1981 is a black year in the history of Blue Oyster Cult. By August, a simmering mixture of internal band resentment, exasperation and frustration exploded with the net result that drummer/singer/songwriter and general creative pile-driver, Albert Bouchard was fired. In the UK, of all places!!
And yet it all started so promisingly. In June, BOC released the fantastic "Fire Of Unknown Origin" and with Cultosaurus already under their belt, BOC fans were beginning to believe that the Cult were on their way. There was nothing going to stop their relentless march towards dominance now... except maybe... submission.
By losing Albert Bouchard, the creative heart was ripped out of the band and, for a lot of people, a major part of what made Blue Oyster Cult the band it was, was now gone.
Lighting man Rick Downey was hastily drafted in to take over the drums and BOC finished off the year with a massive tour with Foghat.
This page, as with a great part of the rest of the site, would not have been possible without the help of ex-BOC roadie, Sam Judd, and it's his notes which inform many of the facts contained herein...
Have you got anything to contribute to this page? Reviews, missing info, ticket stubs, posters etc etc - if so, let me .
What happened in January? If you know, please let me ...
What happened in February? If you know, please let me ...
What happened in March? If you know, please let me ...
I'm glad to see that someone else provided an entry on this show - I'd lost my ticket stub and couldn't recall the exact date. I was definitely in attendance at this show, my first BOC show ever. As a clueless and wide-eyed 16-year-old just trying to take in the whole crazy Rock Superbowl scene, I was years and years away from having the presence of mind to actually compile and keep a set list, but I've retained some very clear memories of this concert.
I recall that I knew every song that they played, so they definitely did not play "Burnin' For You", since it would be two or three more months until that song and the Fire of Unknown Origin album were unleashed on an unsuspecting world. They definitely played their three biggest songs up to that point, "Reaper", "Godzilla", and "Cities On Flame".
But the most striking memory I've kept is when they played "Unknown Tongue" from Cultosaurus Erectus - it was late afternoon, Eric Bloom walked up to the front edge of the stage, and as he sang the lines about "and then she took her father's razor", he pulled out a special-effects knife and drew it across his open palm while fake blood spilled from the fake cut he had made!
What an amazing juxtaposition, to see that spectacle occurring on such a sunny and pleasant springtime afternoon! I was definitely thrilled to be seeing BOC, my favorite band then and now, but too many years have passed for me to have an accurate memory now of everything they played then -- I just recall that they sounded really good and put on a very satisfying show.
I'm very thankful that I got this last-chance opportunity to see BOC with Albert Bouchard. Later in 1981, I desperately wanted to go see them at the Lakeland Civic Center on October 10th, but unbreakable family obligations prevented me from going -- this bothered me for years, until your website showed me that Rick Downey had become the BOC drummer by that time!
I certainly didn't know that then (I had thought the switch happened in 1982), and would have fully expected to see Albert Bouchard still in the drummer's seat, so the fact that I was unable to see that 10/10/81 show actually saved me from a crushing disappointment. Funny how life works!
Also, I can definitely say that UFO was the first act of the day, then Firefall, then BOC, then Cheap Trick, and then finally Heart.
Thanks so much for the existence of this website - long may it continue!
I found the attendance figures for this gig in the 26 June 1981 edition of the "The Orlando Sentinel":
Rock Superbowl X, April 1981; Heart, Cheap Trick, Blue Oyster Cult, Firefall, UFO; attendance 48,000.
Another BOC show and an interesting one, at that. This show took place at Miami Baseball Stadium; not exectly a great place for a rock show. The stage was so unusually high, and the sound was pretty much crap for most of the acts. The opening band was some popular local band that kind of sucked. The next band, however, was a glimpse into my unknown future of thrash metal. MOTORHEAD!! I had never heard these guys before and I was simply stunned by their performance. I had never heard music like this before, played so fast and so loud.
I wasn't quite sure I liked it or hated it. I'm sure the rest of the crowd felt the same. I'm not sure about the songs they played, but I do remember "Overkill" and I actually liked that one a lot. I'm sure a lot of U.K. fans know about the history of Motorhead opening for the Cult and getting treated quite shabbily at the Hammersmith shows in '75 or '76. Well, they probably didn't get much better treatment at this gig either because they played a pretty short set with no encore. In fact, I remember Lemmy saying at the end of the set "... Is their going to be an encore? Doesn't fuckin' look like it!! See ya!!"
Poor Lemmy. However, I would get the full message of Motorhead about 5 years later when I saw them at Santa Monica Civic with Megadeth opening. They just killed that night. Now, I love them to death. I still run into Lemmy at the Rainbow (his 2nd home) in L.A. from time to time. A legend, to be sure.
Finally, after a long day standing, BOC came on. This was right before they released Fire Of Unknown Orgin. Despite the lame sound, they played an energetic set. I'm sure they played "Burnin' For You" and "After Dark" from Fire. They sounded great. BOC's set was rather short however, due to Heart being the headliners. I think they played "Hot Rails To Hell" "The Reaper" "ETI" "Red and the Black" but I'm kind of cloudy on the setlist. They also did the 5 guitars mark III.
Overall, a pretty decent show and a preview of their full-blown "Fire" tour about to be unleashed. It was also the last time I saw Albert on drums for a few years (more on that in a later review).
I stayed to see Heart but left after 3 songs. Just couldn't get into it. Also, I had stupidly taken a bunk hit of acid I bought from a concertgoer. Fucked my stomach up hella bad!! Not a wise move. Not even bunk acid can stop me from seeing my favorite Oysters, though. Good show.
The unknown local band at this show was Freewheel - just thought I'd pass this along. Unfortunately I no longer have the concert T-shirt as proof.
At this show, all the bands in order:
Anybody that was there would remember that BOC opened with Godzilla... Godzilla monster on stage.
Also ripped with supersonic power Don't Fear The Reaper.
19 Apr, 1981: Bobby Maduro Stadium/Miami Baseball Stadium
Band running order:
Godzilla made an appearance. This was outdoors, so it was probably the large Godzilla. I don't remember "Golden Age," but I have it written down.
It must have been the 5 guitars version, but I distinctly remember them playing The Doors' "Texas Radio" as their 5 guitars, though I don't have that written down.
"FoUO" was introduced as from the upcoming album. I'm lucky to have seen the original lineup, they lived up to expectations and I was already a huge fan.
In the late 80s they played at a tiny sports bar across the street from my college; I figured that they must not have been very good by that point but now I wish I'd gone to see them.
Incidentally this was Motorhead's US debut, on the "Ace of Spades" tour. "America," from the following year's "Iron Fist" album, mentions Miami.
What happened in May? If you know, please let me ...
I remember an opening act at Hammerheads who's band had an amazing long-haired blond singer. Years later, I would imagine that it was a White Lion type band.
If anyone can put a name to this band, please let me know...
Great club show, tiny dive in North Jersey. We got there at noon to insure we were in the front row. Partied all day, Met BOC fans from LI that told me of the Spit show.
Met the band again, started to realize Joe and Albert were the friendliest, Eric would blow right by, Lanier and Buck would chat, but never remember you later, but the Brothers would, and even ask about things you had mentioned in past.
David Roter opened, with Manny Caiati standing in for Andy Shernoff, since Sandy Pearlman & Murray Krugman were suing Andy Shernoff at the time over a live Dictators cassette only release for their 10%.
In fact, I was friends with David Roter guitarist Jack Rigg & bassist Manny Caiati as they were in Helen Wheels band at the time, and they told me that was the first show opening for BOC. Was told later that Albert's insistence on using Roter to open was one of the problems.
The line-up for these dates with BOC was: Joe Played Guitar & keyboards in the David Roter Method. Manny Caiati on bass, Jack Rigg lead guitar, Albert drums. On the early gigs from Spring 1981, the lineup included Andy Shernoff on bass, and also Top 10 would jam on the encores occassionally. The set list was way longer & included more Dictators tunes.
I remember Eric Bloom intro'd the band wearing glasses with a fake penis nose!!! And Albert wore a fake beard during Roter's set - it was rather long and ZZ Topish! - Joe didn't need the fake beard, as his was in full effect at the time.
Roter was a trip, that guy killed me. I saw the David Roter Method several times, before the June shows. I still have the lobby sign from the Fountain Casino, where Andy bought us backstage to meet Joe & Albert. Albert had his Doctor bag at the time;) LOL!! I remember him stomping around backstage as Godzilla played on the PA, acting all nutty!!!!
I also just remembered being bribed by Buck's roadie at Hole In The Wall to guard his wireless receiver, which was taped to the front monitor. In exchange, I got my first BOC drumsticks that night, and a bunch of picks from every member except Albert, that one took until I worked with Helen to get:)
Wireless? In 1981?
Yeah, 1981 was just on the cusp of wireless tech, I imagine Buck's setup was quite costly, and it had very thin, about 1 foot long, antennas on both ends, with another receiver atop his amp.
Since the Hole had no security pit, and you were inches from the band, they actually needed to be guarded, or get bent. Since I had arrived at the club at noon to ensure my front row spot, I was elected upon entry.
Nothing like the wireless I had a few years later that cost $125 and only had 1 base station. I heard early units in 1980 were as high as $6000 US dollars.
I remember going to the Hole in the Wall concert June 13, 1981. I had a belt that said Soft White Underbelly, at the end I handed it to Buck who held it up in front of the audience and then gave me his pick.
Does anybody who went remember this?
This Emerald City venue is sometimes referred to as the Latin Casino...
i saw BOC at Emerald City in NJ, which was a small club, across the way from philadelphia - they were billed as SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY in the ads for the show, and back in those pre-internet days a lot of people didn't know who SWU was (i certainly never heard of 'em), but luckily the radio station ads played DON'T FEAR THE REAPER in the background, so i had a pretty good guess that the show had something to do with BOC...
to make a long story longer, i went with a couple friends and the start time was supposed to be around 7 or 8 pm with doors opening up an hour prior to that
note that back then BOC were very popular and we could only see them in big arenas like the spectrum in philly, so i think this was a sellout and the crowd anticipation and excitement were very high, nobody could believe we were going to be able to see BOC in such a small place...
this was during the summer so all us kids were out of school (actually i had already graduated college by that point), and alot of people showed up pretty early... and it was a hot summer day if i remember right... and i don't remember if the club had airco or not
anyways, we were there early hanging out in the parking lot probably most of the day, drinking/smoking/etc as were other people... having a party... finally we get into the club, everybody rushes in like a stampede to get right up front near the stage to get a good spot
i was in the front row with i think 5 friends - and if the fog of years gone by, and the haze of substances has distorted my memory too much, i think the place was packed right from the start
and i think this was around 7pm, if not earlier - might even have been 6??? was anyone reading this there that night to help me remember right???? cause this was one very strange night - as far as we knew, this was ONLY a SOFT WHITE UNDERBELLY (ie: BLUE OYSTER CULT) gig... there were no advertised opening bands or anything like that... and the tix had a start time of 8pm at the latest (again, if i remember right)
so we were there, we were inside, we were ready to go, we were fired up, we were TUNED UP, we were hot, we were sweaty, we were hungry, drunk, stoned, you name it - and we wanted to see BOC and we wanted to see 'em NOW!!!!!
but they made us wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and wait... and... you get the idea - the time dragged on and on and on and on interminably
i think we were waiting around 3+ hours, yelling, screaming, drinking some more, taking turns holding our spot at the stage & getting food/drink/bathroom breaks so as not to lose our prime spots - the natives were VERY restless...
then FINALLY... maybe around 9-9:30???... out comes some band we didn't want to see... WHO ARE THESE GUYS????? WE'RE WAITING HERE FOR HOURS FOR BOC???? GET OFF BOC'S STAGE!!!!! BOOOOO!!!!! HISSSSSSS!!!!! BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
everybody in the crowd was yelling at this poor opening band for their entire set - perhaps even things were thrown at them, i don't recall
finally their drummer, who was also the singer - who had a futuristic microphone type microphone thingee on his head like headphones, which for those daze was pretty cutting edge - well this drummer had had enough of the crowd abuse, and he started giving us some abuse back, yelling at us, giving us the finger etc...
which only fired up the crowd even worse and what i remember most of all is the surrealistic sight of the drummer standing up and yelling "YOU SUCK" to us, and us in unison yelling "NO YOU SUCK" back at him over and over again, until finally he & his band stalked off very angry... i think he might have thrown his sticks or somehting like that at us, i forget
so there we were, all doubly pissed and fired up that this crap band dare soil BOC's stage and keep us waiting longer for the zillagods, but we felt good, damn good, because we chased these s.o.b.'s off the stage, so BRING ON BOC !!! LET'S GO!!!!! BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
10 minutes go by - we're yelling BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
we're booing, we're screaming, we're getting pissed off, we're getting tired...
30 minutes go by... we're yelling BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!! we're booing, we're screaming, we're getting pissed off, we're getting tired
an hour goes by - we're yelling BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
we're booing, we're screaming, we're getting pissed off, we're getting tired...
two hours go by... we're yelling BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
we're booing, we're screaming, we're getting pissed off, we're getting tired...
three hours go by... we're yelling BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC BOC!!!!
we're booing, we're screaming, we're getting pissed off, we're getting tired...
well maybe i'm exaggerating the time - but maybe i'm not - i don't think i am - i think it wasn't until something like 1 am or later that finally BOC came on...
HOLY S*%*!!! THE DRUMMER IS THE SAME GUY WE WERE YELLING AT!!! HE'S ALBERT BOUCHARD!!!!!!!! OH F*%*%!!!!!!!! WE HAD BOOED ALBERT OFF THE STAGE BEFORE!!! uh oh...
we had pissed off bouchard so much (i guess?) that some sort of aggro must have gone on backstage and he made us wait forever and ever b4 BOC came on ?????? or something like that - maybe he didn't want to come on at all - i'd love to hear his perspective on what happened after all these years (if he remembers)
but here's the kicker - after all day partying, standing up in front of the stage for what seemed like 3 weeks (probably about 7 hours???), i couldn't take it anymore - the crowd surged forward and crushed the stage like a giant single celled amoeba - my feet left the floor and i was being held up by the crush (which was a good thing since i was too tired to stand up anymore)... but i couldn't take it... i had to get out of there
i fought to turn myself around, got down on my hands and knees, and crawled all the way to the back of the club, through peoples knees, i remember climbing up in the back on some kind of raised carpeted floor that had trees planted in it (??) and collapsing, and there i spotted one of my friends flat passed out on the floor!! and another friend joined us shortly
we watched the show from all the way in the back of the club, sitting on the carpet i think, not being able to see anything, and i don't recall how long the actual gig was, but that's my longest BOC "outing"
all in all it was a bummer :-(
I remember how bad David Roter's set SUCKED & how pissed Al got about the crowd hating them... (remember those fake beards too)...
Main thing I remember about Emerald City was waiting ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT to do the damn show & get out of there... I also remember that instead of the intro music we were using at the time, I got GpG to play a tape I had made of a B-29 starting all 4 engines, warming them up & then taking off... it sounded amazing thru the PA... he then proceeded to record the show OVER my damn B29 tape... DOH!!!
Hey Sam - do you know WHY it took so long to get the show started??? and do you have a tape of that show??? or even the ROTER set? i'd even love to hear the ROTER set just for the YOU SUCK shouting match! that would take me back to my youth :)
Most of those jive ass clubs book the shows that late and tell the patrons an early start time... all of the ticket money and then some is going to the band... the longer they have a club full of people drinking and spending money, the more they make... that spit show started dreadfully late too as I remember...
I got no tape, but there was sure as shit one made, cause it was recorded over my B29 tape and GpG just gave me a new blank... Albert usually got the show tapes and I believe he eventually gave all the ones he still had to Bolle...
I hope there's not a tape of Roter... nobody should have to suffer thru that crap again...
Sam's right, most Shithole clubs make all their money on booze, Emerald City was one of the worst offenders.
The club was a Disco, they made their money off the Saturday Night Fever crowd, as I remember they bragged the lighted floor had been designed by the same guy that designed the disco in Fever.
The first show I saw there was Iggy Pop, only a small crowd of rockers up front, and tons of open shirted, gold chain wearing disco idiots not digging it at all. They used to wait until at least midnight to start the shows, but usually you could get there late and still get up front, the only time I was ever in the 2nd row there was for the Pretenders show.
Sam, don't be so hard on the late Mr Roter, they actually had a few good gigs in NYC without the BOC fans booing. I remember in particular a CBGB show (sans fake beards) where they rocked the house for 2 sets, played Unknown Tongue, Il Duce, Joan Crawford, and Dictators tunes. Allen Lanier even got dragged onstage for the BOC tunes, and played keys while Joe played guitar. I still have the setlist signed by Allen somewhere! (oops, shouldn't have mentioned that, one more thing Ralph will be bugging me for;)
David was a very strange guy, a school guidance counselor by day that wrote weird songs at night. It was a whole comedy thing, all his songs were bent. You should hear Chocolate Candy, LOL!!
The shows with BOC were their worst, considering Manny joined the band the morning of the Hole In The Wall show, and was learning the songs onstage!! I remember afterwards them saying how much BOC had hated the idea of Roter opening, but the Bouchards pushed for it.
I was at this show!!! It was by far one of the most amazing shows I ever saw.
I was in front of the stage and I was mesmerized watching as Albert Bouchard's drum solo on Godzilla, especially when the strobe light started.
Next, smoke came up from the drums and he ended wearing a Godzilla mask with red eyes!! It was incredible!!
Wish I could find this video someday to show my kids what real music was like back in the good old days!
The Spit Club was later renamed Key Largo by the time BOC played there again, 12/20/84. Unfortunately, it had also become a dinner theater, and the band had to play at a reduced volume. Probably the quietest show I ever saw BOC play, you could hear fans talking over the band, and I was in the front row!!!
BTW - Roter did not open at Spit, I can't remember who did, if anyone.
Club Spit was called Uncle Sam's during the early hours, then they ran everybody out, changed the decor of the place by adding a bunch of diamond plate flooring and hanging cyclone fence all over and brought everyone in thru the service entrance to make it "grittier"... What a sham...
They also refused to turn off or turn down the DJ music while we packed up and loaded out (the place was open for several more hours).. made for a really god awful loadout with the stagehands totally unable to hear any instructions... one of the worst ever...
Are you sure that it became Key Largo?... seems like that was a different place... I always thought Key Largo was the place that was originally Hammerheads...
I think I'm right on this one, because I lived far away, and only went to the 1984 show because I had such fond memories of the 81 spit show. I even got to say hi to the boys because I remembered the stage door;)
Hammerhead's did change it's name too, I saw the band there 12/29/87, but can't remember what the hell it was called at the time. Kingston Station or something, I think was what Wrax told me. That was the only time I went there.
One of the main reasons I think that is that both Hammerheads and Key Largo were in West Islip and Spit/Uncle Sams was in Levittown... those towns are not THAT close together are they??
Not to mention Key Largo was about 5 times bigger than Spit... I've even found a Zebra site that shows how many time Zebra played Hammerheads/Key Largo W.Islip L.I.
I was at both the Hammerheads show and the Spit show, I believe that Jim Carroll opened the Spit show.
Wow, Jim Carroll opened at Spit, that's funny, I didn't even remember that, and I actually like his LPs!!
Was Jim Carroll doing a Garrison Keilor type deal and just reading extracts from his stuff or was it an actual band or what? And did Allen Lanier join in... ?
I would have pics if Lanier jammed with Jim Carroll that night :)
Jim used to have a band that at times included Lenny Kaye, at Spit it would have been around the time his 1st LP was released so I would imagine that was the backing band.
Saw Jim a few times between 1981-4, never saw Allen with him, except on the TV shows. Nowadays he does the poetry reading thing, no more band sadly. The last time my friend saw Jim a couple years ago in NYC, he was just reading direct from Basketball Diaries...
The tune up shows for this tour were held in small clubs on Long Island. In many instances the band played under the name Soft White Underbelly.
The kick off show for the tour was at a club called "Spit" the alter ego to the disco "Uncle Sam's"
By the way - Spit did not become Key Largo. It was not a club after it closed. Hammerheads became Key Largo. It was in Islip, we used go there to see Twisted Sister, Zebra, The Good Rats and a host of other Long Island acts. I was once forcibly removed during a Pat Travers show there. That was the first and last time I drank Yukon Jack... oh the good old days.
The Spit show was incredible. It was broadcast on WLIR. My buddy Chris still has the tape. That was the first time the drummer wore the Godzilla mask.
We saw both the MSG and Nassau Collasium shows with Foghat. I miss Lonesome Dave.
