Blue Oyster Cult at the Railhead in Boulder Station, Las Vegas, June 26, 2009
I originally saw BOC in the 70's just after Agents of Fortune hit (with the Dictators opening!) and they were mind-boggling (and wildly loud). I also saw them a few years back for free as an outdoor concert on Fremont Street with the front line-up intact plus a new rhythm section and they were still terrific. Other than their hits, the set was made up almost entirely of songs from their first 3 records, which meant it was amazing!
Unfortunately, now Alan Lanier has left the band again so the only original members are Eric Bloom and the phenomenal Buck Dharma. Doublely unfortunately, Eric obviously has something wrong with his voice as he barely sang at all throughout the night. Since he was the lead singer (though Buck would occasionally sing one of his own songs), this cut down the choice of songs considerably. Buck sang his hits ("Burning For You", "Don't Fear the Reaper", "The Last Days of May") and a number of newer tunes that I didn't recognize (unlike last time, this set was almost all newer songs), and played "Buck's Boogie", of course, but even when they did pull out an earlier Eric song, the new keyboard/guitarist sang it instead of Eric. I seriously hope that Bloom is ok and there is nothing seriously wrong.
The back up band was good and tight, though I always prefer to see the original members, and the bassist (formerly from Quiet Riot, of all bands) played far too much slap bass for my taste. But the keyboard/guitarist (who played bass the last time we saw them!) was good - no Buck Dharma, but gathered his fair share of applause - and the drummer was tight and didn't go too overboard even in his short drum solo.
After the last time, I would have unreservedly recommended them to anyone, but now with Eric essentially sidelined and the set almost all weaker, more modern tunes, they are good but not great. The set was also quite short, at just over an hour, so not as much music for your dollar.