2003: This page contains all I know about Blue Oyster Cult for this year - and all I know is what you folks send me, so if you want to see more info on this page, there's an easy solution...

Have you got anything to contribute to this page? Reviews, missing info, ticket stubs, posters etc etc - if so, let me .

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Quick Gig Facts
Frank Doris

Well guys and girls, here are my impressions of the first of last weekend's B.B. King's shows.I'll try to keep it under 10,000 words :-}. Second show comments will have to follow later thanks to time constraints.

I always get primed before a Blue Oyster Cult show (or shows), but this time I was especially ready, for two main reasons (among 50 others): I had seen them twice in the last two months, and as you all know, seeing BOC only makes you want to see them more. And, I had heard from Eric, via his web site, that the shows would include five or so songs not performed in years.

I got to the club early, but had to wait for friends that eventually showed up late, so I got a decent but not prime seat for the first show. I got to say hi to Eric and Danny before the show-Sandy, Zeke and the rest of her party went by before I could get their attention-and also got to see many of my on-line friends before the band started. Seamus, glad to see you walking around OK! Alex, Gloria and their crew arrived fairly late, but didn't miss a note. (Gloria quickly grabbed my mayo boat.) Sorry I missed some of you, but that's how it goes at rock and roll shows. The place looked sold out, or close to it.

The opener, "Stairway," quickly snapped me into focus-here we are again, witnessing the Amazing Blue Oyster Cult live! It's like a Pavlovian reflex for me-"Stairway"=the beginning of a great time! The band seemed to be warming up, getting into it gradually - but remember, BOC's warm up is like most other band's peak nights. Something struck me as intangibly different about the band-I only realized it later when Eric announced that Bobby had quit smoking! No butt hanging out of the drummer's mouth! Congrats, Bobby, smoking is a tough nut to beat. Eric's voice sounded great right off the bat.

Then I was stunned to hear "Dr. Music!" I stopped seeing BOC in the late '70s/early '80s as a result of a number of life circumstances I won't go into now (not all good), so this was my first time hearing this live, and it sounded terrific. Funny, I had a suspicion they were going to do this.

A digression: when I was younger and more foolish, I was initially turned off by the "Mirrors" album because it had musical elements I thought should not be on a BOC album - female vocals, percussion, instruments other than guitars, drums and keyboards. I liked the live version better. When I heard it at B.B.'s it struck me as more "right" than either recorded version - as what the song should be-a powerful and intense rock song! Nice to hear Allen getting a keyboard spotlight early in the set.

"Burning" was a perfect follow-up - it just felt exactly right at this spot in the set, and lifted the crowd to a higher - no pun intended - level. I love the fact that this song-like all BOC songs live-is never the same twice, so it always stays fresh for me. I never tire of it!

"Dance on Stilts"-great to hear this. This song is growing on me more and more and the process hasn't stopped yet. Wonderful feeling and groove on this one, and I love Buck's guitar work at the end. Danny and Bobby were sounding great here.not that they weren't the rest of the show! In fact, one of the many great things about the band is the way the interlocking musical interplay and actual sound of the band just hits you as a physical entity immediately as they start a concert-you guys and gals know what I mean!

"Tattoo Vampire" - now that was a surprise! I would have never guessed the band was going to do this, and absolutely could not place the "chugging" beginning as the beginning of the song (usually I can guess a song by the end of the first note). I admit this has never been one of my favorite BOC songs (I know others utterly love it), but it came off far better live than on the AOF recording. In fact, it was intense. A little rough - it actually tightened up in the second set-but that was cool; heck, we were the first to hear it live in 2003 and the moment was a total rush.

"Perfect Water"-it was wonderful, sublime, just beautiful. No other band could do this song. After the first show, a number of people commented on how great it was.

"Cities on Flame"-an all time classic and for good reason. This song is simply what rock and roll is all about, a great showcase for a great rock and roll band. And Buck, don't ever stop doing the middle-of-song bit with the flexing fingers, pick eating etc.. it's required now! Seriously, this raised the crowd's energy level up another notch - it's clear that people simply love this song.

"Last Days of May"-one of the friend's I was with was hoping fervently to hear this song (bellowing out the title at every opportunity) - and as soon as Eric went into his intro, we just looked at each other and made an unintelligible collective noise that sounded something like, "Yeeeaaaarrrrggghhhrrrrr!" Man, what a titanic, titanic song, Buck going to the Andromeda galaxy with his solo, the band right there with him. This song is a natural resource, a force of nature. Amazing.

"Godzilla" - this version seemed more "musical," somehow-slightly different, different drum and bass solos-nothing I could put my finger on, but there, nevertheless. Good intro by Eric, noting the band's lobbying efforts to play the song live at Yankee Stadium on opening day, when Hideki Matsui makes his first appearance. Now there's a great idea - c'mon, Yankees management, get with it!

"Reaper"-this song is always sublime, and this version was no exception. You could feel the excitement in the audience, and rightly so - the song is one of the greatest ever written, period, the end, a musical monument to a great band.

Encore: "Shooting Shark" - wow! Another unexpected choice - I love this song, but for some reason, never thought I'd hear BOC do it again live. (I'd heard it once before, at Tommyknockers in 1995.) I think some of those in the crowd were expecting a more "kick ass" encore, while others in the crowd (like me) were riveted. Its force and beauty were compelling, and it was thrilling to hear it once again.

Stay tuned..

Hi again everyone. Because of an unexpected assignment, I don't have time to do another magnum opus report on the second show, so I'll have to just hit the highlights..

For the second show, I got really good seats up close and just off to the center, in front of Buck's amp, sitting next to Artie and his girlfriend. Even before the show started, you could tell the energy level in the crowd was higher.literally, more of a crowd "buzz." And once the band lit into "Dr. Music" - what a great show opener! You could see the band was warmed up and primed to fire on all cylinders after what was an extremely satisfying first show.

Great to hear "E.T.I." as the second song-it just seems "right" there, the perfect spot for it. It was terrific to hear "Pocket" again after some months-I don't want to see that song dropped from the repertoire! I think it 's cool to alternate that with "Stilts" in double-show bills, so the faithful get to hear both. We were treated to a fine, energetic version this time around.

"Harvester of Eyes"-is it possible this song is still growing on me after all this time? Ummm, yes.

Then.Eric told us the band was going into "unknown territory" once again, and that they were "really stoked" to be playing the following tune..

And then a shock wave jolted through me as I heard the introduction to "I Love the Night!" I was stunned, amazed; I am sure massive amounts of adrenaline shot through my body. Unbelievable! I have always dreamed of hearing that song live, and was hoping against hope that they'd do it, once Eric let on that they were going to mix up the set a bit - but I didn't actually think they'd do it! It was mesmerizing, one of the greatest musical moments of my life. I was overwhelmed by emotion.

I think "See You In Black" was about the only BOC song that could have followed it. Go from sublime emotional bliss to being pummeled with musical force. It was a fantastic version, astonishing energy level. Which was taken even higher by "Buck's Boogie."

Then. I was still so stunned that I didn't realize, from Eric's introduction about a song "that's as topical now as it was when it was written," that BOC was about to go into."Divine Wind!" The crowd flipped out. Many were making devil signs and bellowing out the "then let's send him to hell!" chorus. The playing, arrangement and Buck's soloing were spellbinding here.

Then the Big Three in a row.I don't know if I've ever heard them presented as a one-two-three punch before which made for an EXTREMELY intense end of show! By this time, the band's playing and energy level were fantastic. "Tattoo Vampire" worked well as an encore-as noted before, you could actually hear the performance tighten up from the first set's version.

BUT all it did was work the crowd up even more, and the band gave it to 'em in a rousing version of "Dominance and Submission," which, along with the other amazing performances of the night, assured the second set of January 24, 2003 if a place in Blue Oyster Cult history. There is no question in my mind, and among many others, that this was one of the greatest BOC sets of all time.