I saw BOC as Soft White Underbelly at a club called "Spit" it was actually Levitown NY.
I sat on the amp boxes right in front of Eric and next to the Amp Stack. I know a couple of tunes were Godzilla and Buck's Boogie, I really don't remember all that much more. The band was really cool because we had our feet under the stage and was close enough that Eric accepted a beer from us.
I proudly received a good portion of my tinitus that night.
I can confirm that it was Jim Carroll who opened - it was a surprise considering that BOC was always paired with Foghat, Angel, Zebra and the likes.
Carroll just seemed to be a very unlikely opener and naturally it didn't go well with the audience.
It was somewhat chaotic getting into the place, but it was an awesome show.
I can't be sure of the exact setlist order for this show - from what Bolle has reported in Morning Final, sonic skullduggery was afoot:
The second show was held on June 16th at The Bond's International Casino and the recording trucks were waiting outside to capture the show for "A Night On The Road." This show was aired almost two months later on August 8th. The show is very similar to the previous day's set (at the Spit), and runs about 95 minutes.
As it happened, the mixing budget ran out, so Steve Schenck & George Geranios opted for splicing in parts of the previously mixed Old Waldorf San Francisco show from the year before.
"ME 262" ends the actual running order of the set. They salvaged one more new song from the Bonds performance, "Heavy Metal," and positioned it after "ME 262" (it was actually played in the encore at Bond's).
All the other songs from this "Night on the Road" broadcast were taken from the Old Waldorf but were edited onto the Bond show using the between-song stage patter from Bond's to keep a continuum. So, actually from the Old Waldorf, but included here in the guise of Bond's are "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" "Godzilla," "Born To Be Wild," "The Five Guitars," and "Roadhouse Blues."
And that's even before you get onto the subject of Steve Schenck overdubbing Allen's keyboard solo on "Flaming Telepaths" later in the studio "to make it sound right."
Anyway, the broadcast setlist was as follows:
This was obviously wrong, and I even doubt that the 5 Guitars was played that night. They usually seemed to miss that one off when doing SWU-designated gigs - although I do take note that the one that was spliced into the ANOTR broadcast was actually from a SWU show at the Old Waldorf in August the previous year...
Anyway - I've taken some liberties with the setlist on the right - eg I've removed said 5 guitars - and based the order on contextual logic, rather than the ANOTR broadcast setlist.
For example, I've switched the order of Hot Rails and ME262 so that it conforms with the order played the previous night, but clearly that could easily be wrong.
If you know what it was for sure, please let me know...
I remember that Bonds show like a nightmare that just wouldn't end... starting with no elevator, a 150ft escalator that didn't move and a me with a Steinway grand piano... uuuuhhh NO.. hello Studio Instrument Rentals, please bring me a Yamaha CP70 electric piano and deliver it to the STAGE please..
Then the tuner came & told me that piano was a piece of shite... he did his best, but Joe B sat down behind it during line checks (Lanier was a no show) and deemed the tuning unacceptable... tuner was summoned back... he & Joe argued over it, he tuned it to satisfy Joe & that was that...
But I believe the show was schedded VERY late as well... but there were major problems with the recording truck (I even tried to find it at one point, went all around the block & NEVER did find it!!... tried following the mic snake to it, but lost it among a bunch of power distro cables all over a fire escape)...
The crew was operating on almost no sleep for several days on that run... it was NO fun at all... but we were getting REALLY good news about Burnin for you getting massive airplay & buzz all over the country...
Everybody else is just green, have you seen the chart?
It's a helluva start, it could be made into a monster
If we all pull together as a team.
And did we tell you the name of the game, boy?
We call it Riding the Gravy Train.
That's all I've got...
I went to the Bonds Intl show - they did Burnin' twice because the tape messed up the first time. I remember either Eric or Buck saying "Nothing we can't do better a second time" Played it at either the end or before the encore. Hard to recall but my best guess is BEFORE the encore after they came back on stage...
Also the only time I saw them do Heavy Metal. My friend and I thought it was funny as two black girls danced to Cities. Maybe they were just Bonds regulars and not BOC fans. :)
A cool show - even 12 yr old Lib Monkey was there. I used to have the radio promo albums for the show - it was called "A Night On The Road" with Blue Oyster Cult. I sold it on ebay.
I taped the Spit show off radio. My friend was DJing there at the time - I've never been to that club (It actually had two names at the time I believe).
Have you guys noticed the screwup on Joan Crawford. BTW - That was about a month after I saw the David Roter Connection at Max's Kansas City with the Bouchard's premiering Joan Crawford. I had this memory of Roter and the boys doing a sendup of He's A Rebel called He's A Rabbi. After many years went by I just assumed I dreamt it. When I met Joe B at a Chiller Theatre convention I asked him about it and he confirmed they did it. Yowza-dat vas no dream baby!
I was lucky enough to be at the Bonds' show, and taped it off the radio when it was first broadcast. There was no opening act, it was just a SWU show.
A couple memories from that night. It's the only time I've heard the same song played twice in the same set by BOC. They played Burnin'4U two times, I seem to remember something about some mic troubles. It took a loong time for BOC to hit the stage that night.
The 2nd "Burnin" was played with the encores I think, remember they said it was for broadcast and something had gone wrong with the recording. Don't remember any playing or singing mistakes during the first take.
The crew spent a long time adjusting lights, and tweaking a bunch of stuff. The crowd was growing fairly impatient, but of course the Boys came out and blew everyone away with the new stuff off of FOUO.
About if the 5 guitars were played or not - wouldn't surprise me if they did not play the five guitars, but I don't remember...
The next week, I called up EB while he was hosting his then weekly radio show on WLIR. I got to ask him about the show, and he told me how The Clash and crew had absolutely trashed the club during their week stay at the club. The resulting Clash On Broadway was from this run of shows.
I was at the performance. B4U was performed for the second time as the first number of the encore.
Regarding the 5 guitars - I also was at the Hole in the Wall performance a few nights earlier and 5 Guitars was definitely NOT played there.
From the Bonds show, I have one of two very vivid recollections: either they played it and I thought "Great, it's not out of the set" or they didn't play it and I thought "Crap, it's out of the set."
What clouds my memory, is that - as we know - 5 Guitars was definitely dropped after Albert left that year.
During the interview, Eric said they did a show last night at Bonds and, as that show was June 16th 1981, it seems to me that it was recorded on June 17th 1981 at RCA studios New York:
Host: Robert Klein
As usual, ignore what wikipedia says regarding the release date for this record - it came out during the third week of June. My current best guess is Mon 22 Jun 1981.
It was certainly available in the NE record shops for purchase from Thu 25 Jun, and the Sun 28 Jun 1981 of "The Morning Call" [Allentown PA] mentioned this in its review of the rescheduled 27 Jun Allentown gig:
The New York-based quintet has a lot riding on its new studio LP,"Fire Of Unknown Origin," which was released last week.
Hence the date I've provided above. If you know different, please let me know...
This date was posted on the boc.com official site with no location details...
This could only have been the Merv Griffin show taping, as we were in Pokeepsie for several days rehearsing and flew band and 2 crew out to LA for that (I wasn't invited)...
Dunno - it just gave the following setlist, annotated as "BBC Rock Hour":
Anybody got any info on this? I'm pretty sure that this date is just a broadcast date of the aforementioned setlist, and not an actual gig date...
I remember this gig being a bit lackluster, Albert was starting to fade. A lot of the crowd didnt know the new Fire of Unknown Origin material and it left the show uneven.
This was my first BOC and first concert ever. (See July 19,1979 for my almost first BOC concert story) Although Tom may be right about it being flat, I just remember being in awe seeing BOC live.
My seats were row J, 10th row left of the center section. I remember standing on my seat the whole show. I also remember thinking how cool the light show was, prety simple stuff like king in yellow queen in red light changes and the strobe lights during Alberts drum solo.
Fire was just released that month, so I don't remember whether I had the album yet or not. Talas was the opening act. That was a 3 man band with Billy Sheehan on bass.
Ok, original gig cancelled not due to rain but due to believe it or not, tornados! Massive storm.
Forget who the original opening act was but it wasn't humble pie.
Show was rescheduled for later in the summer, by then was a free concert as they let in a lot of people for the original show and then the tornados touched down and they cancelled so they said if you had a ticket you could come to the makeup show, of course 5000+ people said they lost their stubs so the rescheduled show, if you showed up, they let you in (Makoul Productions were not the smartest concert promoters).
Thanks to the above ad kindly sent by Sam You, I now know that this rescheduled show did in fact take place just two days later on the 27th.
The only indication I have that this gig took place is the mention in the above article kindly sent to me by Sam You.
Visit his EasternPa MusicChannel Facebook page and check out his concert memorabilia...
Stop Press: Click the link from the Erie County Fieldhouse Concerts Facebook page to see a concert ad and ticket from this gig:
There is one concert in 81 that I failed to keep the ticket of. It was my first BOC concert and unfortunately the last one with the entire band intact. I can find no record of this "phantom concert".
I remember that Fire of Unknown Origin was just released. This was in June. My friend Jerry bought it on a Sunday and I remember getting mine on that following Tuesday. Jerry gave me a call to see if I wanted to see BOC at an outside venue, the Allentown Fairgrounds in Allentown PA. It was a rescheduled date because the previous one was rained out - I think it had been originally scheduled for the previous night. I know that it was the week after Fire was released and I'm thinking it was a Wednesday. Don't ask me why.
The opening act was Humble Pie.
All I remember is the opening song which was Heavy Metal Black and Silver and the great bass solo and drum interplay between the brothers Bouchard. I remember Albert's arms and drumsticks appearing from below the stage and drumming on Joe's bass. Then he emerged from under the stage and did their bass and drum act. I think they may have also played Fire of Unknown origin.
For some reason I had some idea that it was the last show in the US before the European Tour. Eric may have said this on stage. Anyway I have not been able to track it down. Too many dead brain cells from that time period. Maybe you know someone who remembers this show. I know I didn't dream it.
If you find anything out about when the Allentown show took place, it would be much appreciated.
This was my first of several BOC shows at the Fairgrounds.
I was in HS, school was in session and very close to the end of the school year (so June 10 fits) and a postponement makes sense as I remember jumping in the back of a Chevette at the last minute at school's end when someone asked if i wanted to go because somone else couldn't make it--we didn't pre buy them back then.
I know I've seen Aldo Nova support BOC at the Fairgrounds - I had thought it was at this gig, but it may have been the 19 Sep 1982 one. We may have even missed the opener, so I can't be sure... Most of the shows at the Fairgrounds had some pretty forgettable openers lol. I know I saw them at least twice there between 81-84.
Sadly, I don't have any of the ticket stubs and those were hazy crazy days, so i could be wrong about the dates... Given that it was the 80s, i'm not certain about much --lol.
The opener was Humble Pie - a huge storm blew in - it rained so hard it flooded the area under the stage and that is were the power was located and yes the show was rescheduled a couple of days later.
We ended up giving the promoter hell because our ticket fell apart due to the rain - hundreds of kids stood around to get a stub "no one could leave without one" - some even got back in line twice like me...
Was looking for my first gig I ever saw and came across your site. My brother and I aged 15 and I 13 convinced my parents that going to this concert would be a good idea.
What I can remember of course was the storm as well as the scramble to get our ticket stubs back.
What is stuck in my memory is that Joe Perry Project was one of the opening acts. He didn't last long got angry at his guitar and stuck it into an amp and walked off.
All very exciting for a 13 year old kid wondering if that was part of the act.
I've had no reports of Joe Perry being on this bill, only Humble Pie... Are you sure you're not thinking of your second gig at that venue...? There's a documented Joe Perry Project gig at the Allentown Fairgrounds a month later, on 26 July 1981...
The Sunday June 28, 1981, BOC concert, at Pine Knob, in Clarkston, Michigan was a great show. I don't remember the exact set list, but the highlight of the night was Buck playing Born to Rock. The standards were played from Fire of Unknown Origin, and the band sounded great.
Pine Knob is an outdoor pavilion venue, and the sound was always excellent. The picture is a classic shot of BOC playing under the watchful eye of Sam Judd. I remember Allen's keyboards were off-center, so Sam walked out before the gig picked-up and moved the entire rack.
Humble Pie rocked too. The drummer played part of the drum solo hitting his head against the symbols.
Just for the record, that is Sam Judd in the black tee-shirt and shorts, off-stage on the left hand side of the photo.
June 24 81 - Hara Arena Dayton. I'm 100% sure it was Humble Pie opening up. I remember picking up a t-shirt - it was around the time of the Humble Pie album "go for the throat" - I looked up the album and recall my tshirt with the same design as the album...
This gig confirmed on the WLS MusicRadio 89 page.
Blue Oyster Cult 6/30/81 Poplar Creek, IL - the support was Humble Pie.
Overall, this day ranks as the greatest concert I ever attended. The anticipation for this was huge, especially in Eugene, Oregon, where they had been trying for years to get an outdoor rock festival arranged. I guess the Grateful Dead had played there in the '70s, but the local police and politicians said no more after that one. By 1981, it was okay again.
That morning, my brother and two of my friends loaded into my 1967 Mustang, waxed for the occasion, and headed from Portland to Eugene. A beautiful sunny day. A great time to be 20 yrs old. We ripped down Interstate 5; it seemed like everyone in the state was going to Eugene. We parked in an area by the trees which is now where the new baseball stadium is. Free parking, too.
The opening act was good; the lead singer asked the audience if they thought his guitarist "looks like Paul McCartney?" to a lot of cheers. Everyone was in a great mood.
The fire hoses came out early. We were in the stands, and I remember just before BOC came out, that I wanted down on that field. Heart was the headliner and would close the show that night, but for me it was BOC who was the headliner.
I managed to work my way down to the football field, about 30 yards from the stage, just to the right. There was an irrigation pipe on the ground going right thru the crowd to feed those hoses spraying the crowd. Hey, no problem, another 6 inches higher for me. So I climbed on that just before BOC hit the stage.
Man, there I was, on the field, pumping my fist in the air with BOC banging out their stuff. Their sound was great !! Whoever set up the equipment and PA knew what they were doing. After BOC concluded and left the stage, I figuered they were done and was ready to go back up to the stands and find my friends. But nobody was moving off the field. See, this was only my 3rd concert, so I had forgotten about the encore. But here they came back out. BOC.
What happened next was one of the greatest moments or experiences of my life.
Eric Bloom heads to the microphone, but the band has already started pumping out "Roadhouse Blues" by my favorite band of all-time, The Doors. Bloom steps to the mic and says, "10 years ago today....Jim Morrison died in Paris, France....and we'd like to do a tribute to him !!" Oh, my God, I fucking blew my mind right there. I began jumping up and down, and I swear I reached 26 feet in the air. It felt like it.
They started with Roadhouse Blues, then went into a Doors-style medley of their songs. Never missed a beat. It was over 100 degrees on that field with no shade, but I didn't give a shit. One of my favorite current bands laying it all down, all on the line, for The Doors.
The encore ended by returning to Roadhouse Blues. And then it was over. I headed back up to find my friends and brother like a conquering hero. They all knew how much I liked the Doors. I was talking trash the rest of the day. BOC just kicked ass.
"Heart" closed and near the end of their show blew out the power. Some of the lights went out in the stadium, too. We waited around, then figuered they weren't going to get it fixed, so fuck it, we left. About a quarter of a mile from the stadium, heading to my car, the lights and power came back on inside, but it was short-lived. The power to the amps went out a 2nd time in mid-song right as we reached my car. I don't remember which song, but that's how Oregon Jam '81 ended.
Today, 28+ years later, I can still feel that heat and see that day.
Another trip backstage for a pint or three, and a quick lig with Albert Bouchard, to find out just how many DOGs the Cult have played. As it turned out this is to be their sixth appearance at this annual bash. Blue Oyster Cult have been around a long time, near 12 years, and not many bands can boast an unchanged line up, which also explains why the Cult are one of the tightest acts on the road at the moment.
Only the suits have changed for this year. Don Roeser was wearing a gold shirt, which gleamed in the sun. Allen Lanier now favours a red and black (geddit) football jersey. Sadly no songs from 'Cultosaurus' were played.
However, the new material came over very well, especially 'Burning for You' with great harmonising. Should be a top twenty hit single. 'Joan Crawford', meanwhile, is too tongue-in-cheek, and the sight of 40,000 mouths agape with disbelief over the lyrics had me in hysterics.
"We ain't played this one in the Bay Area for five years" screamed Manny Bloom. It turned out to be 'Seven Screaming Dizbusters'. This is how all heavy metal should sound, great riffs accompanied by classy guitar solos from Buck Dharma.
The titanic 'Godzilla' followed, complete with synthesized drum solo, one of a few not so boring drum solos left. 'Born to be Wild' as usual was excellent, although, personally I'm becoming a little tired of the song, as is the same for the Cult's mainstay song, 'The Reaper'. The encore on the other hand was fab, 'Roadhouse Blues', the old Doors toon.
Sadly the stadium began to empty when Heart came on as I think BOC had no trouble in blowing the headliners off the stage, a pity coz the gorgeous Wilson sisters turned in a fine show.
Here's a review of this gig I came across on a Randy Rhoads site called "The Day The Music Died":
The fireworks may have gone off Saturday at the year's first Day on the Green at the Oakland Stadium, but the concert was a dud. Only 38,000 fans - less than two-thirds capacity - attended, and many left even before headliner Heart took the stage following an hour-long intermission.
After a strong opening, Heart then bogged down in a lengthy middle section devoted to dreamy, folk-oriented material, as the crowd, primed to rock, began to stream the exits. Seven hours of hot sun and headbanger rock left the audience tired and restless by the time the afternoon's stars arrived on the scene.
By then, the sky had grown overcast and a cool breeze whipped around the cavernous stadium. Acts performed from a hole in the stage front, flanked by paintings of forest, birds and crashing waves that covered the massive sound system.
From the sparsely populated third deck, musicians appeared to be less than an inch tall. During the performances, the almost entirely teenage audience sat listlessly in their seats, offering only cursory applause at the close of individual numbers, although enthusiastically demanding the regulation encores.
But, ear splitting music is only a small part of these annual summer time events. Rock bands just provide a central focus for the convocation. What these shows are really about is a day outside the purview of adult authority figures for the high schoolers.
A Day on the Green has more in common with a day at the beach than with other rock concerts.
Morning arrivals caught local rockers 415, Loverboy and Ozzy Osbourne, former lead vocalist of Black Sabbath, who reportedly drew quite a response from the heavy metal-minded crowd.
Guitarist Pat Travers drilled the house with machine gun, staccato riffs, played with such velocity, it was difficult to separate the reverberations from the actual notes he played.
Blue Oyster Cult, which appears tomorrow at the Old Waldorf under the pseudonym Soft White Underbelly, mixed considerable recent material of lesser interest with the fire-breathing rock band's standards such as "Cities in Flame" and "Hot Rails to Hell."
Guitarist Buck Dharma filled the sound with thrashing, driving solos, but the band's set never settled into a consistent charge.
Heart brought the Tower of Power horn section along to liven things up, but by the time the brass joined the band, it was too little, too late, and the audience continued its exodus unabated toward the parking lots.
Here are some links to a few of Larry Shorr's great BOC photos taken at this gig and which are available for order from his My Pix Rock site:
We played that show late afternoon on the 4th, threw just instruments into vans and limos and booked for the SFO airport, flew to JFK in NY, lugged it all over to the Marine Air Terminal where our 2 (Cult Air Force as we called them) twin engine Navahos were waiting in the early morning mist, flew up to Clayton NY, rented cars and drove out to a Biker Fest/Picnic in the middle of nowhere and played a show with Chubby Checker, Jan & Dean & others on the 5th...
Caught about 4hrs sleep and flew back to JFK, legged it all over to get on a commercial flight BACK to SFO, where we thankfully had a night off on the 6th before playing TWO shows the night of the 7th at The Old Waldorf in one of our rare (in those days) club appearances as "Soft White Underbelly"... ahh the memories... and lost brain cells...
We flew 'cross country and drove to make this gig that Sam called a "Biker Gig in the Pasture" - it was held in upstate NY near the childhood home of the Bouchard brothers.
Then we turned around and flew back to California. Chubby was a nice guy, and drove his own tour bus!!
I went to the 1,000 Islands Music Festival in 1981. The 'fest' grounds were essentially a muddy farm field surrounded by ditches in a moat-like configuration, a moderate size stage, a few vendors, alot of bikers and 2 porta potties. I don't recall too much about the 4 day event, other than our main purpose of going was to see Blue Oyster Cult.
