if you’ll excuse the pun, a truly monster version of ‘Godzilla’ (taken from 1978’s gold album “Spectres”) here presented at almost 13 minutes long including guitar, bass and drum solos, the main heavier-than-all riff has ensured this song has been covered by everyone from Sebastian Bach to Fu Manchu and The Smashing Pumpkins (!), and here BÖC give it their own classic touch to much awe. Undoubtedly still being played to this day is the band’s biggest hit single ‘Don’t Fear The Reaper’ (taken from the 1976 platinum album “Agents Of Fortune”) with its undeniable ghostly chorus echoing its deathly theme through unforgettable lines like ‘…Romeo and Juliet are together in eternity..’ rapturously received by the Cleveland crowd who by the end are raucously chanting ‘BÖC! BÖC!’ – now that’s what I call classic rock!