Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Blue Oyster Cult - Some Enchanted Evening

As anyone who has ever read this blog knows, I am a huge BOC fan, though I kinda lost touch with them after Agents of Fortune. Of course, "Godzilla" was such a big hit that I couldn't miss it, but I was unaware of some of the other numbers that they later made famous. This 1978 live album (their second, after On Your Feet or On Your Knees) was their best selling record and this CD reissue includes 7 previously unreleased bonus tracks and a live DVD from the time, as well. I have a DVD from an earlier show (from the same tour that I saw them on) that I'm surprised that I haven't reviewed, as I prefer that one, but this DVD is fun, as well.

Using perfect r'n'r logic, here they open with "RU Ready 2 Rock", a good mix of hard rock and pop with its "who will rock with me" repetition making it a worthy anthem for audience call'n'response. "ETI", from Agents of Fortune, is nice and powerful here and the vocals and harmonies (if they truly are live) are pretty exceptional, as is Buck's lead playing, as they extend the ending into a rockin' jam. They quiet things down a bit for the organ-drenched ballad "Astronomy", though it does build in intensity and the middle break's staccato guitar chords and shouted "Heys!" are head-banging-ly groovy. Showing that they had good taste, they kick out "Kick Out the Jams" - one of the first cover versions that I was aware of (besides my own bands!). This is a LOT slicker than the MC5's take, of course, and has organ included, but is mighty rockin' and, naturally, Buck rips on his lead.

Side two of the album opened with the monstrous (sorry) hit, "Godzilla", done pretty much like the studio recording (which means it is stompin') and that leads right into the biggest hit, "Don't Fear the Reaper", with Buck singing lead. Also great, but also not much different from the album, other than a bit more of a workout at the end. Surprising, at least for me, was the final album cut, a hard rock take on the Animals' "We Gotta Get Out of This Place", that almost sounds like a  latter day Eric Burdon doing it!

The bonus tracks are generous, from the vicious "ME262" and "Harvester of Eyes" to a smokin' "Hot Rails to Hell" to one of my faves, a raw "(This Ain't The) Summer of Love" with an extended ending that goes into the self-explanatory instrumental "5 Guitars", where everyone (except bassist Joe, who gets to start things off with his own cool solo) creates such a piercing noise that I think I still have hearing damage from seeing them in 1975! This moves right into their ravin' revival of "Born to be Wild" with some bonus noise at the end (most likely Buck & Eric scraping their guitar necks together, along with Alan's synth) - countless bands have done this but I'd say other than Steppenwolf, this song is most closely associated with these guys. The festivities finish up with another take of "We Gotta Get Out of This Place" - not much different that the "official" one.

All in all, quite good, considering that I felt that they were softening up in the studio by this time. Still, go for the earlier stuff first, but this is diggable!