Can't say I remember seeing Chubby Checker there at all - it seemed like there was mainly a lot of local bands with plenty of down time between.
Anyways, the crowd had thinned out by Sunday night when BOC finally went on - like 9 or 10 at night. I think they were the final act of the entire event.
We got down to the stage area early to get a good place to stand, and watched with interest as a bunch of guys dumped a large couch into the field from the back of a pick up truck. They came back and just sat on it, quietly drinking for the most part.
Once BOC went on, we pretty much forgot about them. Then, just after the opening chords of "Cities on Flame", there was a flurry of activity behind us. Seconds later, the couch was a complete inferno, with flames shooting 15 or 20 feet into the air! (Clearly some sort of accelerant was used). The show continued uninterrupted as the couch burned away.
Hi! I just wanted to tell ya that this was a show I played at. I sent some pics of BOC that I took from on stage that day to one of the Bouchard Brothers last year online. We played just before BOC in a band called "Wirlwind." Before I played with Wirlwind that day, I also played guitar in a band called "Contraband."
I remember Chubby Checker driving his own bus up to the backstage. It got stuck in the mud. I believe this was the last day of the Fest. I also think this was the 2nd TI Music Fest that was held in Clayton. The 1st was more like Woodstock. The crowd was in the thousands. There were people walking around naked drinking alcohol and smoking pot, passing out pills.
Anyway, about a month later I got a call from this guy in NYC. He told me that Chubby had heard me playing guitar with another band that day and wanted me to fly to audition for his band in NYC. I eventually ended up declining on the offer. Anyway, glad to have seen this. Thanks for the memories. I attached a couple photos of our band, and the backstage BOC snaps.
2 of my friends attending this low budget Woodstockian type gig. They both confirmed Greg Kihn Band played as well.
Greg cut the set short when some brainiac hit one of his band with a firecracker.
Ozzy canceled on this show. Bass player hurt his hand the previous night in Seattle, so just the three bands played - Motorhead opened, then Pat Travers and then BOC.
Was a great show. Will always remember it...
The ozzyhead.com site lists the Ozzy Seattle show as 12 July at the Paramount Theater (supported by Motorhead) - two days after this one - so maybe it was a different gig where the injury occurred?
The 11 July 1981 issue of The Spokane Review gave the opening act as "local Spokane band, Lion"...
I was perusing your website and saw you are missing this show. Monday July 13, 1981 in Las Vegas, NV at the Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts. As with other shows during this time period, Johnny Van Zant Band opened and Pat Travers was in the middle.
BOC didn't come on until midnight and played a massive 2 hour plus set. Show didn't get out till nearly 2.30 a.m. in the morning. I had 4th row center seats for this. Sorry, no setlist.
The concert was Johnny Van Zant opening, Pat Travers and then BOC, and the venue was the Wichita Falls City Auditorium. Regarding who was on keyboards that night - I can't remember, sorry...
I was trying to find the baseball jersey shirt they sold at the concert. I had one and it disappeared with a girlfriend. It had the band members as magicians (top hats, wands, etc).
My mom washed my ticket stub with the jeans I had on that day so I can't give you a date but it was in the summer because it was after I graduated High School in May.
According to the fine folks at the Wichita Falls Public Library, the concert there took place on Wed Jul 15, 1981.
Johnny Van Zant and Pat Travers were also mentioned in the review that appeared in the local paper after the show.
Check out the stubs above - Pat Travers is down as headliner!! Also the second stub has "Utopia?" written on it - I'm assuming that's a mistake?
In regard to the Dallas concert on 17 July 1981. That was my first rock concert, which was pretty impressive to a 13 year old, especially since my friend and I scored floor seats.
The concert did have Van Zant opening, then Travers, and the headline band was BOC of course.
The ticket stub that has marked on it Utopia was not entirely wrong. Seems Todd Rundgren was in town and they got him on stage also.
The highlight was Buck Dharma, Todd Rundgren and Pat Travers mixing it up on guitar.
Thanks Mark - and you're right about Utopia being in town - they were playing The Dallas Agora Ballroom on July 18 and 19:
My friends and I could not get tickets to the Texas Jam because it was sold out. We decided to try to sneak into the Astrodome. (Back-up plan: go to Galveston if we couldn't get in). We figured our chances were good because we used to work special events at the Dome.
Just as we were making our break (we were actually inside the building but we hadn't cleared security) we could hear "Godzilla" playing. We out-ran the cops up the security stairwell and made it into the arena proper and ditched the cops by mixing in with the crowd. Godzilla was about half-way over by the time we had pulled it off.
Whenever I hear Godzilla, it takes me back.
Here's a review from the 23 Jul 1981 edition of "The North Texas Daily":
Speedwagon steals shov/ at Texas festival
Rock 'n' rollers race to seats like 'cattle at feeding time' to savor jam
by Steve Robinson, Daily Reporter
Confusion reigned supreme at the Fourth annual Texxas World Music Festival in Houston Saturday as a capacity crowd of more than 66,000 danced, drank, smoked and fought its way through the nine-hour extravaganza.
The event is also known as the "Texas Jam."
Nobody seemed to know where his seat was in the cavernous Astrodome, and the ushers were almost no help at all. The result was people sitting wherever they could find a place or not silting at all throughout the long day.
Crowds of souvenir-hungry fans surrounded the T-shirt stands, blocking aisles and creating massive bottlenecks that made Central Expressway at rush hour seem like a deserted country road. The concession stands were also crowded with masses of humans impatiently waiting to pay 52 for a beer or hot dog.
People were dressed in every conceivable manner, from T-shirts and shorts to karate suits. One woman sported a tatoo of a desert sunrise or sunset covering her back.
The festival scene was reminiscent of Mardi Gras, where confusion and getting lost in the crowd was half the fun. It was, indeed, a heyday for people-watchers.
When the first chords rang out, everyone headed for his seat, the floor section looking like a thousand head of cattle at feeding time.
The Rockets, a heavy-metal band from Detroit, started the show with a lackluster set of music that could only be called noise by the kindest of critics. Their only salvation was the Fleetwood Mac tune, "Oh Well," which brought a mild response from the still sober audience.
The disappointing start was forgotten when Blue Oyster Cult, from New York, brought the crowd to its feet several times with old reliable tunes, "Godzilla" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper." The group finished with a medley of songs from The Doors, and "Born to be Wild," from Steppenwolf, both of which went over surprisingly well.
The crowd came to life when Foghat, a London-based band, "shook the rafters" with its traditional high-energy style. The band's sound system, however, was inadequate for the Astrodome and much of the power Foghat is famous for was lost somewhere between the first few rows of floor scats and the first balconv
A parachute drape, which was supposed to enhance acoustics, never was put up resulting in loss of sound and The Cotton Bowl, where the last three Texxas World Music Festivals were held, definitely has better acoustics.
Even with poor sound quality, Foghat pleased the crowd with "Slow Ride" and "I Just Want to Make Love to You," and left the audience screaming for more when its hour-long set was finished.
The dull grey light from the skylights was giving way to darkness when R.E.O Speedwagon, the band that is drawing the largest crowds nationwide, took the stage amid thunderous applause. Kevin Cronin, lead vocalist, and Gary Richrath, lead guitarist, strutted and stomped around stage as they lead the group through cuts from their latest album, "High Infidelity," along with provens crowd pleasers, "Riding the Storm Out," "157 Riverside Avenue," "Only the Strong Survive," "Back On the Road Again" and "Say You Love Me or Say Goodnight."
Richrath showed he was the best guitar player of the evening with lightning-fast solos and hard-driving rhythm, which rang clear in the night, despite the poor sound system. After two hours of foot-stomping, hand-clapping rock 'n' roll and two encores, R.E.O. left.
By the time Heart, a Seattle-based band, appeared on stage, the concert was running one hour late. That, along with the obvious fact that most people came to see R.E.O. Speedwagon, resulted in about half the audience leaving after the first few Heart songs.
The band seemed to sense the audience's disinterest and gave a lackluster performance, which brought people to their feet only once or twice Heart received good response; on hard-hitting tunes, especially the Led Zeppelin song, "Rock 'n' Roll." However, the audience was so tired by the end of the night that when Heart played some of their mellow tunes, the audience all but fell asleep.
Overall, R.E.O. stole the show, as they usually do everywhere. The other bands were adequate, but could not overcome the accoustics barrier quite as well as R.E.O. did.
No matter, nobody expected the concert to sound like an album, and maybe nobody really wanted it to. Most people came to just be a part of the affair, to see and be seen, to escape from reality for a few hours. They would have had a great time if no bands at all showed up.
Not a REO fan by any chance, are you, Steve...?
I only know about this gig as a result of the following review that appeared in the Thursday 23 Jul 1981 edition of the Tucson Citizen (courtesy of Ian Cassetty):
Blue Oyster Cult - softer heavy metal
by Chuck Graham, Citizen Entertainment Writer
Blue Oyster Cult, the shortest band of rock 'n' rollers in show business, continues to expand its style of heavy metal with a romantic touch.
Last night's show for approximately 4000 in the Community Center arena found this quintet less threatening, more melodic, than in the past. BOC has become the Sir Lancelot of rock's bombastic legions. Offering a pleasant demeanor and songs that are tuneful, BOC doesn't mind tossing the crowd a playful wink while on its way to Armageddon.
The laser show is conspicuously absent on this tour. However, playful lead guitarist Donald "Buck Dharma" Roeser delighted in the chance to catch the spotlight on his guitar and reflect the beams back into the audience.
There were also a couple of numbers during which the the band was covered with fog, and a joyfully anticipated appearance by the red-eyed, smoke breathing Godzilla. With its massive head hoisted up on the prongs of a fork lift, Godzilla peeked over the speaker stack while the BOC classic raged on stage below.
Such theatrics reached an apex with the show closing "Born to Be Wild." Wearing stylish black leathers, lead singer Eric Bloom rode a massive motorcycle on stage, kicked off the song and kept it going as smoke once more engulfed both band and bike. The number concluded amidst showering fireworks that spewed from cannons on each side of the drum riser.
In terms of pure muscle, BOC didn't play a strong set. Molly Hatchet could beat up these guys several times a night and then stick them with the bar tab.
But musically it was pleasant enough. Not without charm in a mix of old and new songs that went back to "Tyranny and Mutation" while giving equal time to the sick joke controversy of "Joan Crawford (Has Risen From The Grave)" on the band's current album. If nothing else, BOC proves that heavy metal isn't always outrageous.
The Pat Travers Band, second on the bill, was most remarkable for the fact that Travers has returned to playing guitar at great length but with little effectiveness.
Cutting and slashing through several choruses at a time, he was forever stringing out boisterous blues distortions that fried the air without moving the crowd. It was a remarkable achievement that didn't improve until the final number, "Boom Boom Out Go The lights." From there the trio took a brief offstage pause before shooting back out to do its encore, "Snortin' Whiskey, Drinkin' Cocaine." That flurry of activity was as good as the set ever got.
This band used to be a quartet, with flash guitarist Pat Thrall hired to provide the thrilling jams while Travers sang the songs and comped along on piano. But Thrall left the band a while back to pursue a solo career. Travers decided to cut down the overhead by reducing his band to a trio and playing the guitar parts again himself.
Opening this four-hour concert was Johnny Van Zant, presenting Southern rock in the Van Zant tradition. This band's show closer includes waving a large Confederate flag. It was the most exciting part of that set.
I know about the band line-up for this gig because I read a short ad in the 19 July 1981 issue of the LA Times which said: "BOC with Special Guest star Pat Travers and Johnny Van Zant. Thursday July 23 8PM at the Swing Auditorium, San Bernadino."
BOC appeared on "The Merv Griffin Show", which was the band's first national television appearance.
They mimed to two songs: "Burnin' For You" and "(Don't Fear) The Reaper"
My first show - It was BOC/Pat Travers/Johnny Van Zant.
Set list included but not limited to (not in order, sorry):
Dr. Music (opener)
Veteran Of The Psychic Wars
Cities On Flame
Born To Be Wild
And Ray Manzarek guested on Roadhouse Blues (Lanier played guitar, Manzarek played organ).
I was at this show. The opening band was the Johnny Van Zant Band.
I remember 7 Screaming Diz Busters and Eric Bloom cutting his wrist with a knife, blood spewing everywhere. He was talking about signing in blood and having Porches in his driveway. It was a cool show and we were right in front.
I got a confirmation of this date at this bootleg site:
It's listing on the site would indicate it had been recorded, but no details are given, so it's strange. However, they do provide the date and confirm the support act, so there's that at least.
I know about this gig because I read a review in the 30 July 1981 issue of the Deseret News. The reviewer found fault with the volume of the show and wondered why BOC seemed intent on "rattling the rafters"...
I was especially pleased to learn about this gig because for a few years now I've had two "help me nail this gig" requests down at the foot of this page.
The first was from the official site which merely hinted at a gig on this date at an unknown venue in an unknown town. That was always going to be a hard one to sort out...
The second concerned a gig mentioned in a UFO interview I once read which alluded to a gig UFO had played with BOC in Salt Lake City, and as I didn't have one listed, it was obviously a "new gig" for me to discover...
Who'd have thought that these were both one and the same gig!!
I was at this show. The western Canadian dates were actually promoted as "Canada Jam II".
It was at the football stadium, and it was packed. I believe it was sold out, probably 30,000 plus.
It was a beautiful sunny hot Saturday, 90 F plus for sure.
The 31 Jul 1981 edition of The Vancouver Sun gave the following timings for this show:
SUMMER SUNDAY '81: Here's the timetable for Sunday's concert at Empire Stadium: doors open at 11.30 a.m., Rockets (1:30 p.m.), Blue Oyster Cult (3 p.m.), Ted Nugent (4:30 p.m.), Loverboy (6 p.m.) and Heart (8 p.m.)...
This all-day concert was billed as "Rock Cirkus II", sponsored by Edmonton radio station K-97 (97.3).
The venue is a natural grass football stadium that held about 65,000 (when you had people on the field). I don't know what the crowd size was, but it was large, 10,000's (I can recall it took about 1/2 hour to get from the stage area to a washroom and back!!!!!).
I was most excited to see BOC and Ted Nugent and both rocked hard. I enjoy the Hearts older stuff, but after hearing the other bands, their set was more mellow and, I hate to admit it, but I left part way through their closing set.
Loverboy had just put out their 2nd album, and were already huge in Canada, which explains why they came on after BOC, who were also huge internationally at that point.
This was called World Festival of Rock I believe? It is too bad that Neil left because some Rocket came out with Ted Nugent, Paul Dean and Buck and played Led Zep's RocknRoll for an encore. It was one of those "moments"
Ted stole the show of course but I think all had fun. BOC had some great fans there !! LoverBoy was a rising star but it all added up to a Really Big Show!!
BOC were selling these really cool Tshirts. I had mine for years !! I do not recall the songset either.
I was a roadie for the band "The Rockets" and worked many shows with BOC as an opening act...
In August 81, we did 3 shows with BOC, Ted, LoverBoy and Heart in Canada. I'm sure you know this, but what you might not know is that the whole 3 days were filmed - they filmed everybody with the bands and crews for 3 straight days, in hotels, eating, sitting up, flying and the shows themselves...
They said they were doing a documentary, but till this day I have never seen any footage...
I remember the tour VERY well especially the flights on the chartered 727 and the C-130 cargo plane that the gear went via... never saw ANY evidence of any filming either of the shows or the crews...
I can positively say that it was filmed. I ran into the Heart sisters at a show about 8 years ago and mentioned the film, and they remembered it, but didn't know what happened to it.
At the time I was more of a body guard / bus driver for the Rockets - we had drummer Jonny "B" (formally of Mitch Ryder and played with many other musicians) and I would take care of Jimmy McCarty's guitars on stage (he played with Mitch Ryder, Jimi Hendrix and Cactus) - but I wasn't too involved with the set-up because I was babysitting...
We were almost taken off the play bill because they thought we wouldn't be able to get all the band gear on the plane but somehow they managed and we flew to the next cities...
Can you imagine 5 bands and 5 crews altogether on one plane? I think Ted was the only one not doing drugs on the fold down tables - we drove the stewardess crazy with the serving of liquor, they ran out of change so they started to give it out free....
The next plane ride they wouldn't serve any alcohol and brought on a belly dancer instead, I felt sorry for her...
The plane rides were like they were right out of animal house... I remember when the stewardess did the demo of the oxygen mask dropping, everybody held up there shoes, held on to the laces and dropped the shoe - yea I know pretty childish, but it was funny at the time...
On your site, it mentioned that a radio station had put this on, maybe they have the film... at the time it was a very big deal, 3 huge stadium shows in a row, I remember them filming in the hotels, planes and at the shows - it's very amazing that it hasn't shown up anywhere with everything you see now days on the telly...
As far as working with BOC, at my best guess, I would say I've worked with them at a hundred shows (around) mostly with the Rockets and I think I did some shows with them when I worked for WinterLand Productions (12 years) as a Merchandise guy...
Being 5'8 tall, I liked them because none of them were taller than me... Just kidding...
They were great guys, spent a lot of time with them, in fact, I remember being in a limo with them in Vancouver, to the hotel from the plane I think, and we came to the conclusion that Vancouver had the best looking hookers in the world, we didn't stop but just an observation...
If you track down the film I would love to see it / maybe they had to cut to much out / not enough left... lol...
There definitely wasn't anyone filming me... I rarely give permission for that sort of thing...
But really, there COULD have been film crews there... cause honestly I don't even remember Rockets BEING on those shows!!... but for there to have been QUALITY audio for the performance part, I would have HAD TO KNOW about that as there were differences in the way instruments were miked up and especially keyboards taken at line level for the multi-track recording that HAS to take place for quality audio.. otherwise you end up with rancid dawg shit for audio like the live 76 bunch o crap...
My favorite memories from that crazy deal were our pyro guy getting busted for hashish coming it to Canada (we didn't even notice he was missing till R Downey got a call from the authorities!!.. we were already having dinner at the hotel...
Then all the fun on those plane flights (including when I took over the paging mike at the gate and clandestinely paged the aforementioned Pyro guy to report to the RCMP precinct in the main terminal... lolololol) and going out for a big dinner at a Jap steak house at the end of the tour and having Ted Nugent pick up the tab!!... he even bought us some champagne too...
The 24 Oct 1981 edition of the Ellensburg Daily Record mentioned that BOC and The Rockets were on this bill. It didn't say that there weren't any other bands on the bill, although that was the impression you got...
This was my first concert... opening acts were the Johnny Van Zant Band and the Rockets.
BOC opened with Dr. Music and ended with Roadhouse blues featuring hometown boys Mike DeRosier, Howard Leese and Steve Fossen of Heart onstage with them.
As I recall, the rest of the set pretty well followed Extraterrestrial Live set list. I don't recall the drum solo relying on electronic drums like that record, however...
There was an article in the Seattle Times a couple weeks later condemning concerts for being "too loud" and referenced this show as being 120 dB. It was definitely LOUD.
This was an amazing first concert. I've seen BOC a couple of times since in club level gigs and it's just not the same as seeing the original band at the top of their game.
You're missing an Anchorage date from 1981 (Aug 8th) - they played at the West High Auditorium.
It was a big thing. I remember I was only 10 and really wanted to go because I liked burnin' for you along with Godzilla... I was really just getting into bands of BOC's genre thanks to my brother and Dad.
Here is a funny story. About a week before the gig there was an ad in the Periodical about renting a particular (model, cc) "Harley" for one evening. It was not to be drove. Just to be observed.
One of the particular lads that I know that went to the gig said there was a Harley there that matched the bike wanted in the ad. Needless to say the venue was my High School. We did not have an "arena" here yet.
Ted Nugent, Molly Hatchett, Ozzy, Nazareth, Pat Travers all had played there circa '82-'84... I was able to see Hatchett, Nazareth, Travers and Oz... but no BOC!...
After some research at the local library I came across a brilliant review of the West Anchorage High gigs. There was actually 3 shows. Saturday August 8th at 8pm, 1981. It was sold out though in no time.
Northern Stage Productions (which are no longer around unfortunately) in Association with Albatross Productions brought BOC up here for the very first time.
They added a second show on Sunday August 9th at 8pm, however that sold out as well. West auditorium is a lovely little venue where I have been for other shows, and any seat in the house is good. It holds 2,000.
By overwhelming response of the fans they added a 3rd show for Sunday at 3pm. A local band by the name of Tytus Canby opened each show with a 30 min set. From the review of the Sunday afternoon show the Cult played 2 hours.
They brought up their own sound system as well as only a third of their stage set due to the venue.
