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BLUE OYSTER CULT
London,Astoria 23 July 2006
What a treat to see the mighty BOC twice in the space of a week! After seeing a good but short set at the Guilfest last Saturday night it was time to see a full set. Not a bad turn out crowd wise although the first level of the Astoria was closed. Support came from John Young (Asia/Scorpions/Bonnie Tyler/Fish), doing a solo set with just his keys and his band played via Mini Disc. He was honest about this saying he wanted the audience to hear the songs in full band mode as they should be heard.
A good set featuring 'When I Was Young', the epic 'The Unknown Solder', a moving rendition of 'Underside' and 'Open Skies'. After a lukewarm reception form the crowd he had soon won them over and hopefully picked up a few new fans in the process. A brave move appearing solo and on keyboards before a full on rock band!
BOC finally came on at 8.45 but minus keys/guitars man Allen Lanier who we were told was ill but as Eric Bloom said the band 'liked to rock' and wanted to play the gig. The set list has some of the Guilfest tunes including opener 'I Love the Night', 'O.D.'d On Life Itself', 'Burnin' For You' and 'Cities On Flame With Rock 'N' Roll' along with a few tunes I have not heard them play before or in a long time like a superb rendition of 'Black Blade' and 'Then Came Last Days of May'.
Relative new bass player Richie Castellano is a real find for the band with his fast playing and occasional funk touches – I even enjoyed his bass solo during 'Godzilla', although a 'hit all my drums and cymbals loudly' drum solo by Jules Radino I could easily have done without. Please drummers unless you do something different like the late, great Cozy Powell's 'Mars' drum solo stop doing solos!
Great to hear one of my favourite BOC tracks 'This Ain't the Summer of Love', plus 'Harvest Winds' of the 'Heaven Forbid' album, 'Shooting Shark', 'Harvester of Eyes' and '7 Screaming Dizz-busters'. Due to the poxy curfew at this venue (10.15 tonight) the band finished on '(Don't Fear) The Reaper' with the promise to be back soon.
Always worth going to see BOC live if you get the chance as they are one of the great rock 'n' roll bands of all time and hopefully we can hear a new album soon. Finally, get well soon Allen Lanier.
Review by Jason Ritchie