Ronald Binder

I was thrilled to attend the BOC show at BB's that night. As a former employee and collaborator, I was overwhelmed with the warm greeting I received from the band members and their families. For me, a BOC show is like a family reunion, not dissimilar to a gathering during the holidays.

After 30 years of playing together, the band was as tight and as dynamic as ever. Donald's guitar delivered galvanizing power and dexterity, while the rhythm section rumbled furiously. This was one of the few times I saw BOC play a club. When last I saw them in concert, they performed in arenas where it was a highly choreographed show with the special effects. The no frills BOC best focused on the music, with Allen's dual mastery of guitar and keyboards and Eric's powerful vocals being showcased in an amazing fashion.

I loved the classic BOC songs the best for they are the soundtrack of my life. "Stairway...." "Godzilla," "Cities On Flame," "Harvester," "Reaper," and especially "Tattoo Vampire," which was dedicated to my dear friend Helen Wheels, left me both joyful and sad that my dear Helen was not there to share the moment. But I could feel her spirit applauding in rock and roll heaven.

During "Reaper" I was in the front table by the stage. I stood up rocking away and Eric came close to my table. He recognized me cheering him on and signaled to Donald i was there. That was way cool.

As I told the guys, when I hear their music, my health problems disappear. There are no thoughts of pain, medicines or sickness. Only the wings of their fantastic rock and roll exist and they bring me back to a time of health and happiness.

The happiest time of my life was when I was part of the BOC family and I was just so elated to see and hear their music again.

Chris Smith

Ralph, didn't know if you had this already, but the 2/9/03 show in Eugene had a local blues band called the Revelators open for BOC that night. Thought you might want to know.(If you didn't already.)

Paul Tibbals

I attended the show at 11-feb-03 and while your list look pretty close, I am sure that Shooting Shark was played. At least fairly sure...

I don't know what to say. I was not substantially out of my head at that show, but I sure thought that I remembered Shooting Shark. I didn't take notes or anything, but it's a great song that I've always wanted to hear live... I sat down that same night while things were still reasonably fresh (it's about two hours of driving for me) and gave it my best shot.

If there's a consensus that it wasn't played then I'll not argue... I'll just stay happy with my pseudo-memory of having heard the song. :-)) I surely liked the show, it was far better than last trip which was just a county fair one-hour "stock" set that wasn't inspired, though it was not poor in any way.

Though it was not advertised AFAIK, there turned out to be an opening act. I was actually quite disappointed as I was hoping for a really long BOC show instead. The openers were a rather large ensemble, a local group who were really pretty talented musically. They did all covers as I remember, some blues, some reggae, some Clapton, some country rock I think. They were named (not from any poster, but from what they stated) The Smokin' Bananas. It's kind of a local joke, the University of California Santa Cruz campus in town has named their school mascot the Banana Slug (you can see it at http://www.ucsc.edu/about/campus_mascot.html).

Blue Sky Bag

Okay, I've now recovered to the point that I'm no longer hovering three feet off the ground with delerious joy. Good thing too, as it made trying to type almost impossible. I'll try to compose my thoughts coherently, so that those of you who were not able to see the show can you at least get an idea of what it was like to be there.

If you're in a hurry and don't want to listen to me ramble, I'll give you the Reader's Digest condensed version.

F**KING AMAZING!

And now for our viewers with time to play b sides....

A heavy rain poured down on San Diego most of the day, and I was hoping that everyone would make it to the show safely. The roads were a mess here, I apologize profusely on behalf of my fellow San Diegans who simply cannot drive in the rain. They really are nice folks once you get them out from behind the wheel, I can assure you.

I made it to 4th and B about 9:30 pm, and managed to secure a legal parking spot three blocks away. Stood around outside for a bit looking for BOCFANBOB who was about the only onliner I think I'd recognize anywhere. I was finally smoked out by all the tobacco puffers and decided to go indoors. "Doesn't anyone smoke pot outside concerts anymore ?", I thought to myself. LOL !

I wandered the floor for a few minutes, and found a couple of "sweet spots" on the Buck side of the stage where the sound was pretty good. I saw BOCFANBOB and introduced myself just a few minutes before the Böys hit the stage.

What a wonderful fellow, just as I imagined him to be.

Shortly after 9:45, the house lights dimmed and the Bladerunner end theme began to pulse through the sound system. I always love that part of the show. The curtains parted, and the Öysterboys lit up the stage with a fiery version of Dr. Music. Buck ripped into a killer solo, and Danny looked like he was having a blast with the "Call me Doctor" backup vocals. His enthusiasm and stage prescence are fantastic. I'll admit I'd gotten pretty tired of the old Dr. after hearing it as an opener for a few solid years in the early 80's, but after twenty years it sounded fresh again and had good energy.

Next came "Take Me Away" which I think is always a great tune to hear them play live. Then Eric introduced Buck playing a rousing version of "Pocket", first time I'd gotten to hear that one live and it really rocked.

Overhead there's a rumble, it's not thunder, - it's Blue Öyster Cult !

Next was Harvester of Eyes, a little slower than usual, more like the tempo of the studio recording. A little echo from the bass drum was easily eliminated by moving a few feet to the right. There was a real pretty girl dancing, and there must have been at least three guys standing behind her who were trying to decide what to watch, her or the band. LOL !

Clearly a case where "picture in picture" technology was needed.

Then "I Love The Night" took the band's performance to a new plateau. Fantastic to hear this one again, I think the last time I heard it played was way back in the Spectres era. Such a beautiful song, Buck really outdid himself. Had a great time singing the chorus harmony along with them. Needless to say, with my astronomical tendencies that has always been a big favorite of mine. The day is okay, and the Sun can be fun - well, you all know the rest of the story.

Tattoo Vampire pierced through the ethereal haze left hanging in the air by the last song, or maybe it was just a cloud of pot smoke. Anyhow, those old "Grisly Smiles" still haven't flaked off in the 24 years since I last heard this song in the setlist. Fantastic addition to the mix.

Buck introduced the next song as "one you don't hear too often" but since Allen was playing his guitar and not keyboards, I knew it was not my dream come true.

Not yet. I'd never had the chance to hear Shooting Shark played live either, so this was another real treat for me. I saw several fans reacting in complete amazement at what they were hearing, two guys high fiving each other up front as Buck sang "3 times I've seen the Shooting Shark lighting up the sky." I love to see fans react like that to a certain song that is special to them. It was clear at that point we were all having another enchanted evening, courtesy of BÖC.

Eric introduced "Divine Wind" as "a song that was written twenty years ago, but it's still topical today". Man, I really needed to hear that one again. Those kamikaze dive bomb leads are the shiznit ! LOL ! All we needed was Daryl's excellent video playing on the screen up by the stage.

For the next song, Eric urged us all to sing along and even hummed the right note for us to join in and raise our glasses of beer on high. What a lousy time of the show to be drinkless, shame on me. "Golden Age" sounded great; another one I haven't heard since '78 except for the instrumental version they played at the Old Waldorf as SWU. And that was twenty two years ago anyhow, so it was some heavy metal fruit that was ripe to be picked from the tree of music once again. During the song I thought to myself, " You really can't complain at all if they don't play Subhuman tonight - look what you are getting".

And then it happened. You know how sometimes you're watching a football game, and even before the snap of the ball you just know that somehow it's going to be a deep post pattern for a big touchdown ?

Allen unstrapped his Telecaster and sat down at the keyboards. Buck said "You know we have all this online stuff now, the Buck Dharma board and all that stuff. And we've been reading on there that we haven't been playing enough stuff from Secret Treaties. "

My face lit up like a roman candle.

With perfect comic timing Eric replied "and you listen to those mother f**kers?" LOL ! He always manages to crack me up. It would be great to hang out and listen to the E man sometime. Maybe watch "Destroy All Monsters" with him. The dulcet tones of "Subhuman" graced my ears for the first time in many moons. Buck's soloing on this song was simply mind blowing.

I am becalmed.

He understands, he understands.