After the afternoon show the Cult indulged in catering of Alaska King Crab and potatoes. This was the last perfomances with Albert behind the drum kit on U.S. soil.
Check out the above stub - as the only Tuesday to fall on the 11th in 1981 was in August (thank you, Sam), then this would appear to be from a Portland gig on 11 August. Plus, it's torn, which indicates that the gig occurred.
This - if true - is interesting because it'd represent the last known US gig with Albert before the ill-fated Euro trip. I'd always thought previously that the two Alaskan High School gigs mentioned above were Albert's last US shows.
So - the question is - did BOC head back to Portland to do a gig there before heading off to Europe - this stub suggests they did...
Well, I had thought that I remembered Seattle as being the last stateside show before Euro, but I've just had a flash memory last night of all of us arriving at the Benson Hotel in Portland from possibly Alaska...
I know it was from somewhere we flew to, as no Bus and I remember Rich Neesin was band valet (that makes it 1981) and was to make sure everyones luggage went up to their rooms and mine got left in the lobby and the front desk man just happened to see some guy try to leg it out of there with my suitcase...
But yes, it's very possible we went to Portland from Alaska... but my strongest memory of this time is that Rick Downey had designed a " Stage Set" of ramps and risers and pipe and drape to hide the amp-line... very cheesy and un BOC like... the band hated it... the crew REALLY hated it as it made a LOT of extra work for us...
First time we saw it was Seattle, next time we saw it was Lubbock (on 2nd Sept - after Europe - at the start of the Foghat tour)... so we either didn't try to use it at all in Portland, or the Portland gig was before Seattle...
I saw the August 11th, 1981 show at the Paramount Theater in Portland. I couldn't believe they were playing there again, and so soon after playing in Eugene at Oregon Jam the previous month.
They opened with The Red and The Black, and Albert broke his snare head. I remember the drum tech coming out to replace it, and Albert patting him on the head!
It was a great show, including the extended guitar solo versions of Veteran of the Psychic Wars and Heavy Metal Black & Silver. I believe Roadhouse Blues/Love Me Two Times was the final encore. I'd kill for a recording of that show. I had no idea at the time that I was seeing one of Albert's last shows.
p.s. If I remember correctly, the opening act was Johnnie Van Zandt?
I was at the first of those German shows in 1981 (while Albert was still drumming). Capt Von Ondine posted a really excellent pic of the Stuttgart show last year. I have it somewhere - I'll try and dig it out. He said he had others but hasn't posted any more since.
The gig. Great gig! My first outdoor festival. Kansas - Blackfoot - Iron Maiden (Killers) - Motorhead - BOC and Foreigner (who were headlining and better than I though they were going to be!) Me an impoverished student, barely scraped the cash together to go the gig and have some beer and train money. I remember the merchandise being stupidly expensive but really wanted that t-shirt. It was going to be either the T-shirt or the train and the train won. Bloody hot day so the beer money was essential. I got a nice sunburn that day and I still had hair so it was hat free.
I was at the Golden Summer night concert in Stuttgart with several Army buddies. Hotter than hell that day and lines for beer were awful.
Had a hell of a time. Wore the t shirt until it literally fell apart. Would kill to have another. Oh, well.
This was the first "real" concert I ever went to. I was stationed in Goeppingen, Germany, at Cooke Bks. our Rec Center provided a bus to the event because they sold a lot of tix to the soldiers and their families who lived there. We were about 40 km from the location.
When I went, I was not a big fan of any group, but had listened to some of their songs on the radio. I probably knew Foreigner the best and their song "Urgent" had just been released in June. That is what they closed the show with in their encore.
The concert was "totally devestating". It was sooo great! Even though I enjoyed it as much as I did, it hasn't been until these last 10 years or so that I started to appreciate it. I wish I could have embraced it then, like I do now, and the artists that performed. As hot as it was, it did allow for some sweet "eye candy". Sometimes you got to take the bad with the good.
Of the 9 1/2 years I spent in Germany, on 3 different assignments, this will always be one of those "top ten" moments.
I was at that show - I was in the US Army, stationed in Wurzburg. It's been so long yet I've never been to a more intense and enjoyable concert experience - all day, all night! I had remembered Foreigner, BOC, 38 Special, and Kansas but couldn't remember any of the other bands, though Iron Maiden had been nagging my brain as a possibility!
I distinctly remember coming in on one of the gazillion buses, and walking forever into the stadium. Being in that stadium - one with so much history to it, was surreal to me.
My memory still retains brief moments throughout the entire day. I remember there being at least two stages side by side - were there three? It was a great summer experience with women in bikinis, everyone caught up in the great music - the sun shining...
Thank you for having posted the info on the BOC web site. I really loved seeing the ticket scan...
In 16th august 1981 (Nuremberg) the songlist is pretty much the same as in Stuttgart, 15th.
For sure I only know following things:
To explain you, at that time I didn't know BOC. But after the concert I was a fan.
I saw Blue Oyster Cult at the 4th Golden Summernight Concert at the Zeppelinfeld in Nürnberg, Germany in Summer 1981. I have a ticket stub somewhere, though, I have not seen the stub in years. I have several ticket stubs from concerts in Germany.
I don't recall any sort of conflicts or tension between the band members. I do recall that most of the audience was asleep; it was a hot day and in the afternoon of an all day concert.
I was standing right in front of the stage, mostly alone, watching and listening to the band play. The lead guitarist was looking at me and indicated the audience. I just shrugged and mouthed "I like it". He smiled and kept playing. It was a memorable experience for me. I was stationed in Germany (Augsburg) with the US Army.
BOC played a killer show that day. The running order for the bands that day:
I was in the US Army stationed at Herzo Artillery Base. Good times.
Just wondering if you remember someone putting a mega big British flag over Hitlers balcony at the 4th summer night concert. That someone was me and I have been trying to find any pictures of it...
I have some great memories of that concert. I was at the 3rd Concert as well...
I think that was the Nuremburg concert I looked out our backstage trailer and saw Steve Walsh of Kansas doing situps with a 25 lb. barbell plate on his chest before Kansas' appearance.
Steve was quite the acrobat onstage those days, doing handstands on the Hammond organ while he played and sang.
This was the first gig Al was late for... we went round the corner for a bite of food (quickly as we were late getting there) and returned to find Rick warming up to go on in place of him... it's still a hoot at that point... Rick's Big Nite as it were (I had mine once when George didn't show up and I got to mix the band...Yeee-Hawww!)
Al showed up a few songs into the show and all had a good laugh... the next time it wasn't as funny...
The ride back to London was interesting as the Van that the crew (and Mr Rock Star Downey) was riding in smacked a curbing and lampost just south of town and did the front windscreen and whacked the alignment silly on the front wheels...
We pressed on (it was luckily summer) till the poxy thing ran out of petrol on the side of the road at the end of the runway of RAF Lakenheath...
Those F-111's eliminated any sleep we might have gotten waiting for someone to get some more... finally a long walk was completed and we were on our way again...
All well until just north of the old North Weald fighter command base (can you tell I'm into military stuff???... I navigate in Europe by military installations..) - at this point both front tires blew and we called Taxis on the emergency phone and left the van by the side of the road...
Ahh the glory of Rock'n'Roll...
I was there. I didn't fancy going to Donington but went to the 3 warm up dates [Dunstable and London, The Venue being the other two].I don't remember much about the gig except of course Albert arrived late.
I do remember before the concert started Buck came out in casual gear and strummed [very quietly] the opening chords to 'ETI', presumably a last minute sound check. After a few seconds a half-hearted cheer went up as fans recognised him.
I hadn't seen the band too many times before West Runton but enjoyed it immensely, particularly as it was a small venue. I can remember the London gig was much poorer in comparison as Buck seemed to be in a bad mood. First and only time!
Yes I went to this one, having persuaded my parents to take a summer holiday in East Anglia so that I could see them. I remember opening 'Sounds' magazine one week and discovering to my delight that that BOC were going to be playing there as a warm-up for their Donnington appearance under their pseudonym Soft White Underbelly. This was intensely exciting as I was 18 at the time and probably at the peak of my BOC-obsession.
I'd seen them for the first time a couple of years previously on the Mirrors tour at Queens Hall, Leeds. I remember that occasion as being absolutely seminal - even though the venue in Leeds was a converted tram-shed the sound was awful.
Anyway I remember arriving in West Runton the day before the gig (I think) and quickly did a recce of the village, which didn't take long. We were staying in a B&B just over the road from the venue. I remember on the big day hanging about in the pub next to the venue chatting to the roadies with a mounting level of excitement. Started queing at about 6pm ish I think - no-one else there seemed to be much older than me (what is it about BOC that seemed to appeal to teenage boys so specifically)?
Anyway the gig itelf I don't remember too many specifics of. I was right at the front and it was seriously loud. The first thing I noticed was that Albert Bouchard appeared to have undergone a dramatic transformation - so much so that it was no longer Albert Bouchard! His stand-in sounded pretty good for about four numbers, after which everything ground to a halt. Eric Bloom & Buck Dharma started chatting to themselves quietly on stage as though it were a practice session - this was surreal. After what seemed like several minutes Albert took his seat and the gig resumed.
Of the songs performed I remember Dr Music, Burnin for You and Roadhouse Blues as being great live - the other numbers have become blurred in my memory. I cherished a couple of BOC plectrums that I managed to grab hold of at the gig. Marvellous stuff.
I saw BOC on a couple of later occasions later in 80s - at Birmingham in '84, and London in '85. By this time I think the band were in decline and the gigs were a relative disappointment.
Postscript: I revisited West Runton a couple of years ago and was saddened to discover that the Pavillion is no more - it is now a car park!
Yes I was there and what a GIG. I had only got into BOC about a year before with a copy of Tyranny I swapped with a mate and nearly wore it up.
We couldn't believe it when eagerly scanning Runtons gig list and there was Soft White Underbelly, the year before we had seen Ozzy with what I believe was his first Blizzard of Oz date and now a chance to see BOC well I still get a buzz from it today.
I was fifteen and mad about bands and gigs I went to School at Wroxham just a short train journey away from the Pavilion and school day gigs were great, we all use to tell our parents that our mates Dad was taking us to the gig and arrange for one of them to pick us up. Then bunk off for the day get the train from Wroxham station and head to the Village Inn at West Runton to get into the spirit etc of things, this usually was followed by a good pratting about on the beach then making sure of staking claim to the position of the head of the cue and dig in for the door opening.
Sometimes we even helped out with humping some gear for the bands, I regret never taking a camera but I think the combination of everything being drunk & smoked leading to many dubious situations I doubt any camera would have survived.
Saying all that I can't remember how I got to the BOC gig, but we were at the head of the cue with all senses in tact, wasn't going miss out on this one.
I was surprised at the set list on the web page thought they did more than fourteen numbers but saying that from what I can remember the songs were all full or extended versions and I wasn't disappointed with the selection.
I remember getting a couple of Buck's personalised plectrums, very impressive, which with much regret I have lost and if my memory serves me well a can of breaker lager Eric drunk from, this last item is also not in my possession (I'm not that sad yet) but sad enough to still have one of the Drums sticks Albert launched into the crowd, I think in Godzilla, always remember the story about it being one of his last gigs.
I have a memory rightly or wrongly of Buck playing a solo and finishing with breaking one by one the strings on his guitar as he finished, or did I imagine it! We were at the front all the way through the gig and to say it was awesome is a understatement.
Funnily enough I had a nostalgic trip the other night after seeing Ozzy on TOTP2 and dug out a few old singles and albums and found tucked in the Crazy Train single sleeve Blizzard of Oz autographs including the departed Randy Rhodes, and you comment about meeting the band made me think, we usually did meet them at great effort but I don't know why we didn't with BOC! there ya go.
I also found an old list of the gigs I made at the time, and by the time I left School in 82 I'd seen getting onto 40 bands some who disappeared without trace some who went onto big things and a few that stood out like this one, it was great to find this web-site and especially this page (the pictures were a bonus) bringing back some great memories of the hallowed places of West Runton Inn and Pavilion.
I remember the gig well and have some dodgy photos of the gig itself. There were 6 of us all aged about 19, who came up from Norwich and spent the day on the beach in eager anticipation. Cameron Self, Simon Rumsey, Paul Tremlin and myself who were all BOC devotees since around 1978 and we were joined by Nick Clements and John Grayling who I doubt had ever heard of them! Certainly I don't think they would admit they were even there now, but I have the photos!
I remember playing all the BOC albums on an ancient tape player over and over on the beach, much to the annoyance of the nearby families. We were certainly getting ourselves in the mood.
BOC playing this little venue in a small seaside village in North Norfolk was not such a surprise as some really top bands have played there over the years, and at Cromer Links down the road. I saw Gillan, Motorhead, Stiff Little Fingers, Def leppard, Saxon and the Damned there for eg. We therefore expected a big crowd and remember hanging around the Village Inn to make sure we got in. The Adnams was pretty tasty and we all had loads of chips! However, we needn't have worried as I reckon the venue was no more than 1/2 full. Most of those I told about the gig later said they hadn't believed me!
I recall hoping to bump into the band before the gig but we never got a glimpse. I reckon we went into the venue too soon.
The description of the gig itself has been well documented and I recall shouting out in unison with about 5 others "Where's Albert" (and I remember one plank shouting "Where's Joe" until he realized he'd chosen the wrong name!) However, there was no acknowledgement from Eric or Buck that anything was amiss. I do recall that when Albert did appear he didn't seem too enamoured with the stand-in and appeared to shove him aside, but maybe I imagined it.
Final memory was that it was all over too soon and we were heading back down the A140 full of great memories of what was a great gig. Shame about the next time we saw them at Donington. Standing in the constant drizzle with a Robin's Records bag over my head, dodging flying burgers and being underwhelmed by More, Blackfoot and Slade before being even more so by BOC and Whitesnake. AC/DC were a class act though and made the 3 hour wait to get out of the car park worth while.
We were wet and cold, but I was wetter the following year for the Genesis gig at Milton Keynes. That was to be my last ever open air gig. I vowed never to go again, but finally cracked and watched Peter Gabriel in summer 07 - again in a monsoon. Never Again!
I originally found a listing for this gig in the Saturday, 18 Jul 1981 edition of the "Evening Post":
Psst. Want to See a Big Band in Reading?
One of the bigest rock gigs Reading has known takes place next month - but don't tell anyone...!
Blue Oyster Cult, a huge name in the States and throughout Europe, bring their particular brand of heavy metal to Reading on August 19, but you are not supposed to know.
The gig is at the Top Rank, but the band are not being billed as the Cult. They are advertised under the name of Soft White Underbelly.
It's all to do with contractual clauses. You see, BOC are due to play the Donington rock festival on August 22 and apparently, they are not allowed to be advertised as a competing draw anywhere else in the days preceding the event.
But Kevin Heaton of the promoter Quicksilver says with a smile that if people realise Soft White Underbelly is really Blue Oyster Cult, he won't mind.
The gig will also be a big break for local band After Dark, who are scheduled to support the Cult, in front of possibly 2,000 punters.
Meanwhile, Blue Oyster Cult's new album, Fire of Unknown Origin, has just been released.
The promoter said it himself: "they are not allowed to be advertised as a competing draw anywhere else in the days preceding the event," yet here he was promoting the Reading gig - off-handedly, perhaps, but self-evidently, nevertheless - as a "BOC" gig...
Is it any wonder, then, that the Saturday, 8th Aug issue of the "Evening Post" brought the following bad news:
The Blue Oyster Cult - sorry, Soft White Underbelly - gig at Reading's Top Rank on August 19 has been cancelled.
It appears the band wanted to perform some warm-up gigs to the Donington rock festival, but has now been booked into The Venue in London, instead of Reading.
Obviously, we don't know that the promoter's loose lips sank this particular ship, but I'm sure it wouldn't have helped...
I originally found a review of this gig in the Friday, 21 Aug 1981 edition of "The Daily Telegraph":
Soft White Underbelly
By John Coldstream
Although at least one music journal had let the cat out of the bag, there was still just enough room to manipulate an earplug in the Venue when Blue Oyster Cult, one of the more spectacularly brutal Transatlantic combos, reverted to its 1971 name for a "low profile" prelude to the inevitable mayhem of Saturday's "Monsters of Rock" concert at Castle Donington.
The principle is admirable. Devotees see their idols in comparatively intimate surroundings without a thick grey line of bouncers making the gulf between audience and performer seem even wider than it always is at the more lucrative large-scale shows. Likewise the group if it has not forgotten how can relax a little delve among the mothballs and perhaps recall some of the sweat tears and motorway catering of yesteryear.
More is the pity, then, that the Underbelly should have treated the evening so pretentiously.
From the instant their arrival was announced "from New York City" they might as well have been up on the lofty outdoor platform which awaits them at the weekend. Certainly the amplifiers will need little adjustment or this foundation-trembling 95 minutes, measuring at least 8 on the Richter Scale, may well have shaken snow off the Alpine peaks being scaled by Miss Petula Clark and her von Trapps down the road at the Apollo.
Only when thev settled for simplicity, as in the Steppenwolf classic "Born to be Wild," did lead vocalist Eric Bloom and his four colleagues hint at a party spirit. Even "Joan Crawford" on record a dramatic piece with apt soundtrack effects from lead guitarist Donald Roeser became just another volley in Wednesday night's blitzkrieg.
If nothing else BOC, SWU - call them what you will - know the value of brevity. Albert Bouchard's drum solo on "Godzilla" lasted all of four minutes, punctuated by what sounded like the Goodyear airship in deflationary mood. Somehow symbolic, one felt.
As the dates grew closer the hints in the press that it really was Blue Oyster Cult playing under the Soft White Underbelly moniker became less subtle. It didn't matter to me - I had booked my tickets as soon as I had seen the dates announced-in fact, the person selling the tickets at the Venue ticket office mentioned that he had never heard of SWU and wondered what they were like. When I mentioned that it was BOC he said that he would be buying tickets too! A friend of mine who lived in Dunstable at the time still tells the story of how he would not believe that one of his favourite bands was playing at his local hall - he's eternally grateful that he let me convince him.
The Venue in London is long gone. As part of Richard Branson's Virgin empire it played host to many showcase and landmark gigs (from the likes of Allen Lanier's friend John Cale, The Cure, Yellow Magic Orchestra and even Tina Turner's comeback to stardom). To put some perspective on the event: BOC's latest album Fire Of Unknown Origin was gaining rave reviews; the last time that the band had played in London was 4 dates at the 4400 capacity Hammersmith Odeon and here they were playing a small venue in the heart of the city. It offered a "hot ticket" excitement and a ticket tout's Christmas. The venue has since been home to a clothing emporium (Dicky Dirts) and now a Fitness Centre.
It was an odd night at the Venue. They always opened the doors on time (I was told that the place, which was notoriously hot, always made a fortune on beer) but that night they kept everyone waiting outside on the pavement. When the doors finally opened there was a sudden surge-nevertheless I still got to where I wanted to be-just by Buck's mic stand.
We waited for what seemed to be an eternity. The stage had long since been fully prepared for the band and there were occasional announcements to apologise for the "technical" delay. I seem to remember my girlfriend being concerned that we would need to leave shortly to get the last bus home (remember when we didn't have night buses?). Hell, I was going to walk home (can't think that she was prepared to do the same!). Midway through one of the "technical" apologies, the lights went down and a deafening roar of approval came from the audience.
Opening with Dr Music, the band came across as angry and by the time they got to Heavy Metal (Black and Silver) with its feedback intro and outro they came across as positively violent. Only when they came to the next number did it become apparent that not all was well with the band. In typical showbiz fashion Eric announced that Albert "is gonna tell you about the next song". Albert in whinny sarcastic voice goes "yeah yeah, Albert's gonna tell you about the next song" and without another word he smashes into Cities On Flame. An amazing version and very intense.
Flaming Telepaths followed. For me the intensity of Eric captivating the audience into almost believing that the song was autobiographical made it all the more powerful. Since then it's pretty much been my fave BOC track.
The merciless rhythm that Albert pounded out during Veteran of the Psychic Wars seemed angry and created an almost hypnotic effect with the audience dancing to every beat similar to the beat that one would experience at a Queen concert during Radio Ga Ga.
I remember feeling slightly conned that I didn't witness the 5 guitars showstopper on this occasion, but despite Buck's spangled gold shirt all the band excelled themselves. This was one of their best gigs despite the fact that there did seem to be a mood onstage that only lifted once they got into the final number, Roadhouse Blues. Buck ending the show with some really athletic high kicks, some scorching solos and sacrificial string breaking.
