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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

To Blue Öyster Cult at ArtPark yesterday, and my summer will have to be pretty great to top that afternoon into evening.

The free shows at ArtPark are set up at the top of the hill. If one is so inclined there is 'prefered seating' in the infield, but otherwise people set up lawn chairs on the side of the hill, and that's what we did. Captain X, well familiar with the scene, had us arrive early, so we were there for the sound check. I love sound check, even when it is just the drum tech pounding, and a roadie saying "check, check", but this was pretty elaborate, and it gradually dawned on me that these guys were going through some pretty specific runs. The infield had a group of early arrivals hanging on the fence in front of the stage, and a little buzz was building. A guy with a guitar walked out from behind the Marshal stack and started running through some effects. We were too far away to make out faces, but it looked to me like it was Buck Dharma. They noodled around for a little, then someone in front must have said something, because, after a false start they started playing "This Ain't the Summer of Love". They jammed on it for about ten minutes, then Buck said, "Any other requests?" Someone shouted something, Buck said, "Yeah, we could play that," and they kicked into "Harvest Moon".

Now, here's the part where I confess. "This Ain't the Summer of Love" is the lead track from "Agents of Fortune", which is the side with "Don't Fear the Reaper", so it doesn't really qualify as an obscurity. Back in the vinyl days if anyone had a BÖC album "Agents" was probably the one they owned, and Side One was probably the side that got played the most. "Harvest Moon" on on the other hand-- that's a cut from "Heaven Forbid", a 1998 release. I had to look it up-- but I recognized the song. The truth is that I'm a much more serious fan of BÖC than I've ever admitted. Sure, they are Long Island boys, (with upstate roots) and yeah, they are the thinking man's metal. Some of me wants to chalk it off to Jones Beach nostalgia, but I just can't do it. These guys have a deep catalog, they can really play, and they enjoy doing it. They can improvise, and they can call an audible mid set to play something unplanned. When they came back on after the opener to play their set they played the hits, but they also made a point of playing a fair amount of stuff that only a fan would know, and I knew 'em all, pretty much. I feel like I should get a tattoo. For the most part this is about as far as rock and roll gets from the blues unless Rick Wakeman is involved, but the blues are in there-- it's seventies suburbs blues, wasted in your parents' basement watching Japanese SciFi blues.

| Comments:
Nooooooo tatoos!!!
 

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