To have them play that song for me, well I doubt I'm eloquent enough to ever express how much that meant. I guess I felt like one of those kids might feel going to Disneyland with Make a Wish foundation. Behind my incessant (and hopefully not too annoying) teasing and joking over the last few months about this song was a deep and sincere desire that I might hear them play this song one more time in my life.

Thank you once again to Buck and the rest of the band, from the bottom of my heart for gracing me with this favor.

"Burning For You" came next, although at this point I was still in a daze because they had time to play my b-side.

Then Eric gave his Monster Island intro to Godzilla, and the big fella stomped through the venue leaving all of us bug-eyed fans screaming "My God!"

Or perhaps that was just some guy screaming "I lost my pot!"

The crowd seemed a bit subdued to me at points, but San Diegans are known to go into a funk at the first sign of drizzle and I think the heavy rains of earlier in the day had not only dampeneed the spirits of many in attendence, it had also dampened their socks and shoes.

The new Reaper intro is quite different, almost a song itself. Parts of it reminded me of Ronnie Montrose's solo in the Gamma tune "Razor King". Buck's got a brand new Boogie.

I have a hard time with Reaper nowadays, that was Dave's song and he had a Reaper tattoo and everything. But it was a fine performance and as always, a perfect anthem to all those near and dear souls who have ventured through the final curtain before us.

The crowd in general was not nearly loud enough in my opinion, given the stellar performance they had just witnessed. Not to say that the response was quiet to the point of being insulting, but c'mon folks you are at a rock show ! Yell a bit, stomp the floor or something. Sheesh! The online fans can't do it all, you know!

The Black Blade was then unsheathed, and it cut straight to the bone. More jaws dropped open as the rain soaked citizens of San Diego watched the boys brandish the mighty but evil sword. I bet that thing is sharper than a Ginsu knife.

Our Back in Black encore theme continued with "See You In Black", and the same three guys and now a couple more were still watching that dancing babe work the floor. I doubt if any of them were lucky enough to see her in black, that she would be wearing those black articles of clothing for very long.

I mean really fellas, there are nightclubs up near the Marine base where the dancing girls are unencumbered by those silly and sometimes distracting rock concerts. One place even has Kick Boxing next door, my wife once suggested a merging of the two concepts could be a veritable goldmine. LOL, I really love that woman.

Afterwards I waited outside and met some more onliners. Really great to put faces on some of those names.

I really needed to see the band, after being shut out last summer. I really needed to hear them play Subhuman. All of my BÖC dreams came true last night, and I hope that happens for each and every one of you sometime soon. Okay, champagne wishes and Subhuman dreams to you all.

Brent Wright

Blue Sky Bag I feel your love for this show. I was there, Stage left (Bucks side) and very clearly remember the dancing girl ("Susie dear let's take a walk just outside upon the beach") and incredible set list that night.

By far the best show of the many I have seen over the years but nothing will ever, and I mean ever, touch the '74 show at Golden Hall (see my comments in the '74 history section).

But this 4th & B show renewed my love for this band which has been my favorite since I was 15. I can remember standing next to a guy that night who could not have been more than 23 and seeing the look on his face as he watched the Oyster Boys kick ass that night. I asked him if he had ever seen them before and he said no and then replied "these guys rock harder than any new band these days".

That made my night knowing that it was not just me caught in this amazing show. "It's the nexus of the crisis and the origin of storms".

Ray Dios Apier

Saturday's St. Petersburg show was one of those combinations of the sublime and the ridiculous. From a weather perspective, it couldn't have been better. The temperature was in the 70s, no rain was forecast for the evening, the sky was clear... all important ingredients for an outside show. The venue, Jannus Landing, is actually a pretty popular place for bands to play when passing through, and with local residents, who are used to the casual, open, style you'd expect where sunshine is the number one export. Blue Oyster Cult, when they finally went onstage (see below for more on the less-than-perfect first part of the night), played well on all songs, and on most with evident enthusiasm. As an opening number, "Dr. Music" is driving and complex and engaged the audience right away. The mix suffered through "first-song syndrome" as the sound technicians struggled with the acoustics and typical problems, and Buck's guitar sounded a bit muted to me, but the crowd loved it. Next, "ETI" got people moving, and it seemed that the band really put some zest into the revised power chord ending of the song. The sound mix continued to improve through this song and the ensuing "Dance on Stilts", which rocked hard. "Harvester of Eyes" appealed also to the crowd, judging from their reaction, and I thought it sounded fine, too, as I sang along, much to my delight and the misery of everyone around me.

But what came next was pure joy for the die-hard BOC fan: Eric introduced the following songs by describing how the band had decided to dig into it's "discography" (his words) and bring a few songs into the set that they hadn't played in 20 years or so. Buck launched into "I Love the Night" and I think that the folks standing next to me were probably shocked at my howls of ecstasy. The live version has lost some of the ambience of the studio version, of course, but gains with a more hypnotic, driving pulse, a clear focus on Buck's lead patterns, and the mysterious new third verse. I'm sorry, I couldn't make the words out either, but my sense of the lyrics I could hear suggested that they were from the perspective of the aged vampire, long past the conversion described in the earlier verse, which of course, makes me want to know what they are even more than ever. The crowd liked it too, despite the somewhat thin arrangement, for the same reasons, I think.

But the band wasn't complete with their surprises yet, no, not by a long shot. After some rhythmic riffing by Buck, the band settled into the opening riffs of "Tattoo Vampire", a great choice which they played aggressively. If you could have been a floating observer above the crowd, you would have recognized me as the idiot dancing and thrusting my arms spastically into the air, spouting on and on about "grisly smiles that won't flake off" and (my favorite BOC verse), "carny-colored demons leering". Great fun.

If Jannus Landing had had a roof, the band would have blown it off with the next song, "Shooting Shark". For those of you well-familiar with the song on The Revolution By Night, try to imagine the song accelerated a bit, with all of the rigid 80s' drum machine rhythms ripped right out of it and the sax replaced by searing, jaw-dropping lead riffs traded off between verses by Allen and Buck. Then add Danny's ultra-funk bass and Bobby's rock drum attack. For final measure, recall how the early Chili Peppers sounded when Flea was stretching and the band was locked into a thrashy metal-funk riff, but imagine if they were actually singing instead of shouting, and singing a dramatic verse that you too could sing along with, reminiscing about where and when you lived and whom you knew in the mid-80s, when you first heard this song. Only then do you begin to approximate how heavy, cool and energizing this song sounds like live. They thundered on this song. It still pumps me up thinking about it.

Finally, they closed out the middle section of new songs with "Divine Wind", which, like SS, sounded much harder-edged than the recorded version on Cultosaurus Erectus. It really worked well as a song, topicality or no. To the pacifists that may be reading this, I'm not sure what to say, but Saturday night about 1000 people or so were ready to send whomever we're fighting straight to hell. Pretty scary thought.

Then came the Final Four of the regular Big 6 BOC songs: "Cities on Flame", followed by "Burnin' for You", "Godzilla", and "Don't Fear the Reaper". All songs sounded great, but the highlight (sorry UK folks) was the bass solo and drum solo in Godzilla! Seriously! I saw Danny's ability in a whole new light, as he plays to the crowd, ripping incredibly funky riffs off with fantastic precision, interspersed with harmonic-laden melodies, demonstrating great musicality and tapping technique. But, more than that, Danny is just totally and sincerely fun to watch. A true professional. In fact, all of the band showed great professionalism as they worked through the same songs that they've played at least 1000 times before. Allen was really engaged with the audience, smiling, pointing, riffing with the other band members; Buck and Danny challenging each other with intense new riffs; Bobby pounding the skins like a rock robot god; Eric aloof above it all in a sort of humorous way.

The introduction to DFTR deserves special mention; those familiar with the Intro on "A Long Day's Night" know that was abbreviated and not the typical Dharm-ian exploration of sonic innovation. Last night, Buck really explored the edges, setting up almost contrapuntal melody lines by relying on a delay effect to allow him to build a multi-textured sound. I thought it was a great demonstration of his musical genius - a guitarist's guitar player.