The feedback from Dunstable the following night was that they were also late onstage and that that show too was very intense. It was only a few days' later at Castle Donnington's Monsters of Rock festival that I learnt of Albert Bouchard's departure from the band. From one of their best ever gigs to one of their worst in the space of a few days.
The Blue Oyster Cult fans were out in force for this 'undercover' warm-up gig for Castle Donington. Some were still wondering whether they'd been conned by a no-publicity stunt until they arrived to see Dunstable plastered with the notorious Kronos symbol.
T-shirt chic was the order of the day with all the fans checking out the hottest designs. Fortunately my 1976 Agents of Fortune pic was not duplicated. Many of the kids had attractively embroidered logos and slogans executed by their loving girlfriends (and mums?).
Dead on nine o'clock the PA announced 'From New York City, Soft White Underbelly', and there was Eric belting out THE RED AND THE BLACK (it's their colour scheme) to the citizens of Dunstable. The main surprise of the night came as Bloom introduced the band: 'Buck Dharma; Alan Lanier; Joe Bouchard; and tonight on drums, Rick Downey(?)'.
The jaws of dozens of aspiring drummers dropped as they realised that their hero hadn't made the gig. But it was OK - after EXTRA TERRESTRIAL INTELLIGENCE and JOAN CRAWFORD HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE: 'Oh here's Albert' said someone, and the world's top rock drummer wandered sheepishly onstage to batter the skins into submission for the rest of the evening.
The band: Buck warbled his way through BURNIN' FOR YOU looking like a Klingon Empire traffic warden in his silver lame tanktop; Alan (who looked absolutely DREADFUL) hopped from keyboards to impeccable harmony guitar to attempted frontman (but nobody gave him a mike); Joe looked singularly cheerful singing HOT RAILS TO HELL.
The minuses: Someone went into the middle 8 in the wrong place in OD'D ON LIFE ITSELF; Albert never put on a dinosaur head in GODZILLA; Eric didn't shoot firecrackers from his fingers in FLAMING WONDER TELEPATH; Buck was sloppier than usual.
The pluses: Buck's amazing E-bow feedback noise on HEAVY METAL BLACK AND SILVER; Albert hammering the snaredrum stand into something like a CB aerial in a crosswind for a shattering version of Michael Moorcock's answer to 'Apocalypse Now', VETERAN OF THE PSYCHIC WARS; and of course Eric Bloom holding the act in one piece, moving round the stage like a prowling vampire as he slashed blood from his palm in UNKNOWN TONGUE.
All too soon Joe was into his bass feature, presaging the moment when the smoke bombs went off wham into BORN TO BE WILD (good lord, are they still doing that?) and off they trooped. The carefully programmed encores were WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THIS PLACE and (would you believe) (DON'T FEAR) THE REAPER. Dead on 10.30 they were off and it was over; no CITIES ON FLAME, no LAST DAYS OF MAY, no ME262. 'Sorry I was late' said Albert.
POSTSCRIPT (27/8/81): I see from today's weeklies that the day after Dunstable, Albert Bouchard flew back to the States announcing that he had left the band, dooming them to play a duff set at Castle Donington and breaking up what must be by now one of the longest-lived unchanged rock band lineups in rock band history (along with Quo). Don't do it, Albert! Think again! The Stalk Forrest Group needed you! The Soft White Underbelly needed you! Don't quit on BOC just as the band gets its first major chart album!
Mick Godwin, Bath, August 1981.
Note (1995): I am not absolutely sure of the stand-in drummer's name, but Rick Downey is the drummer on the 1982 Extra Terrestrial Live album, so he is the most likely candidate - MG.
Happened to see the advert for this in "Sounds" or some-such, one of the warm-up gigs for Monsters of Rock. In many ways my favourite gig. I'd travelled some distance to get there and had to stop overnight so, as you do, I went to the police station to ask if they knew anywhere to stay (I think I actually wanted them to put me up in the cells overnight!) They recommended some friend or other and I ended up sleeping in some kid's bedroom (dunno where he slept).
Got to the venue about 4-5 hours before the band were due to come on stage, saw some cool SWU posters and, after asking nicely, managed to pinch one. Got chatting to some of the guys in the queue and, when some fancy car pulled up round the back, we took it in turns to go and chat to Allen. Of course I was too awestruck to have a sensible conversation, I was even overwhelmed by the other fans, some of whom had previously travelled to the States to see them. Allen was impressed with my poster, but, when I wouldn't let him have it, was gracious enough to sign it for me.
When the doors finally opened, managed to get a spot right at the front. The stage there was so low that, at 6' 4" I felt I was actually on stage with them. Being a "newbie" to live shows I didn't notice that something was "up" until Eric introduced the band and I realised that Rick Downey was on the drums (and doing a fine job!)
Albert showed up about 3/4 of the way thru' the show, in time to do his "Godzilla" bit anyway. A fine set with a good variety of old and new, no "Astronomy" and still no "Last Days of May", but a blinding version of "Veteran".
At the end of the show I managed to pick up a Buck Plectrum and I actually had hold of one of Albert's last drumsticks. Unfortunately the other end was being held by some large, hairy, greasy biker who threatened to kill me if I didn't Let Go. Oh Well....
Stumbled across your site and thought I would share with you my SWF nite at Dunstable
Went with my brother and a couple of mates, wasn't very well publicised, so only die hard fans were there.
Doors opened and after a mad rush, We were leaning on the stage, dead centre, at the feet of Rock Gods.
It was 26 years ago, so the memory fades, it was a good gig, picked up a discarded Buck Dharma plectrum which I still have.
Albert was very late and after the gig we were walking outside and we came across this tiny guy dressed up in a silver suit. He was well pissed off and we recognised him as Albert.
He had just been fired by the band and was not happy, he grabbed this fence post out of the ground and began hitting this hire car that had let him down, BANG BANG BANG this car was a mess, by the time he had finished, we didn't try to stop him, he was a thing possessed .
So my claim to fame is that I witnessed Albert Bouchard knocking 7 bells out of his car after being fired.
Went on to see the band at Donnington, later that week, just wasn't loud enough on the day and it was a poor show, shame.
May 1978. The Last Days of May in fact, and things were progressing normally for a 15 year old I suppose. Stuck in my bedroom thinking about Caroline Jones and whether we'd ever really get it together, listening to a few sounds, and waiting for Top of the Pops to start. You know the time, end of punk, beginning of Disco and strange hybrid bands. All very interesting but nothing to change your life, nothing to make a stand over. Well not until that night!!!
(Don't Fear) The Reaper on TOTP that night started a fire in me that still burns brightly today. I bought the single, then the Agents of Fortune album. Introduced my brother to the band and we became avid collectors of any BOC stuff. However we seemed to be a fan club of two. In those days AC/DC, Rainbow, Thin Lizzy, UFO Led Zepellin and the like ruled, all great bands but Hey Guys for Christ sake listen to Secret Treaties. I know Stairway to Heavens a fucking great song but listen to Astronomy. Our pleas fell mostly on deaf ears.
Three years went by, and the legend grew. There was so little info on the band. So few interviews, or reviews of their concerts and what was said just made them all the more mysterious. By this time we were desperate to see them live. Cultasaurus Erectus had gone some way to heightening awareness and Buck Dharma was now mentioned in magazine polls. Life was good although it still wasn't quite happening with Caroline.
Anyway in early '81 news broke of the 2nd annual Donnington"Monsters of Rock Festival." AC/DC Whitesnake and wonder of wonders Blue Oyster Cult. Saturday 22nd August 1981 was to be the red letter day. We managed to round up one of my brothers mates who was a big AC/DC fan and two of my mates who I had bombarded over the years with a compilation tape whenever we went out in a car. When I tell you the tape ran RU Ready 2 Rock and Astronomy live, Golden Age, Telepaths, D&Sub, Cities on Flame, Last Days of May, Godzilla, and I Love the Night they should be convinced by now and anyway the one lad was the only one who had a car and could actually drive at that point in time so he had to come. I managed to coax the necessary £10 off each of them and sent for the tickets.
The days leading up to the concert were spent in glorious anticipation. My first outdoor gig, staying overnight on the site and and and Well it's BOC for Christs sake. My denim jacket although sporting a couple of BOC patches and badges along side John Miles(check out the "Zaragon" album) Nazareth and Bad Company did not do the band justice. So I talked nicely to my girlfriend (not Caroline unfortunately) and she embroided the back with the band name and logo. She did a fantastic job and I still have the jacket. It doesn't fit me anymore but as an interesting footnote to this story, my current girlfriend (still not Caroline) wore it to the 2002 Astoria gig.
The eve of the gig arrived and we gathered at Tug's place (the guy with the car). Compilation tapes at the ready we started out, five 17/18 year olds on a great adventure.
We arrived early evening and parked next to a van with the legend "Hendrix Lives" painted on the side. This vans picture subsequently turned up in one of the music papers reviews although we failed to make the photo. There didn't seem a lot else to do so we put up the tent and had an early night in anticipation of tomorrows festivities.
At this point I think I should reiterate that this was our first open air concert and it would be fair to say we were a little naive. We hadn't brought any breakfast thinking we would get something there. No such luck. The day had started badly and would go steadily downhill. We passed through the gates at 10.30 (far too early) and began to look around. Shortly afterwards it started to rain. We wandered round and managed to get a burger or should I say what passed for a burger on this greyest of days. I began to play spot the t-shirt and it has to be said that our boys were not well represented. I bought a programme and apart from their name on the front cover, BOC didn't feature at all. This was not looking so good. By this time we were soaked and we gazed around in awe at the people who had brought groundsheets, umbrellas and picnic hampers crammed with food and beer. We couldn't even sit down. The magic was fading fast!!!
Cold and fairly miserable by now the entertainment started and our spirits lifted and there were a few signs that there were actually some people there who were BOC fans. Anyway first up were a band called More and I'm sorry to say I cannot remember a single thing about them. Blackfoot were next. A band not heard much in the U.K. at that time. I enjoyed them and have since come to like a lot of their stuff. Next up were Slade. This was a band that I'd loved as a kid growing up as I did in the glam rock era but of course it wasn't cool to like them any more and they were hardly heavy rock's finest, were they? Well apparently they were because already on something of a revival they went down a storm and created a real party atmosphere. The only downside of this was that everybody decided to throw anything into the air that they could get their hands on and the sky became a flowing ocean of toilet rolls, chicken legs, paper aeroplanes and mostly plastic bottles and cans full of piss. Testament to the fact that the toilet facilities were poor and already overflowing. Well done Slade great show.
A hush fell over Donnington. Was it a lull before another thunderous storm. Were people settling back to relax before the big event or were they just knackered after throwing bottles of piss around for half an hour. It seemed the latter when sometime later BOC took the stage to muted applause.
Following Slade I went for a walk in an effort to get warm. It had stopped raining but was still overcast. BOC fans were more visable now, a few flags and t-shirts I hadn't seen before. There was even someone in a magnificent hooded robe with a huge logo on the back. This was better and I returned to the stage area full of hope and youthful exuberence. We got as close to the front as we could whilst maintaining a full view of the stage. There came the usual introduction the Amazing Blue Oyster Cult........ and the crowd hardly exploded, but hey there they were, my boys my band(and my brothers) this was the moment I'd waited three years for. The Red and the Black..... Yeah.....Alright......Cool... except it wasn't!!!
Something was clearly wrong, the sound was awful and who the hell is that on drums. Where the Fuck is Albert. The band was ill at ease and Buck, man that golden suit, what were you thinking of. If anything the sound was worse during ETI and Heavy Metal a song that sounds turgid at the best of times. It has been well documented that AC/DC probably sabotaged this show and that Albert was fired the night before so they were on a loser to start. The crowd were starting to get restless and I feared another sky full of piss. Then they did something a bit different. The intro to Joan Crawford was an attention grabber and the sound seemed better. The crowd cheered up......a bit. Buck took over for Burning for you and a storming Hot Rails to Hell helped the cause. The familiar anthems of Godzilla and Reaper made sure the crowd weren't gonna kill them and were enough to get them a grudging encore and the choice of Roadhouse Blues was good because it even got them singing along, however when they left the stage this time there was no clamour for them to return.
My first BOC experience had come and gone. A band on the verge of making it big in the U.K. had well and truely blown it. You can blame Albert you can blame AC/DC but then BOC have not been helpful to other bands in the past. Ask Lemmy!! Like the loser of a cup final, they just weren't good enough on the day. The other lads just turned to us and shrugged their shoulders. Would I ever see them again. The band that is not my mates.
Although Whitesnake were excellent it was all hard work after BOC's departure and the atmosphere wasn't really there for me anymore. AC/DC started brilliantly, big bell and all but after 3 or 4 songs I made my way back to the car and fell asleep. I reached out but Caroline wasn't there, but that's the way it goes at these rock 'n' roll shows...
The local heavy metal joint in Dundee at the time was the Centre Bar and a bus was duly organised to leave at closing time the night before. (a word of advice, if you are faced with an 8 hour coach ride on a bus with no loo's don't have 6 "black and tans" before you set off)
The coach journey was long and uncomfortable and we got into Donington Park around 9.30am, 4 hours before any bands started and at least 8 before BÖC were due on.
This being 1981 Tommy Vance was the logical choice for compere. Unfortunately he thought the logical choice for apparel was a red and white bomber jacket, red baseball cap and white trousers. He lasted (I counted) about 30 seconds before the first salvo of apples, chicken curry and plastic bottles of piss was airborne.
1st band up, Diamond Head, fared no better, Southern boogie merchants Blackfoot got some (undeserved) respect and the food fight became confined to the crowd. Most bikers just put their helmets back on and accepted the inevitable.
Slade fresh from their triumph at the previous years Reading were next up with BÖC to follow. Unfortunately (but predictably) they went down a storm, played Merry Xmas Everybody (in August) and fired tons of loo rolls into the crowd towards the end of their set. My heart sank when they launched into Born to be Wild, knowing it was one of BÖC's sure-fire festival pleasers. Follow that!!
I managed to get down the slope nearer the front in anticipation of my hero's appearance. Looking around there weren't too many other cultophiles there, one noticeable exception being a guy in an all white reaper cloak carrying a scythe.
3 things stuck me instantly about the BÖC set: The sound was the worst it had been all day, Buck had lost all dress sense, and Albert looked a lot different in real life! The crowd response was at best indifferent and BÖC's hearts clearly were not in it. There was no Harley on stage, the Godzilla effects sounded silly and only DFTR made any impact. (to his credit Joe Bouchard did pull off a killer bass solo).
Dejected, I waded back through the hoards of Whitesnake fans that had packed in behind me, watched them play "Ain't no love in the heart of the city" before finding my way back to the bus to sleep my disappointment off during the AC/DC set!
A couple of days later I heard about Albert's departure and growing rumours of sabotage with the sound and lights. Within a week I realised I had an unwanted souvenir from the gig----chickenpox!!
Firstly, you have to know that Blue Oyster Cult are my favourite band.
You have to look at the whole picture. Let me take you back a couple of months before that gig. Most of the bands including the two headliners AC/DC and Whitesnake had been announced. When the British music press (Sounds, NME, Melody Maker, Kerrang et al) announced that BÖC were to play, more was written on them than the two 'main' bands. They talked that the US stage show was to be brought over in its entirety (as it was the only stage in the UK at the time that could take it) with 40 foot Godzilla and Joan Crawford, and Harley Davidson's on stage. The expectation was high and that from some reports the other two bands were less important. After all, a lot of British (xenophobic when it came to rock music at the time) rock fans hadn't heard BÖC, apart from Don't Fear The Reaper.
A couple of weeks before the show, shows were announced that legendary rockers Soft White Underbelly were in the UK to play a couple of gigs, 'a band that had later gone on to cult status'. With pictures of crossed guitars the press lead no misapprehension that these gigs were not to be missed (I did). Again, a lot of space was taken up. The SWU gigs were a success, with reports (the week/issue before Donington) that with nothing but stripped down lighting and good music, these were possibly the best shows that the attendants had been to.
The party that I went down with arrived at Donington around 10 the night before, sleeping in the van/walking around getting that festival atmosphere. It may have been around 12'ish that some people came around selling BÖC merchandise (T-shirts etc). I dismissed these as unofficial items and didn't bother. However, later around a camp fire, chatting to another BÖC fan, I learned that the seller's were BÖC roadies, and that the stuff was official (doh!) but they didn't know why(!).
We got into Donington that morning. Went to the merchandising stalls to buy programme and T-shirt. Opened the programme, second page a list of bands playing, lots of pictures of the other bands except BÖC. The listing on the second page was the only mention of BÖC. T-shirt didn't have BÖC on at all, and if my memory serves me correctly, one of the bands were announced after BÖC(!).
Got to the stage area. The PA consisted of numerous, albeit large, full range cabs. These were relatively a new concept, OK for indoors (first time in the Europe that they were used outdoors), but without the usual HF/MHF long throw horns and lower range cabs/bins, I was concerned that they could cope.
Prior to BÖC, the British band Slade did a ripping set if you were into them (I still considered them a glam rock joke). Their sound was excellent, and dispelled my fears (from where I was standing) concerning the PA.
After a long wait and rain shower, the stage was prepared for BÖC. On they walked (Buck what were you wearing!), Albert looked different! Dominance and Submission rang out, petered out, and fell flat. The sound was horrendous. Feedback and totally indiscernible. There was response to the Eric/Crowd D & S chant but the sound was going worse by the minute. Roadies (remember the really fat one) ran on stage. Eric announced to give them a few minutes (about ten) as there was a broken main amp, Buck's. Opening the back of Bucks (at that time Mesa Boogie if I recall) amp. Proceeded to check it and ended up for the rest of the set, with a screwdriver (yes I was that close) stuck in the back (thought at the time, why only one amp!).
Things didn't get better, Buck's sound was intermittent, and the whole PA sound was dreadful. The band knew and the British crowd responded accordingly. Joan Crawford, Eric said that they had been stopped by the 'power that be' from using the JC effigy for 'safety reasons'. Godzilla, a similar announcement, and Roadhouse Blues, 'sorry we could use the bike either so here's a recording of it. The band played diligently but with the ever deteriorating sound the crowd lost it. Don't Fear the Reaper, sound worse, crowd response (was that the only one they knew!), but a lost cause. The party I went down with (and these knew the songs but were there for AC/DC) turned to me and said 'they were crap'.
A long wait. Evening came, with the sun setting, Whitesnake came on (where did all these women come from!). Sound excellent, as it had been for Slade, but louder. The bell tolled, a huge metal thing suspended over the stage, AC/DC were on. Again sound volume perfect.
The press had a field day with the BÖC fiasco. Yes I saw the picture of Eric jumping the commemorative mirror. He did say they 'sucked'. Also, it was announced that Albert had left the night before, and that Rick had stepped in (as he had, had to do before!) at the last minute as Albert had forgot to mention that he was returning to the US (was this is why there was so much animosity between the band and Al). One press report, stated that it was the their sound engineer's fault as the he had tried to rectify the problems by simply turning up the volume taking out over half of the wet PA cabs.
I have tried to give as (apart from some of the brackets) a true unbiased reflection of the events.
Now here's my biased view:
Quite simply, they were sabotaged!
Here's a few extra comments from "The really fat one":
Donington was a bad situation that just got worse... Albert had left and this would be RD's first full official gig with the band...
I wrote a somewhat detailed account of this days events (from my perspective) on the J&A board under "Old Roadies Never Die"...
Click here to see a copy...
Buck Dharma on the BDTE after being asked did he remember Donington:
I vaguely remember it.. : ) Donington was the first show we played without Albert Bouchard, Rick Downey [our Lighting designer] taking over the drum throne, AC/DC's production people sabotaging our sound, [actually not an unusual occurrance, especially for British bands of that era, it was common that the headliner made sure support acts sounded 'worse' than them] it wasn't a great day for us.
Ex-BOC soundman George Geranios has kindly written an informative piece for this site about the Donington disaster from the BOC perspective. Buck Dharma described it on the BDTE as:
A cogent and well written piece by George G. Purposely maladjusted compressors, lost magic smoke, honest system malfunctions, all I know was, we were playing our absolute hearts out, and it was like no one could hear us. No vibe whatsoever. We never expected to do better than the headliners, but we wanted to do as good as we played. Still pisses me off to this day.
It was never BOC's policy to "sandbag" support acts, no matter what Lemmy thinks. The number of acts that went on to greatness after supporting BOC on tour is a testament to that. This was in my experience a primarily British routine, and if it was done at all, it was done as a matter of policy by the sound company's system engineer. Since the headliner was contracting and paying for the sound company, maybe they felt a responsibility to provide the "best" sound for the headliner, but it's a little bit of volume, not screwing the support acts.
I can think of only one instance of sabotage, when a light rig employee, out of misguided loyalty, lifted the ground on the three phase main power, causing havoc with the sound and lights during an Aerosmith support gig in Springfield, MA in the day. This guy then went into the locker room and destroyed a porcelain china toilet. Not our doing, although it was hard to convince Aerosmith of that.
BOC has virtually always been on the receiving end of this kind of stuff. I must say, all the acts we're taking about have gotten a lot more mellow over the years. Nice change.
To see George's article, click here.
My first gig was meant to be the infamous Donnington appearance. A bus had been set up from a local record shop in Aberdeen. Departure was 8.00pm on the Friday night. We arrived at the departure point (me with a boc flag which took it's design from Eric's cape on the ST cover). To cut a long story short the bus didn't turn up. Even now my blood boils at the memory. It would be 3 years before I had the chance to see them.
Check out this link for some Donington memories:
Here is the synopsis I gave to James Durbin when I saw him live in Washington State on the 2011 American Idol Tour. I gave him a T-shirt from this concert since he collects Heavy Metal Memorabilia... I still have the one I wore the most which is really a raggedy old thing by now :-) but still in my "treasured T-shirt drawer".
I got my T-shirts when I was in the military and stationed in Frankfurt, West Germany. The concert was in Darmstadt, West Germany on 8/23/81. My friends Larry, Bo, Pat, Dave and Mindy and I drove to the concert grounds the night before. We camped out in tents, next to the concert site the night before as a lot of other concert goers did. It was an all day concert and we wanted to be there early enough to hear the first band and get a good place on the stadium grounds. Even coming the night before, did not get us a great spot for the concert. We were probably about half way back.
The arena was just a huge field (perhaps about 15-20 acres) and all you could see was wall to wall people on blankets. It reminded me of pictures I had seen of Woodstock, except people were very “tame” and well behaved... Many of us had camped out the night before, and “partied” most the night... so we were pretty tired the next day. There had been so much partying the night before that a lot of people laid down on their blankets exhausted, and listened to great music all day long. Many fell in and out of sleep due to the night before.
Everyone brought blankets, as well as food and of course in this time period there were plenty of drugs and drink to be found. People shared what they had brought with people they had never met before. The feeling of brotherhood was phenomenal. It was the greatest concert I have ever been to. It is a shame concerts cannot be like that anymore.
These days you would have all kinds of fights and problems... back then no matter how drunk or stoned people were, fights did not erupt. Everyone was there to have a good time, and if someone started to get out of hand, someone in their group would calm them down and get them under control. Everyone just wanted to have a good time, and people policed themselves.
Concerts were different then and most concerts in Germany were actually a big party. They did not check what you brought with you back in those days -- there was no screening for weapons, alcohol or drugs. There did not need to be. People were peaceful and just there to listen to music.
It was an amazing time in history. You could have incredible concerts, and people were peaceful. When I go to concerts these days, I cannot help but compare. Concerts are not nearly as much fun anymore, but outdoor concerts are still better than any other kind!
This gig was confirmed on the gig history page of the "kfmx.com" site:
Anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes maybe...?
Found a review of this show in the September 4, 1981, issue of the University Daily newspaper of Texas Tech.
It mentions a band named Turnabout (replacing Danny Joe Brown) opening for Foghat and BÖC.
Foghat Rocks, BOC Shows Off
by Brooks Brown
UD Entertainment Writer
Rock bands Turnabout, Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult took the stage Wednesday night in the Lubbock Memorial Colisieum for an evening like Lubbock hasn't seen in a long time.
Turnabout opened the show for a cancelled Danny Joe Brown and managed to bore the crowd of 6,100 before the evening really began.
However, when Foghat took the stage for an hour and fifteen minutes of energized rock, the audience recovered.
The set started out slow for the crowd, but as Foghat continued, they managed to convince the audience to come around to their way of thinking.
Foghat was in top form when they opened at 9:30 p.m. with "Stone Blue", the title song off their sixth album. The decibel level was a little high but to some that is what rock 'n' roll is all about.
Foghat continued with "Eight Days on the Road", another rocker, before breaking into "Wide Boy," a song off their latest album "Girls to Chat and Boys to Bounce." "Wide Boy" had a nice new wave rhythm that made it seem as if the band is changing with the times.
But that was not the case as Foghat then broke into one of their biggest hits "Fool for the City." The sound on this cut was perfect by Coliseum standards. Lead guitarist Erik Cartwright provided excellent licks on his guitar before drummer Roger Earl took over for a short solo.
Foghat then broke into another song off the new album called "Love Zone." "Love Zone" is a sad rock song that turned out that way - sad.
The band took a break and lead vocalist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett took the stage for a solo of "Third Time Love." The sound was right for this one as "Lonesome" enthralled the audience with his voice and electric piano.
The rest of the band returned to the stage for the remainder of the set with some serious rock music.
Foghat continued the set with two songs from the new album, "Weekend Driver" and their latest hit "Live Now, Pay Later."
Foghat finished with the song everyone was waiting for, "Slow Ride."
As usual the crowd got on their feet for more and Foghat returned with an excellent rendition of "I Just Wanna Make Love to You."
No gimmicks, just pure rock 'n' roll.
When Blue Oyster Cult took the stage the story is a different one. Sometime during the stage change, someone must have turned up the volume about 50 decibels. The music was inaudible but the audience didn't care. They wanted more.
The big hits of the night were "I'm Burning," "Seven Screaming Ladies," "Godzilla," their version of "Born to Be Wild," and the encore "Don't Fear the Reaper."
The first two were probably the best performed by BOC. When the band broke into "Gozilla" the stage show began. With shadows on the ceiling and smoke coming from behind the drummer the song lost it's flavor.
The next song was "Born to Be Wild" and for this song the band brought out a motorcycle to highlight the song which closed the set.
The audience brought the band back for a final "Don't Fear the Reaper."
Blue Oyster Cult performed credibly but relied on their special effects for the crowd's appreciation. This was effective for most of the audience. For others, the music that Foghat supplied was superior to any stage show.
Thanks for that Ian. I especially enjoyed this bit:
The big hits of the night were "I'm Burning," "Seven Screaming Ladies"
Hmmm... with that in mind, I couldn't help noticing that the majority of the review dealt with Foghat, and that the photo accompanying the review was also of Foghat, who were nominally the support band...
A less charitable person than myself might describe the review as somewhat Foghat-heavy, if not downright a tad biased...
BTW: the 22 Sept 1981 issue of the UD printed this rebuttal letter to the editor:
In regards to Brooks Brown's UD 9-17-81 review of the recent Triumph concert, we strongly disagree. His listless view of the concert gives no credit to the exceptional talent exhibited by the members of this Canadian rock power. Apparently, Mr. Brown was more concerned with English 130 class ( Essentials of English Usage ) than with the quality of the show. He also chose to ignore Frank Marino and Riot, who, by the way, are not a New Wave band.
Furthermore, this is not the first time that Mr. Brown's ignorance of rock music has been exhibited within these hallowed pages. His review of the Foghat Blue Oyster Cult concert was also highly inaccurate (apparently, he was studying that night too. )
In the future, please have someone accompany Mr. Brown to these events; not only to carry his English homework, but also to help him cntique the show ("No, Mr. Brown, the stage is the other way " )
Todd A. Niemeyer
The Billboard stats above reckon a band called "Enemy" opened - does anybody know for sure?
Deen Castronovo his band The Enemy opened for Foghat and BOC for this show and the following one in Phoenix, Arizona.
Deen is now the drummer for Journey - replaced Steve Smith in 1998.
Again, the Billboard stats above reckon "Enemy" opened - does anybody know anything about this?
Hello, I've been looking at your site for a couple of weeks now. Great job. I wanted to tell you about the concert I saw in Norman, Ok.
I remember some of the show, not all of it. Foghat played before BOC and they were great, but BOC blew the house down.
They opened with "Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" as about 2 or 3 dozen men dressed in black monk robes walked out on stage holding big white candles. Really cool.
I vividly recall "Godzilla" because they had their gigantic "Godzilla" monster. It roarded loudly as it came from the back of the stage on some big forklift apparatus. Smoke came out of its mouth and its eyes were red lazers.
Also, a fabulous set piece. They did "Burnin' For You", "Cities On Flame", "Reaper"(of course).
Those are the only other songs I remember, except for the encore which was "Born To Be Wild" as Eric rode out on stage on a beautiful Harley chopper.
Very memorable closing and all in all one of the greatest concerts I have ever seen, with Buck figuring prominantly on every song.
I wish I could recall more, but such is the fate of growing old. I hope this helps you with your site.
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
I attended the 9/11/81 show at the Philadelphia Spectrum. Foghat was indeed the opener, as noted in your Giglopedia.
However, there was a second opening act: The Outlaws. It was a weird pairing -- what concert promoter came up with that one?!?! More of a triple bill, really, as each act did a full set, with encores.
We were on the floor, about 5 or 6 deep from the barricade in front of Dave Peverett. The bill was a bit like the Crack The Sky/Sanford Townsend Band/BOC show at the Spectrum in 1978 -- Crack The Sky (who truly rocked) and BOC fit, but the Sanford Townsend Band (note: not Sanford & Townsend), while nice enough, was not a rock act.
The running order for this show was actually Whitford St. Holmes/Foghat/BOC. I've never seen The Outlaws!!
I also remember not knowing who WSH was at the time and going home later to research who they were. I've kept a log of all the concerts I've been to since I was a teenager and that's who I've got written for that show.
There's no way I could have written Whitford St. Holmes if I'd never even heard of them at the time.
That was my first show ever at The Spectrum. Rather ironic as I am writing this on the day [23 Nov 2010] they started to demolish that building. Definitely no Outlaws there.
Foghat and BOC both kicked some serious ass that night. That Roadhouse Blues was out of hand too.
Great memories of both the band and the building.
I attended this show in RI. BOC once again put on an awesome concert.
When they did godzilla they had a huge mechanical godzilla come out on stage with red lasers for eyes blowing fog out of it's mouth - great special effects.
Foghat also did a great set. Whitford St. Holmes was fair.
GREAT SHOW !!!!
Although, some guy found his way on stage and climbed up the lighting... He was discovered and the show was stopped mid-way-through, as crew members went chasing after this stage trespasser, like a cat stuck up a tree, the guy tried to go higher and higher until he gave up. About 15 minutes later the house lights went back down and the band finished the set.
I really wish I had a tape of this show, it was quite amazing. WHITFORD/ST. HOLMES were real cool to see (I had already bought their LP, and knew exactly who they were) FOGHAT were just fine... But BOC were tops...
My first time seeing BOC...
Hi I love Blue Oyster Cult I can add a missing date sept 13 1981 Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat at the Springfield civic center mass... What an awesome show!!!!! I also still have a t-shirt 3/4 sleeves mint condition...
I also saw the Black and Blue tour date which you do have sept 21 1980 at springfield civic center BOC was sooooo great way better than Sabbath and Sabbath was very good anyhow!!!!!
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
The Springfield Union Sept. 15, 1981 review only mentions Foghat and BOC, plus an audience of 4,708. Would have thought they'd mention Brad on the bottom of the bill...
Well, you'd think so, but I've trawled through enough of these newspaper reviews to realise that doesn't necessarily mean they didn't play just because the reviewer didn't mention them. I suppose it's a bit like the old saying: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence... :-)
I always like to see newspaper reviews, of course, but I always try to treat them with a slight air of caution. For example, I've seen a reviewer even miss off any mention of the headliner because they preferred the band who was second on the bill!! Or else, sometimes they're late for the gig and miss the openers, or can't find room for them in their required word count for their piece. Sometimes a copy editor might snip out the paragraph detailing the opening act to make room for an extra advert etc...
That's why I always like to get a confirmation (or otherwise) from an actual fan who went to the gig...
I can confirm Whitford St. Holmes opened because I was there.
I'm pretty sure it was a last minute booking type thing because we didn't even know they were playing until we got there and started hearing rumblings of them playing.
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Yes there was opener. I always thought it was Sammy Hagar... but Whitford St. Holmes sounds more like it.
I don't recall Whitford St. Holmes playing... I just checked my BOC stuff. The ad from Buffalo Courier Express had BOC, Foghat and "Special Guest".
I sat in the lower gods just to the right of the stage, next to Joe, in front of a wall of speakers.
This gig was mentioned in the Palladium-Times, August 26, 1981:
Tuesday, Sept. 15, Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat invade the Buffalo Aud for a night of heavy tunes;
Reading a feature on BOC in the 13 Sept 1981 edition of the Pittsburgh Press printed to advertise this upcoming gig, I was interested to note that they said the opening band was going to be Shooting Star.
I was also amused to read the following: "Something else that makes the Cult happy is its stability. In 13 years together, the quintet has never had a personnel change."
I can just picture all those Pittsburgh Press readers who turned up for the gig wondering who the guy with the afro was on drums...
Bummer show for me. We got there early, had no tickets, but would scalp. My friends hooked up with a guy that had 3 tickets, and bought them, leaving me in the cold. Their tickets were yellow section, about 1/2 way up. I was pissed, and promised I'd go one better, and wound up getting a 14th row, for face value from a fan:)
My friends saw me on the floor, and were cheesed off, LOL! Moved up to the 2nd row in front of Joe for the BOC set.
First thought, Hey Albert grew the Fro back. No, who the fuck is that guy? Seems BOC had "forgotten" they had a new drummer, and conveniently didn't mention it in any press before starting this tour.
I was bummed all night, even getting a new style pick from Joe only helped a little. My friends never realized Bouchard wasn't there, until we met up afterwards and I told them.
One funny thing I remembered today about the foghat BOC MSG NYC 81 show... at one point, Bloom started nudging Joe B and indicated he should look down. Well of course I looked too, and there were a bunch of Redcaps scattered on the stage. When Joe started laughing and asking Bloom where they came from, Eric pointed to his vest pocket:)
Don't know if you want to share that one, tho ;)
Not definitive but a good guess that the first 3 songs of 18 Sept 1981 show were most likely:
Same as 11 Sept and 20 Sept shows from that same tour leg.
I was at the 18 Sept show, but don't remember much else from way back then - wasn't writing down setlists yet ;)
I know for a fact that Whitford St. Holmes were not on the Madison Square Garden bill on September 18, 1981. That was my first ever concert, and I would have definitely remembered them opening the show.
Whitford St. Holmes Band was pretty awesome. Foghat was so loud I thought my ears were bleeding when they played Honey Hush.
But the highlights of the night was when BOC played Joan Crawford and Veteran of the Psychic Wars. I think it was the first time I saw Buck wearing that metallic spaceman get up.
Plus it was the last time that I saw a show at the Gaaaaden.
This was my BOC first show ever. Just started my senior year in High School and my friend Mike gave me a ticket as a gift. He had seen great shows on the Mirrors and Cultosaurus tours so he was definitely trying to get me to check them out.
Besides, any excuse to party in Boston back in those times was a welcome treat! I believe this was my first Gaaaaaaaden show I ever saw.
The opening act was a snoozer for me and then Foghat came on. I remember thinking that I could have easily sat in my bedroom and put the Foghat Live album on my turntable and would be listening to the same show I was seeing live at the time. They finally finished up and then BOC took the stage....
I don't have a set list for the show but I do remember being blown away by BOC's performance. I really didn't know about the turmoil going on in the band during this year and from the stage performance, I wouldn't have know anything was wrong.
I do remember hearing the 5 songs from their new album Fire of Unknown Origin... The Title Track, Burning, Veterans, Heavy Metal, & Joan Crawford. I had picked up the album a few weeks before the show so I knew those songs very well.
All of the songs they played were great versions... especially the Veterans. Buck's solo on this song was just sick! I think the live version of that song cemented my BOC fan status.
Buck was just incredible the entire show. Although he did look stupid in his silver spacesuit, his playing more than made up for that fashion move!
I also remember the Godzilla mask on Rick's head during the drum solo, as I remember Eric driving out on the Harley for Born To Be Wild.
And, of course... Don't Fear The Reaper. I remember feeling very satisfied and happy walking back to the car after the show.
All in all, the night was a great time for this high school student. Thankfully it was on a Friday night so I could sleep in the next day!
New Haven -Sept 20 - Whitford StHolmes on the bill also [BOC headline, foghat middle, WS opening]
My name is Jack Tomak and I was one of the lead/rythym guitarists for a band called POET back in 1981. I went searching in BOC's archives to see if we were listed in the billing and we were not.
On your archive blog you requested some info for Tuesday, Sept 22, 1981. So here it is..
We were the opening act for BOC with Foghat (the middle act) as special guests at the concert, which was sponsored by GLU92 (radio station at the time) in Johnstown, PA at the War Memorial.
We were all in a tizzy of sorts over this opportunity at the time. Our lead singer knew some folks over at the radio station and landed us this gig of a lifetime. It was phenomenal to say the least... and I could hardly believe it!
The lineup for our band was Dennis Regan (Lead Vocals), Frank Genovese (Lead/rhythm guitar/vocals), Me - Jack Tomak (Lead/rhythm guitar)... Cant really remember the bass player... i think his name was Dave Putnam, Billy Ross (Keyboard/vocals), and Mark Weakland (Drums).
At the time, we were an all original song band that formed just six weeks before playing at this venue. Forgive me it has been a long time since then and I dont remember if we played any covers at this concert.
Opening for BOC and Foghat was a great experience and one I will never forget. Twenty-nine years have past since our 30 minutes of fame (double the usual), and after reading some of the posts on your blog some of the foggy memories of that moment have come to light.
BOC's stage show was unsurpassed and the best I've ever seen: great music, lights, and effects (laser, fog, Godzilla head, and motorcycle). Beyond was the musician/showmanship of the band members.
I really was unfamiliar with the history of BOC, but what I saw was unparalleled in comparison to other bands. What I remember the most was how powerful the drummer was and the stage presence of Buck Dharma and even the keyboardist with his rocking keys swaying back and forth.
Mr. Roeser blew me away. He owned that stage at one point playing his guitar raised over his head and finally busting all of its strings in one of their songs - mostly likely during an encore song.
BOC is definitely an amazing band with great imagination and musical creativity. It's no wonder they are one of the great legends of rock history.
I saw them in Johnstown on Sept 22,1981 - on the bill was Foghat and Poet, that set me back $9.00 bucks. The good old days!!
Bingo! I found the ticket stub for the 1981 BOC show in Syracuse. The ticket reads: Sept. 23, 1981 BOC/Foghat plus special guest. The special guest was Shooting Star. I remember the BOC set began with Dr. Music. The encore was Roadhouse Blues. The set was close to what you find on the Extra Terrestial Live album (I think it was recorded from that tour). Except, Born to be Wild was also performed.
That New Haven setlist above (21 Sept) sounds close to the show I remember. So long ago now! But I remember that was BOC's last large venue appearance in Syracuse. I also recall that Ricky Downy was on drums for that show...
I also remember some of Eric Bloom's stage patter that night when he mentioned something about attending a James Brown concert some years prior in that same arena (Onondaga County War Memorial). Apparently, he had attended Geneva college which is about 40 miles or so from Syracuse. Just thought I'd share. Thanks again for the great page! Bob
I don't remember anything about Shooting Star (sorry guys). BOC was excellent and it was my first time seeing Foghat. I don't recall anything bad about the show so no news is good news.
But apparently, my girlfriend at the time had to remind me that I didn't take her to the show. She wrote that on the back of the stub and forgot about it until I noticed it while scanning it for the site.
"Fire of Unknown Origin" was released in June of 1981. BOC played Syracuse in September. Local people know that "a band member" has links to Rome NY and that group members stay there. (Most of you fans know this and can fill in the blanks). At that time I was working in Record Town in Riverside Mall in Utica. The front of the store was opened on two sides looking out onto the mall. I can't tell you the actual date. I was unloading stock and couldn't help but noticing a couple going back and forth by the store in a quiet but heated debate. After passing by the storefront twice, they entered by what would be the less active side of the store and motioned me over the counter. I went over and they asked me if we had the new Blue Oyster Cult album. I told them we did.
He was wearing sun glasses and he looked very familiar to me but for the moment I couldn't place him. I can't remember what she looked like but she was mad and she didn't stop talking to the man.
Her conversation was focused on one thing: "It better say either Sandy or my full name." I brought the Album over. He asked: "Do you have an open in store copy?"
"No." I answered.
"Can you open this one?"
"No." I said and as I looked at him I realized I was speaking to Eric Bloom.
"What will it take to get you to open this?"