I won't say much more about Cities, Burnin', Godzilla, and Reaper, except that everyone, particularly me, was sing-shouting the lyrics in the audience throughout all of these songs, staying with the band through complex changes, and hanging on every note.

After Reaper concluded, the band basked in the glow of the audience's appreciation on stage, allowing us to show our humble appreciation with the only instruments we had: our voice and our hands, as we yelled ourselves hoarse and clapped until our hands were man-burger. It was fun to watch as someone hurled their album sleeve cover of "On Your Feet or On Your Knees" on-stage, and Allen signed it, pointing it out to Eric.

They left the stage for only a few minutes, and came back with Eric declaring that they only had time for a fast one, and I knew what was coming and starting screaming in anticipation as Buck started the band off like a lurching rocket with "Dominance and Submission". Again, I'm screaming the verses, the chorus, hell every damn note, because this is the song I've taken my online name from, and one of the most compellingly dramatic rock tunes every made, in my humble opinion. Buck's excellent soloing burned through every second of the song; the band even made the audience call-and-response fun, despite what must have been (again) the 1000th time they've played it. After this song, the band hung around on stage a bit, with Buck signing someone's Tyranny and Mutation album sleeve, with a sincere and seemingly easy-going attitude by all of the band members. Then they left the stage, no more encores were allowed (downtown noise ordinance, you know, it was after 11, after all!), and they scooted off stage. As I left, I nearly ran into Allen as he made his way back to their bus; he and I both stopped to avoid running into each other; I thanked him for a great show, and ushered him on by. I'm sure he didn't hear it or see me but I was content with this one small courtesy I could show him in small appreciation for the enjoyment the band has provided to me all these years.

A great evening out, a great show, a great band, everything was great...well, except for a few items... let me explain, starting with the opening act. They were, how shall we say, a nightmare: a local 70's cover band called "Rock Candy". This was the major source of the "agony" we experienced, while the promoter didn't help matters much by delaying the start of the show by one-half hour, with the objective, I'm sure, of making more time for people to buy drinks and food. Our other major sources of discomfort for the concert included the short-order grill in the back of the Landing. The greasy stench emanating from those hot plates made me long for the ridiculous Sarasota Dog Track show that I saw them at last summer, or possibly one of those "Rib/Beer/Summer-" fests that seem to populate the band's summer schedule. Anything better than smelling that flat, fatty cooking odor all freakin' night.

The opening act worked through competent but overdriven versions of Tull/Zep/Journey/Metallica hits that we quickly grew tired of within what I would say without exaggeration to be the first, oh, say, 30 seconds. Here's the problem: I respect the rights and opportunities of bands who are starting out to seek out any opportunity to open for an act of such stature as BOC. Hell, I remember when my band once opened for 10,000 Maniacs 20 years ago and the humbling sense of privilege we all felt. But we were an "original" band. We didn't do tired covers of old metal hits, or anybody's hits, for that matter. All tunes were locally conceived and powered by the kind of youthful naivete, energy, and creativity that you can find in a college town. So, there was something of interest there for everyone.

Not so last night. The 35 minutes that Rock Candy were excruciating for me. Even my hard-rocking spouse found them tiresome, even when they played her favorite Metallica song. The crowd reception of this cover band was decidedly mixed. There was a mob at the front that were highly amped on excess quantities of alcohol (and the weed whose potent aroma mixed with the hamburger stench wafting throughout the Landing to queasy effect), and sadly, urging Rock Candy to even greater depths of banality. The crowning touch came, I suppose, when a tiny, drunken woman and her date staggered by us, giving an unwitting impression of Quasimodo beseeching the jeering crowd as she exhorted us to "Dance, damn it, what' the hell's wrong with you?" I remember looking down at this troll-like creature with a look of complete disinterest, hoping she'd go away. Not to be deterred, she gave me a shove in the chest, and with even greater feeling, I think, although it was hard to hear her garbled message, given the alcohol her mental synapses were laboring against, urging me to "Dance, what's wrong with you?". Fearful of a troll-fight (I'm sure I'd never win...trolls can kick with great precision, I'm sure), I looked past her toward the stage, praying that the band's screaming tenor would end his tormenting shriek, let the freakin' Sandman enter, and hush the little children for once and for all. Mercifully, the troll was absorbed back into the crowd and we were left alone, surrounded by other equally bored folks, in the thickening miasma of hamburger grease, smoke from the great burning of a variety of legal and illegal leaves, and, of course, the flood of spilling beer that now coated the Landing in an increasing torrent as people began losing even greater amounts of motor control than they normally marginally possess.

And so you say, "What's my point?". Yes the above bizarreness is what you expect in a general admission, open outdoors place like St Pete where there are all sorts of 60s burnouts and acid casualties floating around. But seriously, I am appalled that either the band's management or the local promoter put these abysmally rank amateurs in with our boys as a "compatible" opening act, or however they billed it. It would be one thing, for example, if BOC had been billed with Steppenwolf, Foghat or some other 60s/70s rehab band, because in their time, those bands were attempting some originality in their music. I would've had some reservations, but still would have gone to the show.

In this case, in all likelihood, the band's management had been given insufficient information to make the call about agreeing to the opening band, if it was even theirs to make. By suggesting or agreeing to the local act, the local promoter showed a deep lack of familiarity with BOC and the reason they're so popular still...their long and continuing history of playing original rock music, not as hacks ripping off covers. Man. I'm burned up about this mismatch. It was really as bad as I'm saying.

On Saturday night, as we saw the dismal shape forming in the hamburger-and-potsmoke-stench mists of the opening act, our only hope was that Blue Oyster Cult would come on...soon, dammit! And as I've described above, thank God they did, and blew our socks off. Well worth the torture we endured. I hope they enjoyed it even more than we did, and I hope equally strongly that they return again, as often as they can for as long as they can. I'd even go to Jannus Landing again to see them...but I'll stand as far away from that freakin' grill as possible.

CaOBoy

On the basis of this show, I think the brit fans are in for a treat in summer 2003. The stronger middle period content of the gig was refreshing, as last years dates plundered the first three albums (no complaints from me there.)

This was my ninth boc show, but the first without eti. This is often the second song of the set, so a good crunchy tattoo vampire with eric growling about the inkers parlour was a refreshing change. Doctor music was a good bouncy opener, since I was 15, that song has always sugested a nubile girl in a bikini giving me a couple of black eyes. it must be that energetic riff.

I love the night was marvellous - very atmospheric and with the extra verse added in. I just stood there (centre seats, 5 rows back) with the sound washing over me. In the early 80s I saw boc 4 times, all we got from spectres was u-no-wat, so to have heard gaol last year and iltn this really has pulled that album back to the fore for me. As soon as Sarah (my lovely understanding wife who allows me to indulge my passion for boc pretty well) got me home from manchester airport I got spectres out and played it for ages. That is one very atmospheric album. Needless to say I took her out for a special dinner at her favourite restaurant that night!

Divine wind was superb. Never mind the current political climate, every now and again you have to say it like it is. Anyway its about the Ayatollah and he's well gone. Meanwhile the tension of the lyric and the closing chords were really strong. Also a very good shooting shark, better than the versions I heard on the revolution by night tour. Longer, and with Alan taking a more upfront role.

Alan looked to really enjoy himself during the show, taking real pleasure in his increased guitar role, and Bucks boogie was as fluid as ever.

Maybe the set could have had a song or two more, but when I saw them in the early 80s, take out three covers and you were left with 11 BOC songs. These days the covers aren't unfolded, so 13 boc songs with this new material is pretty bloody good.

The theatre itself was magnificent - a bit like newcastle opera house but a size or so larger, and far more grand - very plush, marble and red velvet, gold leaf and more chandeliers than you could shake a stick at. Many original features retained / restored, and the atmosphere before the gig was great - these old theatres remind me of the inner gatefold of oyfooyk, and its really great to go to such a superb venue. The bar after was free, and there was more Wisconsin sausage than I could handle. Now that is a sausage It has a real good flavour and a specific density of about 3kg/cc.