"I'm afraid you'll have to buy it"
"Are you serious?" He asked. There was nothing else I could do. "Sandy" was still focused on what it said inside and told Eric to "just buy it."
He looked from me to her and brought out his money. I rang up the transaction and as that transpired "Sandy" opened up the album.
The money changed hands between Eric and I. I started to ask if I could have his autograph.
At that moment "Sandy" started in on Eric in hushed frustration "You asshole! It says Sandy Jean!" she lit into him and would not stop.
He walked out of the store. She had placed the cover on the glass counter and had the inner sleeve with the liner notes and album in her hand. She dropped that on the counter and ran out after Eric.
I ran out from behind the counter, put the album sleeve back into the cover and took off after them (still hoping to get the autograph). They were already down the hallway, almost to the exit and the store manager was yelling for me to get back into the store. When I got back into the store one of my co-workers saw who it was and asked why I would "sell" him his own record. I simply said: "your guess is as good as mine."
That would be my first brush with famous musicians.
I swear the story is true. My only disclaimer is that it did occur 32 years ago. As I have sat here writing it I am asking myself: Was it Eric or was it Buck?
You would think it would be Buck in the store with Sandy, as that is his wife and she is the one with family in Rome; however I do still recall it being Eric.
Note the discrepancy with the Billboard and Pollstar figures above - they both refer to "24 Sep 1981" with the same band line-up, yet whereas Billboard says it's "Rochester", the Pollstar info is listed as "Syracuse" (where BOC played the previous day).
However, both sets of figures regarding attendance and receipts are identical, indicating one of them is wrong. But which of the two possible gigs does the data refer to..?
The promoters - Monarch and John Scher - don't help much - John Scher seems to have been mostly involved with NJ concerts, but has handled BOC in Rochester previously and Monarch have a number of local gigs under their belt.
The only real clue is the capacity, given as "10200" - too large for Syracuse (which had a max capacity of around 7200 - depending on the event), so therefore, I've gone with Rochester in the absence of any evidence to the contrary...
Can't tell you much about it other than the fact that it happened;
AND I WAS THERE !! age 15, Sitting in the bleachers stage left with Jack and Bob. Bob said he really came to see Foghat and we laughed at him.
It was a very conventional set list with few or no surprises... similar to the tracks found E.T. Live album.
Oh yeah... they f8ckn rawked, and I thought Albert was still with them then, and I agree with your estimation of his place in the band. It always baffled me that they didn't have him on vocals more... he blew his bandmates away in that department. All you gotta do is listen to Sinful Love or Dominance and Submission to know that.
I found a review of this gig in the 1 Oct 1981 edition of the "Greenwich Journal":
by Randy Jennings
Another concert was held at the Glens Falls Civic center last Friday night featuring Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult and the Albany-based power rock group, Visitor.
The night started with Visitor opening the attack on the early concertgoers as they started their set about ten minutes early. This was the first time that I had seen Visitor and the vocals of Danny Marcil were very impressive.
Doing a few numbers from their LP, simply entitled Visitor, they put the crowd into a very responsive mood.
Their set lasted about 30 minutes and they had done their job, starting the evening out on a great high-powered level.
Foghat came out after about an hour, starting their set with Stone Blue and continuing with My Babe. The group seemed to be just going through the motions as they appeared almost lifeless. Craig MacGregor on bass was the only one that really seemed to have a genuine feel for what they were playing.
New lead guitarist Erik Cartwright who replaced Rod Price on the last LP (Girls to Chat, Boys to Bounce) really couldn't fit the bill on the older songs as Rod Price always did a great job on slide guitar.
However, on the new cuts off the latest LP (Wide Boy, Weekend Driver and live Now - Pay Later) nobody could, have taken his place. The drum work of Roger Earl was barely audible for the entire set and it was sorely missed. Lonesome Dave, well he's just Lonesome Dave, but his vocals get better every time you hear him.
Highlights of the set naturally were the two songs that are legendary Foghat numbers, Slow Ride and I Just Want to Make Love to You which everybody there had been waiting for. Their set ended and BOC came onstage with their brand of heavy metal.
BOC is described as being the best underground band in America today as their fans are gathered by their concert appearances. The one and only hit they've had was Don't Fear the Reaper which got tons of airplay in the late seventies.
The band has been together ten years and the way their barrage took place it looks like another ten is not out of the question. BOC has a very good understanding of what the fans want and they lay it on the line with each song. Their best was the ever-popular Godzilla, complete with a drum solo, Godzilla type mask and highly illuminating light show.
This was one of my first concerts - we had Sky Suite tickets from my buddy Dan's fathers lawfirm.
I remember that Shooting Star was pretty lame. Foghat was solid. BOC came out with a Harley chopper with a purple headlight.
I got a t-shirt and they were good and had the Godzilla stage prop.
I was 14 years old so could have been dazzled by almost anything. Next Kinks and the Cars which was forgettable. Then saw the Police with the GoGo's opening on Jan 16, 1982 and the Grateful Dead 6th months later at the Capital Center and both made BOC/Foghat look second rate.
Caught Clapton 2/83 a year later at the Capital Center with Albert Lee and Ry Cooder which was a tremendous show.
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Sep. 29, 1981. Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat in Roanoke, Virginia. I have the partial ticket stub plus a xerox of the full ticket. I've seen more shows at this venue than anywhere else. Roanoke Civic Center. The ticket stub lists both groups.
I was at this show - my first BOC ever. Jumped off the back wall into the arena to make sure I could get front row.
Whitford / St Holmes opened and were okay, Foghat dragged out longer than I would have liked cause I was dying to seeing the Cult.
Band was on fire, did a set pretty close to the Bonds International show that was broadcast over the summer.
During the RoadHouse Blues cover Bloom pulled out a Moosehead, took a swig, and passed it down to me on the front row to finish off. Fan for Life!
Hampton Rhodes Colleseum 81 (Buck did some of his Flat Out stuff), good show sound was not real good...
I was at this show, and loved it. B.O.C. and Foghat were great, also on the bill was the Whitford/ St. Holmes band ( Brad Whitford of Aerosmith and derek St Holmes of Ted Nugent)
I had a fantastic time, lost my ride home, got wasted, almost arrested - twice - got home at 3:30 in the morning, and dragged myself to school the next day.
I was at this show... great bill BOC and Foghat... don't recall the warm up band...
BOC were great... memorable... still have my ticket stub...
Originally, the only evidence I had for the existance of a show scheduled for this date was an ad in the 17 Sep 1981 edition of the Herald-Journal...
However, an advert in The Gamecock, the USC college newspaper, published on the very day of the proposed concert, indicates the gig was cancelled:
Subtle and enigmatic, it wasn't, but a word or two of explanation would have been nice...
What a night! I was 16 years old and a fan since my older brother brought home Spectres in '77. My two brothers, a friend and his much younger brother (12 maybe) were psyched for our first BOC show. We got there early, grabbed new t-shirts and got on the barrier around center stage. The barrier tilted slightly towards the stage and had support struts every few feet so we leaned over the barrier, grabbed onto the struts and held on for dear life. Whitford St. Holmes opened the show with a decent but forgettable set (we were there to see the Oyster Boys).
Foghat did a great job covering all of their classics and a few boogie/rockers that I wasn't familiar with (Honey Hush?). A boisterous, huge (and I mean huge) breasted Foghat fan bounced and danced through their whole set grinding against me on the barrier (the closest thing to sex I've ever had with my clothes on).
When Eric and Buck were seen standing off-stage waiting for their intro, the crowd surged forward and absolutely crushed the air out of all of us. My friend's little brother Tony was knocked unconscious and was left suspended with his feet in the air until security came out from under the stage and laid him on the stage in front of Joe Bouchard.
When he came to, he was dazed and confused to find himself staring up at Joe smiling down at him. As he got to his feet, Joe grabbed a pick off his mike stand and handed it to Tony and if I remember correctly, Joe gave him a gentle shove with his foot to get him off the stage. The fun had only just begun.
Somebody back in the crowd was determined to get to the barrier and was bulling his way through the crowd causing crushing surges, with people losing their footing, falling, and being suspended by the crush with their feet off the ground. Seemingly disembodied hands would force their way through my armpit, and between my brothers and I, trying to grasp the barrier and pull their way through. With a nod or a glance, my brothers and I would shift our collective body weight to the left or right and put incredible force on whoever's arm got a good grip on the barrier until they let go and then we shifted back to get a new grip on the nearest strut.
All of a sudden, my brother David's head snaps back and disappears from my peripheral vision. I turn to see what happened and my head explodes with white light. When my vision comes back, a huge monster (not named Godzilla) in an Outlaws vest is pounding on David. I'm covered in blood because my nose exploded when this asshole pounded the back of my head with a hand the size of an anvil.
Now a huge security guy comes bounding out from under the stage and looks like he might actually be able to leap the barrier and take this guy (shades of Altamont?). The biker throws his arms up with open palms and backs away as if to say "my bad" and fades into the crowd to never be seen or felt again. Buck is looking down on me shaking his head in pity and somebody on stage threw me a towel to wipe up the blood. But our ordeal was not over.
During ME 262 there were flash pots and fountains of sparks going off. The sparks were showering down on us, stinging our arms and singeing my already bloody new BOC T when all of a sudden one of the pyrotechnics explodes and lifts off the stage right in front of us.
I was probably saved from being clobbered with the mortar-like steel tube welded to a plate by the cord used to set it off. Rick Downey practically leaps over the drum kit, runs to the front of the stage, picks up and tosses the thing in disgust (was he doing double duty as lighting designer?) and the show eventually got going again.
Oh, and while I was being banged, bowled over, beaten, bloodied, blinded, and burned, a concert broke out. I vaguely remember the big Godzilla with searchlight eyes and smoke coming out of his mouth. Rick Downey put on a Godzilla mask during his drum solo and it appeared like strobe lights inside his drums were flashing each time he hit them with his head bobbing wildly with each flash (I never saw the mask again).
Eric rode a Harley on stage for Born to be Wild. I also remember in no particular order, ETI, Cities on Flame, Burnin' for You, Veteran of the Psychic Wars, and DFTR. There were other songs but I just can't remember (for some reason, I am positive that they did not play Joan Crawford despite it being on most set lists at the time, but I might have been preoccupied at the time).
The Outlaw biker was outside the coliseum after the show, sitting on a wall stoned out of his gourd. We thought about beating the everliving crap out of him but I was a 6'-4" 140 lb twig and I'd be surprised if we had 600 pounds between us and figured he wouldn't even feel it or worse, would stab or shoot us. We went home and didn't hear clearly for about three days.
Well it deffo sounds like a hell of an evening...
First of all, there were NO flashpots during ME262 in that era... strobes were the only effect when Eric would hold his Logo Guit like a machine gun and the strobes would all fire as he sang the line See these english planes go burn.... fountains of sparks would have been only at the end of BTBW @ the end of the show....
But I believe this WAS the age of exploding gerbs... these big (foot long, 2" diameter) things that looked like a stick of dynamite, but stood in a 10" high steel tube... they were meant to shoot fountains of sparks up into the air... BUT occasionally there would be a bad run of these and one out of 20 or so would actually go off like a stick of dynamite!!... I laughed as I read this as I remembered the incident, but only that it was on the Foghat tour...
Rick was at this time STILL the LD and of course had been production manager for many years and although we had people that had filled those positions, they still answered to HIM first, then Schenck and the band...
I deffo remember a show where Rick leaped off the kit after one of those concussions (it REALLY fucking HURT the ears when they went off like that... only that 1" thick steel tube we put them in kept it from being harmful to bodies), grabbed the empty metal holder tube of the offending gerb (they weighed at LEAST 25 lbs) and threw it AT the pyro guy Mike Singleton, who fired these things from his position between the barricade and the stage just in front of what is now known as "The Buck Zone"... and if this guy says it was Charlotte, that's good enough for me... the guy prolly never saw Singleton, Rick's intended target...
BTW, he missed MS, but DID cause quite a bit of damage to the control board, which YOURS TRULY ended up having to repair....
This had followed a big meeting where the band said NO MORE of those things till you can assure us they will NOT explode... he allegedly came up with a way to test them and had weeded out the naff ones... all but that one apparently... we ended up getting a whole new batch made and never saw the problem again....
Incidentally Rick played a CLEAR set of drums, on a riser with a clear floor... there were strobes under the riser AND over it... looked f'ng kewl (see MTV show from Hollywood Snortatorium)...
Thanks Sam. Twenty-nine years is a long time to try and remember details like that. Now that you mention it, I do remember Eric slinging the guitar like a machine gun as the strobes went off. I just didn't remember the explosion being at the end of the show (seems like they did more than just finish the song and say good night), so I assumed it happened during ME262, which was the only other song that pyrotechnics would make sense.
Thanks to the Billboard gig stats, I now know that Whitford St. Holmes opened.
Did Foghat headline this gig?
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
I can confirm this show took place on this date and featured Foghat and Whitford-St.Holmes
Thanks to the Billboard gig stats, I now know that Whitford St. Holmes opened.
An MTV press release had this Sportatorium gig scheduled for its initial broadcast on 8 May 1982.
MTV: Music Television puts you in the front row for the Saturday Night Concert Series, seen every week at 11:59pm (ET), when its cameras capture all the excitement of three of the very hottest rock'n'roll bands around.
On April 17, the Henry Paul Band jamming at a recent concert in front of a sold-out house at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles; The Blue Oyster Cult make an imposing front-line at their Sportatorium gig in Miami, Florida, scheduled for telecast May 8 and Triumph bring their brand of sonic fireworks to your living room the following week, May 15, in concert taped at Towson enter in Baltimore, Maryland.
This BOC show is very special for me. The great thing about it is that I can be transported back in time, anytime I play Extraterrestrial Live. I had no idea that 7 songs from this show would end up on the album. I consider myself quite lucky to have attended this BOC concert. And, I actually got to see it on MTV on their Blue Jean Network series. Someone please tell Buck and Eric to release this on DVD. It's a great show, and I know it's stored in a vault somewhere at MTV. Who has the rights? I'd like to know.
I got to the Hollywood Sportatorium just in time to see the last song from Whitford/St. Holmes. It sounded good. Wish I could have saw their whole show.
Foghat were next, and they put on a good show as well. Played all their hits and they got the crowd going crazy, especially during "Slow Ride". It's a shame Lonesome Dave Pevrett is no longer with us. He was great.
Then, Blue Oyster Cult takes the stage. It sounded great from the very first note. They opened with "The Red and the Black". Great opener. "ETI" had an incredible solo from Buck Dharma which I had to learned note for note on guitar. His playing was so astounding at this show. Blew my shit away!
"Joan Crawford" "Burnin' For You" and "Cities On Flame" all kicked ass. This show was so great, I didn't even miss Albert Bouchard. Rick Downey was stellar on this night.
"Veteran Of The Psychic Wars" was just incredible. I always loved the vibe of that song. And Buck's solo!! My God. Off the scale, man!
"Godzilla" was great and Eric's rap intro was pretty funny. They still had the gigantic Godzilla blowing out smoke. Best drum solo I ever saw from Rick. Well done. "ME-262" was great, as always.
"Hot Rails To Hell" was awesome. The best vocal performance I've ever heard from Joe Bouchard.
I know some BOC fans may disagree with me on this, but I think "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" from this show is the best live version EVER. The vocals sound great and the guitar solo at the end sounds absolutely magestic. They closed the show with "Roadhouse Blues".
They always did a great version of that song. Jim Morrison would be proud.
Excellent show and I can relive those moments anytime I play ETL.
There are actually 2 versions of the show. The MTV version included "Veterans" but the Blue Jean Concert series cuts it out for time reasons...
I saw BOC at the Lakeland Civic Center in Lakeland, FL around that time. Not sure if this is the one because they also played Hollywood, FL around the same time.
Foghat was the second band, A band named Winfred-St.Holmes actually opened the Lakeland show.
I can confirm this show took place on this date and featured Foghat and Whitford-St.Holmes...
Thanks to the Billboard gig stats, I now know that Whitford St. Holmes opened.
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Whitford St. Holmes was the opening act on the bill...
The following show is missing from the Giglopaedia:
October 17, 1981 - Rockford Metro Centre - Rockford, IL, USA [ Opening bands: Foghat and Whitford St. Holmes ]
I have attached a scan of the ticket stub and playbill from the show for verification. You may use them anyway you would like on the website.
By the way, Great Site!!! Keep up the good work.
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
This gig with Foghat was fantastic.
Had an interview lined up for pre-show and met the manager at the backstage door. He said no time now, come back 20 mins. after they were done for a post-show chat.
At that time he said the boys were tired and sorry so me and the photographer left.
There was NO Whitford St Holmes on this show, just Foghat opening. The press tickets they gave me were right behind the stage, up about 12 feet, directly behind the drums. We walked around for some side and front view pics and sat for BOC on the side overlooking stage left.
Gig review from the October 22, 1981, issue of the Ohio State Lantern:
Blue Oyster Cult, Foghat enchant capacity crowd
By Doug Curran
Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat - Tuesday Oct. 20 at the Ohio Center.
Two bands with different styles combined efforts Tuesday night at the Ohio Center to enthrall a capacity crowd. Foghat, the leading British blues-rock combo, and Blue Oyster Cult, the foremost proponent of American heavy metal, held court for three hours to the delight of the young crowd.
The Cult, celebrating ten years of music together, played flawlessly for an hour and a half in their distinctive style of earsplitting, futuristic sci-fi and dark, mystical music.
After the opening numbers, the Cult broke into "True Confessions" from their "Agents of Fortune" album, and began to show their musical dexterity. Keyboardist Allan Lanier switched places with guitarist Eric Bloom, and Bloom surprised a few people with his piano and synthesizer playing.
Dry ice created a feeling of impending doom to complement the lyrics of "Hot Rails to Hell."
The first highlight of the set was the current hit for the New York band, "Burning for You." From the new album, "Fire of Unknown Origin." The tune is similar to "The Reaper" in tempo, structure and vocal patterns.
Donald (Buck Dharma) Roeser contributed to the mood of the songs with his distorted, frenzied guitar playing. His runs bridged the keyboard fills of Lanier, and together with the drumming of Al Bouchard and his brother Joe on bass, created a vision of the future not at all optimistic but totally captivating in concept.
A humorous introduction by Bloom about being stoned at 3 a.m. and "hearing a sound outside" whichs turns out to be Godzilla, was the signal for a 50-foot replica of the Japanese beast to rise above the stage and start spitting smoke. With head turning and eyes glowing, it was a crowd pleaser.
Drummer Bouchard settled into a solo halfway through "Godzilla" and unlike the usual monotonous drum solos, he evoked applause from the screaming crowd, possibly because of the rubber Godzilla mask he put on. Foghat opened the night with 75 minutes of the best blues-based rock music possible. From "Stone Blue" to "I Just Wanna Make Love to You," the four musicians proved why they are one of the most respected bands in the world - they play simple songs with an energy that could light up a city. Vocalist, guitarist "Lonesome" Dave Peverett has a clear, distinctive voice that can handle the blues with ease, and guitarist Rod Price is hard to match. Whether presenting newer material from the album "Girls to Chat and Boys to Bounce" or favorites like "Fool for the City," "Hi Ho Silver," and "Slow Ride," Foghat plays music that asks for audience participation with clapping and chanting.
Unlike most concerts where the opening act is a struggling young band trying to establish themselves and is a minor participant in the evening's proceedings, Foghat was a strong contender for top honors at the Ohio Center, and complemented the Cult well. The combination added up to a satisfying night for Columbus music lovers.
Doug's review above was interesting because it mentioned they played "True Confessions" live - I'd never heard of them playing this live before. Obviously, they've played it a number of times in recent gigs (2016-2017) but this is the first indication I've seen that they'd played it earlier.
Has anyone else seen them play it live "back in the day"...?
I attended this BOC show. Great show. Foghat opened up for them. I think the ticket was $6.50 or $7.50 (if you can believe it, shows are so outrageous nowadays). Foghat hit the hits. Mostly it was like listening to Foghat Live only right there "Live" in front of you if you know what I mean.
I couldn't tell you an exact setlist from this one even if you promised me as much pot as I smoked that night. I can tell you this though, they did not play any songs off of Cultosaurus Erectus (which was a huge disappointment for me). It was like they had disowned the album or something. Rick Downey was on drums and Eric sang COF which seemed weird to me. Nonetheless it was a good show.
Going to the show saved my bacon too. I got accused of commiting an act of vandalism at a local school. Said event took place while I was at the show. When the police dick brought me downtown for questioning I whipped out my ticket stub as my alibi. He was a younger cop and had been at the show. After a few questions about the concert he seemed satisfied that I had been there and let me go. Phew! Thanks Blue Oyster Cult!