Danny Miranda talked very entertainingly about getting lost near the swallow hotel in Gateshead (eeeuuurrgh) and having some difficulty understanding the Geordie accent (know what you mean mate) and his enjoyment of English pubs and walking in England. Hopefully I'll be able to link up with the band for a drink in the summer - I'm off to 5 gigs this time.

Rob Roubick

Hiya, just got back from my 30th Blue Öyster Cult show in 30 years, so I thought I'd better email you while the show is still fresh in my mind.

The show took place at the Pabst Theater in downtown Milwaukee, a beautiful old building that dates back to the 1890's. I'd guess the place holds about 1,000 people, but it was barely half full. The main reasons, I believe, were the very high ticket prices (we paid $49.00 each for 4th row seats), and the fact that BÖC has several more shows in Wisconsin later in the summer, mostly playing at outdoor fests with small admission charges.

Still, after the dreadful local cover band, The Crisis, opened the show,the small but boisterous crowd was primed for BÖC. As usual, they did not disappoint, even playing several songs I'd never seen them play. The sound was a bit mushy, the playing a bit sloppy, but the power of BÖC came through loud and clear.

It was a blast to hear "I Love The Night", "Shooting Shark" and "Divine Wind" for the first time, as well as "Dr.Music" and "Tattoo Vampire", neither of which I've heard them play in years.

All in all, another quality gig from the still mighty BÖC. I can't wait to see 'em again!

PS: Three recent BÖC namechecks:

Sport

Set list correct. The review is good. Highlights for us Tattoo Vampire and I love the Night. Special for us 'cause I had e-mailed Buck days before asking himif they could play I love the Night cause it was the wifes and I anniversary.

After show Buck, Danny and Bobby came into bar for a private party that RJAY had set up. My brother ERIC and his wife were in town from Atlanta to see show. Them having met at previous shows.

We got pics taken together with Bobby and Danny. Buck was a little busy with other fans.

Sport

Set list correct. DePere show is where I got Bobby to sign his solo cd RONDINELLI.

Also at DePere first time we heard Black Blade in quite a long time for us anyway.

Sport

Set list correct. The PORTAGE show was cool because they were heading to England in a few days so they played a little longer for the "hardcore fans" that were in attendance, according to Buck when we talked to him after the show. i.e Astronomy.

Gig with Bad Company and Kansas at the Stratosphere Casino, Las Vegas NV was cancelled after an injury to Headliner Paul Rodgers...

ETI

Wavendon, a small village on the outskirts of Milton Keynes, Monday 2nd June, BOC's first gig of the 2003 UK tour. And what an opener. These boys never disappoint.

9 pm, and the blade runner theme begins as a wash of blue light floods the stage. Too light to hide the Cult's shadowy entrance on stage. With 10 year old son Adam sitting next to me, even I was taken aback by the explosion of sound as " Dr Music" pounded this small 400 seater venue into oblivion! Boy was it loud ! It was Adam's first rock concert and I think he was a tad surprised.

A superb mid song Buck guitar break got the juices flowing, then came ETI. Now I never ever tire of hearing this song, especially the live versions. I love the lead breaks in it and the chorus inspiring and demands that you sing it. Sat on the other side of me was a rather demure lady who must have been wondering who or what she was sat next to, as I sang every word punching the air etc.

Dance on Stilts followed, immaculately played but not one of my Fave's. Harvester of Eyes next, played as on the outstanding and astounding "A Long Days Night" DVD.

"1 2 3 4" Buck counts us into Burnin' for You. This sounded great, but it is a big fave of mine and I think that it was played better than on the DVD (mind you it was so loud Bucks guitar was getting lost at times).

After another rapturous audience cheered the end of BFY, Eric announced that the band had spent the winter rehearsing some new material ; cue Shooting Shark ( Danny excellent on bass here) and Tattoo Vampire ( Woody a bit slow to turn Eric's vocals up I thought). Both sounded mighty fine.

Divine Wind was played tighter than a frogs waterproof arse, brilliantly chunky and heavy, with every "then lets send him to hell..." greeted with a flood of red light on the stage... magnificent

Cities on Flame next ( again a song I never tire of live, because of the audience participation). Adam loved this, especially Buck's guitar tricks...

I Love the Night was nice, again expertly played (once Buck had turned his amp up) and set us up for the big finale of Godzilla and DFTR. Godzilla is a great live song, previous live recordings I heard have been a bit loose ( presumably cos the band think it's a party song) but this was as kick bottom a tight rocking version as I ever heard. Loved it.

DFTR was great as always, still played with a stack load of energy, as good as any previous live versions. These guys never ever suck.

One gripe : all seater venue. I was desperate to get to the front and really get down and my wish came true when we piled down to the front for a truly searing encore version of The Red and the Black. A dream come true for me ; shaking hands with Eric before he left the stage and Danny too. Eric gave Adam his pick which was a great gesture. These boys are class.

10:30 pm ; it was over all too quickly.

Afterwards Adam and I hung around with 20 or so others outside the stage door. Danny had beaten us to it and was already in the middle of a crowd chatting away. He came down the ramp to talk to us and he was very nice to Adam, posing for a picture as well.

Went up to the bar where Buck and Bobby were holding court. Shook Buck's hand but didn't hassle for a photo as he looked done in. Saw Eric and Allen backstage, even getting a nod of acknowledgement from Allen. Went home a bit stunned. My Rush and Hawkwind collection will be gathering dust for a while, I only want to listen to BOC at the moment.

DesdinovaUK

The day gets off to a good start with a late BOC themed breakfast (you had to be there really) followed by a mid afternoon departure to Milton Keynes, in the "Snowmobile" - my first real experience of open topped "cabrio" travel - suffice to say that I could definitely get used to it!

Arriving at the venue (as last year, in the middle of nowhere, still surrounded by sheep- sadly lacking the nearby crane festival though this year) Doug, Anita and I roll up to find BOCFANBOB standing outside with Jack Secret. Introductions over, we are interrupted by a very pink (ooo err) looking tour bus, containing a certain "upbeat musical combo". Once reunions over amongst the US contingent, a certain lead guitarist turns to me, offers me his hand and says simply, "Hi I'm Buck". (This is closely followed by Eric staring at me closely, before stating "Cool T Shirt" - aaah the seal of approval for this year's model!

I then find myself doing a reality check, as I proceed inside the venue for the sound check, Golden Age and Veteran wetting the appetite before we all retire to a local hostelry, with Simon, Paul & Sue and Jack, plus another US fan (Andrew?). Beer flows, as does the chat as the anticipation builds, indeed Doug got so excited that he "stole" Paul's garlic bread thinking for some reason that it was the bread and olives he'd ordered!

Returning to the venue, further acquaintances are renewed with the newly formed 3 Men in Black (Rob, Tom and Georg), Andrew R, Andrew A, Brian, plus Rob Miller from the US celebrating his 245'th show!

Eventually we take our seats, have I time for the toilet I wonder, (worrying in case I won't last to Godzilla)? As I enter the toilet the Bladerunner theme starts, heralding the show (a phenomenon to be repeated at Southampton and the Astoria). I regain my seat to the opening bars of Dr Music, a damn site better opener than last years Buring for You IMHO.

What follows was a great show - OK the band were tired - they had flown in less than 24 hours before and anyone who has done it knows that West to East jet lag is the worst. However this was still IMHO a good show - a damn sight better than last years (and not just due to the absence of the "Twat in the Hat").

Dr Music was followed by ETI - then came Stilts - my favourite from CoTHM and the first time I'd heard it - it did NOT disappoint. Harvester followed - great, good song, Burning - OK I don't mind this one, better mid set than an opener for me.

Shooting Shark? OK being honest - Paul and I will disagree until the cows come home on this one. Although I will admit that I really like the "jam" at the end (and I accept that all of the band put their hearts into it) the song as a whole has never done anything for me. Let's have the "jam" without the rest of the song IMHO.

Shark was followed by Tattoo Vampire - again not a favourite song of mine, however the live version was definitely better than the studio version.

Then came Divine Wind! Politically, certain members of the band and I could not be further apart, however if you forget such aspects (and no mention was made by the band, to their credit) I have always loved this one, and the live version was amazing (and it got better each night that I saw it), the "spoof" endings, only to crank it up a bit afterwards were superb IMHO.

A solid Cities on Flame, with the usual crowd pleasing finger stretching was followed by (for me) the highlight of the night, I Love the Night complete with 3'rd verse. Amazing, superb; if they'd played this repeatedly all night I'd probably have been content. This turned out to be the only time I was fortunate enough to hear this on the tour, more's the pity.

Zilla and Reaper followed, along with an excellent "intro" - which seemed to grow as the tour went on (Paul became the official "intro" timekeeper for the tour after this show).

The encore, which finally got the rest of us (sometime after Anita and her Norwegian friend) to our feet was a stonking version of The Red and The Black - the band too, seemed to come alive for this one. But then all too soon it was over.

After chatting in the bar with Buck, Danny and Bobby, it was time to say farewell, to the other onliners. For some, Leeds and Nottingham called, for Doug, Anita and myself, a 2 hour drive back to Dover and a wait for Southampton on Thursday.

Ralph

Last time I'd been in Leeds was 1979 to see BOC supported by Magnum at the now defunct Queens Hall and I spent the early afternoon wandering round Leeds City centre and thinking how much it looked like anywhere else now. Parts even looked like Liverpool. Same bloody shops wherever you go... what's the point of that? I got bored in the end, and picked up a street map to find out where the Irish Centre was.

I discovered it was outside the centre on the York Road ring road so I hopped on a bus and arrived an hour before the doors opened to find the usual suspects already staked out at the front of the queue to guarantee their places in the Buck Zone: Paul and Sue, Dynabob, Tom, Gareth and Lesley, to name just a few plus it was great to meet Georg over from MG again. This time he's doing the full tour but not on his bike this time - he's doing it in a rental car (not quite as rock'n'roll).

I got introduced to BOCFanBob who was over here to do the full tour and he seemed a real nice bloke but all the time he was talking, I was staring hypnotically at the "All Areas Axis" backstage pass around his neck (I'm shallow like that...) The bar was already open and the queue slowly and surely began to build. The outside of the Irish Centre wasn't very prepossessing - it looked like a school gym or something and I couldn't help thinking that this was a band who'd played Madison Square Garden in their time yet tonight it was the Leeds Irish Centre. And what's more - it was unlikely to sell out!! I don't understand how the world works, that's for sure... oh well....

Once inside the venue, I went down to the front and secured a spot in front of Danny's monitor. I had intended to hang further back and seek out an acoustically acceptable spot from which to better enjoy the show, but once I was in there I thought "Fuck that" and ran down the front. A very short-termist point-of-view, of course, but I'd never previously had the opportunity to get that close to my favourite band before and I took it with both feet.

Whilst stood there idly watching the singer out of the support band tuning his guitar, I heard what sounded like a young Slim Pickens with a megaphone entering from the back. I turned round and finally saw the legendary Rob Miller sauntering in to join our merry throng. Rob, a veteran of almost 250 BOC shows, would hit that milestone on this tour and, consequently, my jealousy knew no bounds.

The support band, Catylyst, came on and bugger me if they weren't half-bad. I remember thinking it sounded musically like "The Zones meet Slipknot" - they only did about 7/8 songs, which is a good length for a support and although I normally hate the whole concept of support bands, I wouldn't mind hearing some more from these.

When BOC trooped onstage, it was very strange being so close to them - it was only when Jack Secret picked up the mike and asked "What say we rock?" that I realised it was really happening - I was actually only three foot away from Buck Dharma as the band kicked into "Dr. Music" to start the show off. This was just plain weird... The only thing to find fault with was that I don't like this song much - never done a lot for me really and I don't rate it as a good opener for them. Tattoo Vampire, on the other hand, would be a great opening tune... I really hoped we would get that tonight...

Eric said he was glad there were so many people here, especially the onliners down the front - "fucking assholes..." and then recovered enough to tack on the end "we love ya"... Hmm... Perhaps he should consider a career in the diplomatic service...

By now I was desperately trying to work out how the digital camera I'd borrowed worked - I couldn't use flash (I'm considerate like that, y'see) and all I knew was that there wasn't enough light - by the time I emerged from this worrying quandary, the band were already into a great laid back version of "Before the Kiss".

Pocket was next and didn't seem quite to go to plan - and at one point it almost all came to a stuttering stop as everyone seemed to forget where they where or what bit came next - probably jetlag was a bit of a factor by now but by Harvester of Eyes they'd shaken it off and were what is commonly referred to as "rocking"....

After the ever-present Burnin for You came Joan Crawford. Buck switched to a wood finish custom Harper's 'Buck Dharma' model guitar and I noticed Paul and Sue getting very excited. Sue seemed to be screaming in glee. Jeez -she must really like Joan Crawford, I thought. Then, during the song, Buck seemed to gesture to the Yorkshire twosome during the verse and they looked very pleased. Weird, I thought...

Shooting Shark and Divine Wind were eagerly anticipated and didn't disappoint. Shooting Shark occupies the "Last days of May" spot, featuring a weedy-sounding Allen solo followed up by a fruity closing solo by Buck. Why Allen continues to use a tinny-sounding Fender defeats me - he should get out the old Gibson LP or something with a bit more clout. At least put some chorus echo on it or something.

Divine Wind was pretty bloody good - it's had some modifications as you'd expect and seems a bit faster too but it's got a great new "false" ending - although I still actually prefer the older live version from the early 80s.

Next, Eric ditched his guitar and strode out with the mike to do a menacing Lips and this was followed by a personal highlight - "I Love the Night" complete with the infamous third verse... I'd more or less given up ever being able to hear this live so this was a real treat. A rousing, rowdy Golden Age of Leather - again on the wood finish custom Harper's - took us into the set closers: Godzilla and Reaper.

Godzilla still contains the bass and drum solos - they seemed shorter this time around thankfully. Danny definitely had fun with his solo spot and the audience seemed to enjoy it too, so I won't waste any space on my own opinions of this section. Dunno if Bobby enjoyed his reception as he never smiles - actually he looks bored to buggery all the time and looks as if he'd rather be somewhere else...

The DFTR intro seems to have expanded somewhat and is nearly an entity in it's own right. Buck when asked afterwards if this piece has a name yet said: "yes - it's the intro to Reaper".... Oh, OK, don't tell me then....

Reaper was as good as ever and then before you knew it, they were exchanging low-fives with the fans as they trooped offstage. I couldn't believe it - finished already!!! Where had the time gone...

The single encore was "Black Blade", with Buck doing his best to make his guitar "howl like Hell" - I haven't been to Hell yet but it sounded pretty authentic....

Afterwards, Buck Danny and Bobby happily came out to chat to folk. Meanwhile, I noticed Paul had collected a guitar from the roadies and was standing there with it at his feet. This struck me as odd, and it was only when Buck was thanking him for allowing him to use it that a very slow penny started to drop. Buck had been using Paul's guitar... that was why they were getting excited !! DoHHH!! Nobody tells me nuffin!!! Oh well... the value of that guitar just doubled...

Then, weirdly Allen appeared and was suddenly surrounded - he signed a few autographs in shock and then backed away and out to the tour bus as fast as he could. It would appear that he took a wrong turning when coming out the dressing room/toilet and accidentally re-entered the hall!! He didn't actually say "Eeekk!!! Fans!!!!" but I'm sure he wasn't far off... Eric of course was spirited out of the Centre inside a large guitar case custom-built for that very purpose...

And so it was over... the sound had been a bit ropey from where I was, and it had been very hot and loud but I had really enjoyed the show simply because I'd been so close. Watching Buck's fingers from three feet away was an interesting experience but tomorrow night in Nottingham, I was determined to get a good place near the mixing desk so's I could actually hear the new songs properly...