I noticed in the review of this show printed in the 18 October 1981 edition of the Toledo Blade that Whitford St Holmes were also on the bill...
My confirmation of the band line-ups for this gig date comes courtesy of Bert Gangl who sent me a scan of a review of this show from the 29 October 1981 issue of "The Delta Collegate"...
Here is my ticket stub and an ad from the Blue Oyster Cult show October 23, 1981 at Joe Louis. I've also attached an article I had cut out from the Detroit Free Press right before the concert.
Brad Whitford of Aerosmith and Derek St. Holmes of Ted Nugent were the warm up group. Another awesome show.
I remember Joe Bouchard doing a really cool bass solo on "She's as beautiful as a foot".
This gig was part of the original gig schedules featured on the original boc.com lists. However, I have now downgraded it to the status of "possible gig" as a result of Bert's information below, which makes it unlikely that it took place (but not impossible, of course).
According to the Oct 22, 1981, edition of the Danville Commercial News newspaper, the only upcoming concerts scheduled in that area in the coming weeks were BOC on Oct 24 at Market Square Arena in Indianapolis, Pat Metheny on Oct 29 at the University of Illinois, and Kenny Rogers on Oct 31 at Market Square Arena.
No mention was made of a BOC show in Danville in any edition of the paper between Oct 15 and Oct 29.
Civic Center records, likewise, list only the Dec 15, 1983, show there in Danville, with no record of any BOC concerts prior to that date.
Fire of Unknown Origin Tour - Oct. 29, 1981 at the Met Center in Minneapolis, MN: I can confirm that both Foghat and Whitford-St.Holmes were there...
Both the Billboard and Pollstar stats cited above have Foghat listed as the headliner. I've always assumed this to be erroneous, as, although the tour is often referred to as a co-headline one, meaning that both bands get to play a full set, as far as I knew, the actual closers of each gig was BOC.
However, an advert sent to me by Dan Helmbrecht clearly has Foghat featured as the headliner, with a "and Blue Oyster Cult" in a smaller font...
So, for now, I'll switch it to Foghat as the headliner, but if anyone who went to the gig could confirm or deny that, I'd be grateful...
Here's a review of this gig from the 31 Oct 1981 edition of "The Gazette":
Oyster Cult, Foghat bring good Rock'n'Roll back to Five Seasons
By Dick Hogan (Gazette staff writer)
Good rock and roll returned to the Five Season Center Friday with Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat.
Blue Oyster Cult's act is a monster - literally. (That means good folks.) The band brought down the house several times Friday night at the Five Seasons Center, but the highlight was the appearance of Japan's nemesis, Godzilla!
When BOC broke into their song about the giant horror movie monster, the curtains in back of the stage parted and a bigger-than-life Godzilla appeared. It's huge head swung from side to side with its eyes shooting beams of red light into the area and an occasional belch of smoke ushered from Godzilla's mouth. The song also s Dick Hogan Gazette staff writer . featured a great drum solo by Albert Bouchard.
Other standout numbers included BOC's latest hit, "Burnin' For You," "Cities on Fire With Rock n' Roll," and a dynamite version of Steppenwolfs "Born to Be Wild."
Blue Oyster Cult's act features a number of visual gimmicks, but disappointingly the expensive laser show wasn't part of the Friday night concert. (The act was just finishing up at press time.) The only criticism is that the vocals were hard to understand for much of BOC's act.
Foghat's 70-minute set, including a 10-minute encore, earned the long time rockers two standing ovations from a crowd of 7,528. Foghat's no-nonsense driving rock has Roger Earl's drums paving the way with a heavy beat. Out front are Erik Cartwright's flashy lead guitar with strong support from Dave Peverett on guitar and vocals and Craig MacGregor on bass.
Standout numbers included "Stone Blue," "She's My Baby," and "Fool for the City." But it was the band's best-known single, "Slow Ride" that got the crowd really fired up. Foghat's 10-minute encore of "I Just Want to Make Love to You," also won equal approval.
Peverett's solo, "The First Time I Was A Fool," was a change of pace, but nice.
Opening the show with a 30-minute set was the Whitford St. Holmes Band, which did an adequate job in getting the crowd wound up for the two headliners.
Disappointed that the lasers weren't part of the show, eh...? Blimey...
Of course, the ironic thing is that this very venue saw the very first gig of the post-laser era back in May 1979, and the same criticism was made after that show. That was a fair criticism back then because the promo posters and ads for that gig all said that the lasers would feature, and, of course, they didn't... I'm pretty sure the ads for this gig did not mention lasers, so it's a weird thing to say...
It's also worth mentioning - this gig was notable for being the only time BOC have ever performed "Cities on Fire With Rock n' Roll" live...
At the 31 Oct 1981 / Halloween show in Kansas City Whitford St Holmes opened, BOC followed and Foghat headlined. Made no sense at all.
Many in the crowd were dressed as the Fire of Unknown Origin cover art figures, along with every other costume you can imagine. I also remember that we kept asking each other "Who's the guy on the drums? What gives?" That show was on a Saturday night.
I attended the October 31 performance at Kemper Arena. What could be better than seeing Blue Oyster Cult on Halloween night?
Many people in the audience came dressed in costumes and the band put on a fun show. The Unknown percussionists wearing hooded robes and pounding drums during Veteran of the Psychic Wars was a nice touch.
My favorite was the pumpkin that came bouncing out of Godzilla's mouth the first time it opened. This prank seemed to backfire as said pumpkin appeared to strike Rick Downey as he was thrown off tempo.
I also remember this tour referred to as the Blue Fog tour, since they played with Foghat.
Note the incorrect venue and location information in the above Pollstar info.
The Nov. 1 show at the Checkerdome in St.Louis, MO. only had Foghat as an opening band that night.
I found a review of this gig in the 02 Nov 1981 edition of the "St. Louis Post-Dispatch", which demonstrates that there were, in fact, two opening bands at this gig:
Heavy Metal Joins Foghat, Blue Oyster Cult
By Dick Richmond
Of the Post-Dispatch Staff
It was heavy metal at its heaviest at the Checkerdome as Foghat and Blue Oyster Cult shared the program Sunday night. Both were billed as headliners. So it seemed necessary to have an opening act, which made the evening a marathon of thunderous music.
In its middle position Foghat seemed to have the best of it. The British quartet got the crowd after it was suitably warmed up by the Whitford-St. Holmes Band and before it suffered the inevitable energy drain that goes hand in hand with an entire evening of hard-driving rock.
Foghat opened with the title cut from its 1978 "Stone Blue" album. It's a song with force. Still, the lyrics are not lost in all the technical garbage a lot of bands use when they don't have the ability to write memorable songs. Not that this was the best of the Foghat material. It wasn't. But it set the stage for the evening.
There were several numbers on which the harmony was excellent such as "Wide Boy," a song about a guy who's 6 feet at the shoulders and only 5 feet from the ground. That's from the band's current "Girls to Chat, Boys to Bounce" album.
As success grows, some bands seem to get out of touch and write about their only current experience, which is all-the-time traveling. Foghat has one of those in "Eight Days on the Road" from its '74 "Rock and Roll Outlaws" album. The crowd seemed to like it, but it was the least noteworthy of the songs the band had to offer.
There were lots of others that were good such as "Fool for the City," "Love Zone," "Third Time Lucky," "Honey Hush" and "Live Now, Pay Later," which also was filled with good harmony.
However, the songs that the crowd seemed to like the best were "Slow Ride," which ended Foghat's set, and "I Just Want to Make Love to You," which the band did as an encore.
Blue Oyster Cult, a five-man band from New York, often deals with the occult in its songs or with subjects that might be considered cerebral. One of the latter is "E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)." However, in this concert there was such a dependence on energy that unless a listener was on exactly the same wave length as the performers, it was easy to get lost.
Still, there were some songs such as "Joan Crawford" where the lyrics were not eclipsed by the volume. That song opened with grand piano alone for a few bars. When the other instruments joined in, they didn't overwhelm the vocalist. In this case it was important.
That was the situation, too, with "Burning for You," which was better than some of the opening material in that it had a melody that could be followed.
The leaders of the Whitford-St. Holmes Band are veterans of Aerosmith and Ted Nugent bands, respectfully. Musically the quartet is tight, and it fit right into the music of the evening. Of the half dozen or so songs that were performed one called "Sharpshooter" had the most potential, lyrically and melodically.
I was attending Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield at the time. I camped out for the tickets to this show. We drove to KC for the Kansas City Halloween show, drove back to Springfield for classes on Monday, then went to the show Monday night.
The Hammons Center was located between my apartment and the campus. While walking back from campus, I saw one of the road crew riding Eric's chopper around in the parking lot and got a big smile.
All of the friends that went to the Saturday night show drove down for this one. The religious groups in Springfield were handing out pamphlets on satanic influences prior to the show. One of them is shown on the BOC website, by the way.
Whitford St Holmes was the opening act and Foghat was not on the bill. The crowd had no idea of them. We were all sitting up front, singing along, jumping around and were acknowledged by the band throughout their set. Brad Whitford commented at one point "What is it with you people? We heard that they grew Quaaludes on trees down here. Get up!"
BOC performed their usual stellar set and, unfortunately, that was the last time I saw them live.
Wichita, KS was my first ever BOC concert!
I've attached my ticket stub, unfortunately it was badly ripped off at the gate and only the "r" of Oyster can be seen, but I hope you could post it anyway, being a very fond memory.
I do not recall exactly the set list, but I'm sure BOC played the following songs (not in this order, though!):
I was 17 at that time, an exchange student from Italy spending one high school year in Kansas and did not know BOC well at that time and I went to the show because of Foghat, but that (enchanted) evening seeing and listening to BOC changed my life forever and made me an hardcore BOC fan since then!
Does anyone know if there was an opener before Foghat? Whitford St. Holmes perhaps...?
Also, I recently saw a stub for this gig on sale in an auction site which said this in the description:
Wichita, Kansas Battle Of The Bands. Blue Oyster Cult Opened the Show and Seemed to be Pissed about it. BOC Rocked It Hard and Won the Rock Battle.
No menton of Whitford St. Holmes here - in fact, it states that Foghat headlined.
Can anyone confirm?
THis gig was called "Battle of the Rock Titans". There was an opening act - Whitford St. Holmes - not real impressive, then Foghat and BOC at the end.
I'm pretty sure that it was the 5th November, though. It was the best concert I've ever seen! BOC blew me away!
Looking at the stub above, it can clearly be seen that the gig was on a Wednesday. As Nov 5 was on a Thursday that year, it would appear that the 4th Nov date is accurate.
Plus - the guy has actually written "Nov 4" on the stub itself!
11/05/81, Dane County Col. Foghat and Whitford St Holmes as openers.
This show was one of the 1st of many epic shows I saw as it was the last night of the tour for the bands together.
Myself, Kootch, Paul and Dan(yo-yo) headed outta La Crosse with a case of beer and @ 20 joints rolled up on the way to Madison, Wi... we had a map and took mainly back roads to avoid any problems.... General Adm. was the rule of the day!
As we pull into the Dane Co. Col. we are excited as hell! It is the last night of the tour with Foghat and WSH and we got great shows from the openers.
Once again the power of weed and beer fog the memory banks on the details to the whole show, but I do remember Veterans and D&S, Zilla, Reaper...
I do remember members of Foghat coming on for the encore and the road dawgs up in the rigging dumping beer on the crowd!
Setlist of the day was this:( not saying this was exact for the night)
The Red & The Black
Hot Rails To Hell
Burnin' For You
Cities On Flame
Veteran of Psychic Wars
Born to be Wild
(Don't Fear) The Reaper
We drove home..in reflection I'm glad I can tell this now....
First time I've seen Blue Oyster Cult in ages. Actually seen them. Last time HM's Santa's-little-helpers played in the neighbourhood was one of those monstrous stadium fiascos where, without binoculars, it's a bit like watching the bumps on a page of braille.
But here they are at the intimate Country Club, larger than life, larger than four foot six even, looking and sounding good for all the world (or at least the couple of thousand who got tickets to the event) to see and marvel at.
It's not one of their occasional (and usually well worth the line-up) Soft White Underbelly club shows where they sneak into some sweat-pit and try out the new material for their most rabid fans, unfortunately.
The occasion is a live broadcast on LA's top hard rock station, with all the tickets provided free to listeners by the radio. So the atmosphere's a little more controlled than it could be. There's no support act, just a DJ checking that we'll whoop loud enough to get heard out there in radioland, and giving away a Harley Davidson to some lucky ticketholder.
BOC start out pretty reved up with "Doctor Music". Allen Lanier's out front doing a Stevie Nicks, shaking a heavy metal tambourine, Joseph Bouchard's trying to outdo him on the maracas, and Eric Bloom's going "Hey LA" and rabble rousing quite wonderfully. And bashing away in the background is a new face. A small change in BOC, so to speak - Albert Bouchard's replacement is an able-bodied beast with a moustache and an Afro who looks like an escapee from Zappa's band. Sounds pretty strong.
"Agents of Fortune" is good as ever, [ she must mean ETI. Ed. ] with perfect harmonies, nice balance of melody and thunder, "Joan Crawford", the monster classic from their last album, is a beauty. Starts with Lanier alone at the piano tinkling some pretty, classical notes, building up to melodramatic chords to which are added the rest of the band's thudding riffs and chilling apocalyptic lyrics - the rock equivalent of the Mommie Dearest movie, frightening, compulsive, a bit silly and definitely over-the-top. One of the songs of the show.
The others: "Burning for You", BOC goes Steve Miller, with dippy harmonies and nifty melody. "Veteran of the Psychic Wars", with two percussionists in white-hooded robes tapping out a mesmerising rhythm. And "Godzilla", robbed of the fire-breathing flashing-eyed monster (no room onstage, and why pay the electricity bill when this is basically for radio anyway) but with monster noises on a tape machine and the sounds of little machine-like Japanese voices. And the drummer sticks a Godzilla mask on his head for a drum solo, very chilling (a real Nip in the hair) before Bouchard takes over on bass.
Canned motorbike vroom-vrooms herald a wonderful "Born to be Wild", with Lanier, Bloom and Buck Dharma lined up at the front doing chorus-girl kicks, followed by a nice Eric-Buck guitar duel - a real duel, Errol Flynn stuff, guitar necks clashing, gritted teeth etc - and Allen going ape leaping up and down at the keyboards while Eric's off mounting the drum platform to molest the cymbals.
Enough of a break for a couple of on-the-air ads, then back for the inimitable "Don't Fear the Reaper" which features the best of their bangers and mash blend of toughness and weaving harmonies. A pretty good performance all round. Little things mean a lot.
Regarding the "live broadcast" - as far as I can tell, there seems to have been select screenings of the gig at certain venues around the country over the next month or two.
Here's a piece that appeared in the 9 February 1982 issue of the "Daily Kent Stater":
International stars play Kent via concert satellite at Filthy's
By DEBORAH PRINCE Stater Staff Writer
Fleetwood Mac, Rod Stewart, Todd Rundgren and Blue Oyster Cult are just a few of the groups featured at Filthy McNasty's on its new audio-visual satellite system.
Joe Marsh, owner and operator of Filthy's, says the club purchased the system six weeks ago. "There are only about 20 systems like it in the United States," Marsh said, "and only four of them are in Ohio."
Concert Satellite Network (CSN) in Los Angeles, Calif., broadcasts the live concerts that Filthy's shows on its 10' x 14' screen. "We got the idea from the Cleveland Agora,'' Marsh said. "The unit cost $25,000, and is exclusive in the area."
The projector can show quality pictures up to 20' high.
Other systems in Ohio are at the Agora in Columbus, Windchasers in New Philadelphia, and Monopolies of Cleveland.
THE use of the system is based on the fact that groups cannot afford to tour at today's high traveling costs. This is shown in that last year was the first year Bruce Springstein made a profit on tour, March said.
March also said that the theory behind the CSN system is that if 100-200 clubs around the nation would purchase it bands could become popular with larger groups of people as well as small ones. Also, bands would not lose money on the road.
This system can be used in other dimensions as well including closed circuit television and long distance business meetings where businessmen can hear and see each other from different cities.
This date is confirmed by the Capitol Giglist on Moyssi's website.
Check out also Moyssi's concert programme for this gig.
This gig was previewed in the Dec 25 1981 edition of the "Daily Record":
Blue Oyster Cult, who reportedly have a new drummer, appear tomorrow at 8 p.m. at the Capitol Theatre, 326 Monroe St., Passaic, along with the New England band The Rings.
I was at this gig. I distinctly remember The Rings as the opening act.
Capitol Theatre was in Passaic, NJ. There really wasn't a "non dumpy" section of Passaic. To add to the fun, the Capitol Theatre also had very little parking compared to the size of the theatre which held 3300 plus people. This meant either you got to the show pretty early, paid the hefty parking fee OR you parked on the street and risked getting your car broken into.
I ended up parking in the street.
During the week, the Capitol Theatre showed porn movies (this was "back in the day" when porn was shown in movie theaters) and there was a strict "no smoking" policy at the Capitol. It was an old building and the fire protection systems coupled with the wood backed seats made "no smoking, REALLY. MEAN. NO. SMOKING.". Security would always be scanning the crowd for somebody smoking.
Capitol Theatre also had a black and white video screen projector showing the band on stage left. I wonder if any video from the show exists?
It was the day after Christmas and it was my first BOC gig. Rick Downey was on drums. I thought the band played really well and little did I know that decades later I would still be enjoying them.
Some further info on the Capitol Theatre:
A decent photo of the inside of the Capitol Theatre:
This is what it pretty much looked like when I saw BOC. Yes, there were two video screens.
I distinctly remember the program cover and getting one handed to me. It always had a band bio and a bunch of ads from record and head shops in it.
Some more background on the Capitol, it held about 3,200. After Bill Graham's Fillmore East closed in 1971 bands really did not have a place to play that was a step up from club sized gigs and the Capitol Theatre was born for rock concerts.
In retrospect, the Capitol Theatre was a pretty cool concert hall and TONS of bands played there. Looking back I did not realize how fortunate I was to have that place not far from my home where I grew up in NJ. To me at that time EVERYBODY had a concert hall not far from their house where major acts would play.
The Binghamton Press & Sun Bulletin Review from 12/29 (above) alludes to The Rings opening (from the lyrics quoted)...
This is only the second gig I've come across that featured Joe Perry Project as the support. Anecdotally, singer Charlie Farren seems to think there were five or six BOC/JPP shows, despite some of BOC crew and members not being able to recall even one:
I've read reports of shows with the Joe Perry Project too... trouble is, I have absolutely no memory of JPP ever being on a BOC show... but an awful lot of folks seem to think he did...
We did several dates with Whitford-St. Holmes, maybe we did dates with Joe Perry, but I don't remember them, or remember hearing the JPP live. I had his first record on vinyl, probably still do.
There were two other bands in the line-up; The Rings and Rory Gallagher in that order played before Foghat.
If my memory serves me correctly, the Rings were practically booed off the stage. Rory was impressive.
The problem with that is that Rory Gallagher does not seem to have been in the U.S. in December. He'd just finished a UK tour and a handful of European dates, and was interviewed in the 18 Dec 1981 edition of "Hot Press":
Immediate plans involve mixing the album and hitting the road again in the New Year.
There'll be continental gigs, some in Britain to coincide with the release of the album and in Ireland around Easter, if current projections are met.
"But next year, our main aim is to try to get back to the States, and be a bit more active there," he adds.
Gallagher obviously has lost none of his commitment to touring, in fact, he spends on average, between six and eight months on the road each year. In the past twelve months, for instance, the band has visited Australia, New Zealand and France, and also played two dates in Greece, one an open air gig in Athens, the second indoors at Salonika.
So in mid-December 1981 his "immediate plans" were to go home and mix his new album, and around Easter play a few Euro/UK dates to promote the new album, after which he wanted "to try to get back to the States"...
No mention of popping over to Long Island next week for a quick one-off gig as third on the bill to Foghat and BOC the day before New Years Eve, with zero publicity.
All ads, previews and advance listings mention Foghat/BOC only - same with the tickets and backstage passes.
Joachim Matz's "Rory Gallagher Timeline" has zero Rory Gallagher US gigs listed for that period, and all the online newspaper sources have no Rory Gallagher US gigs listed either until the following Summer.
So, all taken with all, I'm going to have to stick with the advertised line-up for now...
So you know, the Rings were on this bill as the third act.
The warm up band was a local act called Big Streets...