Ralph

I arrived early afternoon with Andrew (Grinning Boy) and Gareth and Lesley. We checked out the venue and I was very surprised at the total lack of any publicity outside the Rock City.

Sure, there were lots of posters outside advertising every gig they had booked for what looked like the next year. Motorhead were coming in 4 months time apparently and there was even a large sandwich board advertising Kelly Bloody Osbourne, but was there even a hint that the greatest band in the known universe was about to play there? Was there buggery!! We retired to the nearby Horn in the Hand pub in worried mood. Would anyone come? Did anyone even know about it?

The Rock City is next to the Trent University and the whole area was full of (I can't do justice to Paul Calf so I won't try) "students"... perhaps they'd help swell the numbers... I bloody hoped so.

Went for a wander round the City Centre later on - it'll be nice when they finish building it - they seem to be tearing up the place for tramlines at the moment. I dunno... they rip 'em out in the 50s/60s then half century later they put them back. What's next? Re-opening the mines? I vote for kids up chimneys - teach the little bastards a lesson...

When I turned up at the club about an hour before kickoff, there was a massive queue of...three. Tom, Rob and Georg (the Men in Black). I began to fear the worst attendance-wise... I looked up and saw a sign on the wall which gave the capacity as 2450!! Oh dear....

One or two others joined our merry throng... one guy behind me said it was his first BOC gig since the first 1975 Hammersmith show!! What a pair of bookends these 2 shows would make!! He told me there'd been no local publicity for the gig at all and he'd only found out about it from a small sign he'd noticed inside the Rock City box office when he was in there over another matter!! Don't the club want to shift any tickets? Don't they want to shift any beer? I do not understand, I really don't....

At one point, Miller wandered up and sat down on the steps. "Do any of you have any Mandrex", he asked. I didn't but I did have a couple of prescription painkillers, so I duly handed them over... He then asked us "How many quids are there in a pound?"... Classic stuff!! Let's hope he learns before he meets his first London taxi-driver, whose eyes will light up if he hears talk like this...

We went in at 7.30 and secured places near the front - we needn't have queued to get them, which was a pain. The venue looked pretty compact and there was an Astoria-like balcony which was closed off (why??) - I debated what the view would be like from the steps and although I reckoned it'd be good, my taste for the Buck Zone had been whetted at Leeds last night so I stayed where I was. Actually, I was between Eric and Buck - an Allen zone if you like - I thought I'd give it a go from there.

The Welsh support band - whose name escapes me - something like Karnataka (I thought that was one of the objectives in "Risk") - cancelled very late - singer had a sore throat - so we all hoped for an extra special longer BOC set - well, you can dream, can't you? I remember looking round at one point and noticing that there seemed to be more people in the place down the sides near the bars - perhaps it wouldn't be so bad, after all...

At 9.15, the new "Matrix 2" intro tape came on - doesn't do the job for me to be honest, and then - after almost three minutes of snare tests, keyboard prodding, E-string twanging and lots of "one..two"s, (otherwise known as a soundcheck on the fly) "Alice Cooper's dad" (OK, Jack Secret, but I heard him called that by someone watching him cross the road in Manchester) grabbed the mike and enquired "What say we rock?". Seems a bit casual to me - I think Sam Judd can rest easy that his 75 Commack intro will never be trumped, at any rate... I glanced behind me and the place was heaving - where had everyone come from? This was more like it!!

"Dr Music" opened as yesterday and this was followed by "Teen Archer". I love "Teen Archer" and I was very happy to hear it live - a great version. The Curse song tonight was "Stilts" - do they only know two??? Then a rousing "Harvester" - this is a fantastic song but the harmonies were a bit lax....

"Burnin" was next and then Telepaths - deep joy to hear this again - I don't think there's anyone alive in the world today who doesn't think this is a brilliant song... apart from my mum, I suppose...

A short, sharp journey across the Channel with some silver slugs eager to feed was next and then the sumptuous sound of the "Shooting Shark" as it lit up our sky... and it was duelling banjoes with Allen again...

Next, a "Divine Wind" blew through the Rock City and political differences were temporarily laid aside as we urged on the imperialistic agression of the New Rome (perhaps I could get a job on Al Jazeera...?) - again, wisely, Eric Bloom drew no overt contemporary parallels...

"Buck's Boogie" came as a pleasant surprise and went down a storm - this is my favourite track off the DVD (for a number of reasons) and this version kicked it's arse!! Buck almost needed to soak his fingers in a bowl of water afterwards....

"Godzilla" gave way to "DFTR" - that intro's geting longer!! - and after the waves and hand slaps, they're off and we're shouting for an encore ....

Eric strides on sans guitar and I think "Lips" but, no - it's "See You in Black" with it's charming, sometimes strangely specific, lyric - this would make a great crossover song - if you're trying to turn a metal fan onto BOC, you might play this first to them before you get onto "Veteran" off "ETL" or "Subhuman" off "OYFOOYK"...

We only had one encore last night but I was feeling hopeful we might get more. I'd gotten the distinct impression that Eric, the oberFuhrer of the setlists, had been enjoying himself tonight - a lot more than yesterday for some reason - the Leeds crowd had been as enthusiastic as this one, but there was something intangible in the air tonight and a happy glint in the gloom of the Bloom specs... plus he didn't call us "fucking assholes" like last night....sweet!!

The band made an initial move to depart but Eric motioned Allen back to the keyboards and made a gesture - later related to me by Grinning Boy, Andrew - of an inverted V-sign turned into an "A" by the addition of the index finger of the other hand....Hmm..... now what song - beginning with "A" - might Eric expect us to appreciate....?

As Eric burrowed into his shoulder-bag on the drum platform for his tambourine, the opening notes of "Astronomy" got the biggest cheer of the night - we'd waited in vain all last tour to witness this, now here it was.... what can I say but: outstanding... How did Eric handle it - particularly the demanding end part? Difficult to hear from where I was, but it didn't matter on the night - all that matters was they did it and we loved it!! It seemed to me that almost as soon as it started, it was over and they were off the stage for good....

Afterwards - it's strange - I think we need a new word for that feeling of unconsolable loss that they've gone yet overwhelming satisfaction for an excellent show... anyway, whatever this nameless emotion is, we all felt it....

The whole thing was somewhat spoilt by the Rock City staff trying to chuck us all out almost immediately - have they never heard of the post-gig pint? Anyway, I got to see my old mate Steve Beresford again who was down with his wife and some mates from work - nothing like trying to get some new BOC converts!! Also met Andrew Rushton too - so many Andrews in the BOC fanbase!! Then it was out into the warm June night. First thing I see is Eric, Allen and Bobby walking past me right-to-left down towards the town, caps pulled low over their eyes... Obviously walking back towards their hotel - or to see if they can catch last orders at the Horn in Hand...

We wander up the hill to the small car park at the back of the club anyway, where the massive lilac-coloured Aztec BOC coach is parked up - I think they were having to leave it there as there was nowhere else they could park the bloody thing...

We found Buck holding court to some fans - plus Danny chatting to some other fans (and probably wishing BOC weren't such a "guys'" band) - always these two seem to do the post-gig fraternisation - respect to that. I don't like to do the fan thing so I just watched and chatted to folk but was happy to shake Buck's hand when he stepped across to thank me for "keeping the faith"... As a lapsed Catholic, I didn't think this was necessarily true, but I in turn thanked him for coming and assured him if BOC keep coming, we'll keep going...

I was also happy to meet James Stewart at last and had an all too short a chat... I'd forgotten he actually lived in Nottingham - that's the problem with email - you lose track of geography...

So all in all, a great show. I was having to depart the BOC bandwagon for a few days at this point due to personal - and work - reasons but Bilston represented a welcoming beacon for next Sunday... and I couldn't wait!!

James Stewart

Let me set the scene by saying that BOC are my favourite band ... bar none. Ever since my older brother locked me in a room and didn't let me out until I had been forced to listen to the whole of the first album (I got my revenge by nicking his BÖC records before he went off to university - he's never forgiven me).

I saw BÖC at the Astoria in London in 2002 and was blown away at how good the band sounded. That was my third BÖC gig and the first time I had seen them in 14 years. My previous two shows had been at London's Hammersmith Odeon in 1985 and 1988.

Whilst I had never stopped listening to them, it's fair to say that the Heaven Forbid and Curse of the Hidden Mirror albums had rekindled my appetite for all things BÖC. Until then I had been making do with trying to get bootleg copies of their nineties gigs (ebay is great).

Post-millenium we are spoiled for choice with new BÖC product (no choice of course 'cos you've got to have it all), whilst web access to sites like Hot Rails To Hull has made available all the up-to-date information I had missed when BÖC came over to the UK in the 1990s.

Given all of the above you can imagine how I felt when I found out that BÖC were going to be playing my home town....

No long train and tube journeys and no wondering if I was going to have to choose between missing the last song or the last train home (it would have to have been the train naturally).

Doors opened at 7.30pm so I arrived at the venue at about 8pm to see people making their way into the venue, mostly in ones and twos. Having got past the ticket desk I looked for the merchandise stall. This was a small hole in the wall to your left as you enter the club and was to prove my only minor disappointment of an otherwise fabulous evening: There were a total of two T-shirts on sale and no other gear. That was your lot. There were also a few T-shirts on sale saying Karnataka who I assume were the scheduled support band but who never made it to the stage. I guess it was too much to hope that there would be a tour programme or any other gear on sale. I live in hope that BÖC will use their website to start selling good quality live gig recordings which now that their setlist has begun to vary a lot would be worth buying.

However this did nothing to dampen my enthusiasm and I decided to head for the bar. Nottingham's Rock City is like a small version of the Astoria in London but with more bars! There are two raised platforms either side of the stage and even when you are queuing for a beer you can get a decent view of the stage. The venue is more normally a night club with standing room only but with a great view of the stage. It's a fine venue to see live music and gives a real up close feel with the band. I would guess that the band have played better though.

The venue had opened the back doors by the side of the stage to let a little air in. I know this is England and it's only the beginning of June but everyone was in T-shirts and it was actually a pretty warm night. Looking around I saw plenty of people wearing the 2003 tour shirt and it got me wondering; do some people turn up with no shirt on to these gigs or do they wear one shirt on top of the other? I hope it's because they were lucky enough to be able to follow BÖC round the country for a number of gigs on the tour!

The anticipation was building and the room was beginning to fill up, the sound guy came over to start fiddling with his knobs and switches when I got a tap on the shoulder. I was a bit concerned by this as I didn't think I'd know anyone at the gig. Bizarrely it turned out to be a guy I knew at school (in Kent) and hadn't seen for 18 years. The only thing I remembered for sure about Duncan was that I had introduced him to BÖC and god bless him here he was! Realising that I had come alone and was billy-no-mates for the evening Duncan kindly asked me to join him and the two Howards.

It barely seemed like we had caught up on the last 18 years when everything went quiet. Duncan was just in the middle of telling me that this was his first BÖC gig and that he was hoping to hear "Dr Music" when the band came on and thundered into that very song - bizarre!. "Dr Music" opened the show and sounded a little odd. It took the sound guy a while to get the sound right but the crowd seemed happy enough by the end of it. "Teen Archer" and "Dance on Stilts" came next but the band didn't really shrug off the jetlag and win the crowd over until the opening guitar chords of "Harvester of Eyes".

By the time "Harvester" had finished and the band had launched into "Burnin' For You" BÖC had got us all in the palm of their hand and they knew it. They were properly rocking by this stage. "Burnin' For You" finished and was followed by rapturous applause. Cue Bobby Rondinelli's drums signalling that the joke was on us - "Flaming Telepaths" was the first of three songs tonight from Treaties (Talking of which Duncan highly recommends a UK based BÖC covers band called Secret Treaties, who have played in the South of England, for those moments when BÖC are not in the UK). Buck had been fiddling with his POD (Guitar tone generating device for the non-musician minded among you) trying to get a sound that satisfied and by "ME 262" I was convinced he'd got it.

Then came a real surprise- I hadn't been expecting "Shooting Shark" in the set and I have to say it worked really well with real drums replacing the drumbox type sound the song has on Revolution by Night (Hats off to Mr Rondinelli once again).

This was the point in the evening BÖC got a bit political and out came a freshly relevant "Divine Wind" (originally aimed at the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran - "If he really thinks we're the Devil then let's send him to Hell"). I imagine this song has gone down really well in the States given their current involvement in Iraq. I think it went down less well over here and I suspect at least some of the crowd missed the relevance of it as there was no extended verbal introduction from Eric. I have to confess "Divine Wind" has never been my favourite BÖC song and I would have dearly loved to have had "Then Came The Last Days of May" complete with extended guitar workout or perhaps "Harvest Moon" or "Pocket" in it's place. However I forgot all about this as what followed was "Buck's Boogie" - one of all-time favourite BÖC tunes. Buck and the band didn't disappoint. Buck and Allen traded guitar and organ licks respectively for a glorious six minutes of the best guitar instrumental tune on the planet (eat your heart out Hank).

Eric told us that he thought he could hear giant footsteps walking up Maid Marian (Way) in Nottingham (not that far from the club - top research Mr Bloom - appreciated by the locals in the crowd) and proposed that it might in fact be Friar Tuck - the audience reassured him in fine voice that it was actually Godzilla. I have to confess to a twinge of disappointment at this stage. Not with the band as they were playing as well as I'd seen them play but because I was fairly sure we were getting near to the end of the gig. Bobby Rondinelli managed to make an average size drumkit sound absolutely enormous during his drum solo. I heard one uncharitable punter in the audience give this drum solo a six out of ten - I can only assume this guy was a drummer and was prepared to get up there and show us all how it should be done. I thought it was a great example of a breed I'm not that keen on.

At this point Mr Miranda also took his turn to shine with the Monster bass solo the guitars came crashing back in and all too soon we were hearing Buck playing a little solo intro piece as a prelude to "(Don't Fear) The Reaper". Reaper rocked as it always does and the band left the stage to much cheering and applause. The chant of BÖC, BÖC, BÖC brought them back a little quicker than at previous gigs I have seen (the backstage toilets must be closer) and we were treated to a full-on "See You In Black" in which the boys give Metallica a run for their money. During this song Eric's had some problems with his mic and Buck covered for him for a bit - interesting to hear Buck singing that one!

The band's final song on the night was "Astronomy" and as the crowd around me heard the opening line we all went a little barmy. Eric's voice had been in great form all night and luckily his mic continued working for the whole of this last song. Buck's guitar interlaced with Eric's voice for a rousing final choruses to a great show that started OK and took a few songs to hit it's stride but by the end was rocking with the crowd in full support.

I finished my pint and bade farewell to Duncan and the two Howards and made my way to the door wondering how there could have been a better way to spend a Wednesday night in Nottingham. The only way it could be better I thought was if I had met the band.... This got me to thinking about where the tour bus might be parked. I wondered since it was a reasonably warm night whether there might be anyone I would recognise hanging around there. I was in the middle of wondering this when I saw Allen Lanier and (please forgive me if this is wrong) Neville, the BÖC tour bus driver. I went up to Allen and congratulated him on great show but I think he had other things on his mind and was keen to get back to the hotel - fair enough - I think I would be pissed off with unsolicited approaches of fans wanting my time. Neville was a perfect gent and was keen that Allen acknowledge a fan - Thank you Neville).

I turned around at that point thinking it was pretty likely that I had met the only Oyster I was going to and it wasn't going to get any better. At this point I bumped into Duncan and the two Howards on the way to their car and told them what had happened. I think they assumed it was a wind-up. I wandered back towards the taxi rank but something made me turn around and I decided that I ought to go back and see who else might be near the bus as I hadn't actually got to it. My excitement mounted as I saw a few people by the bus and what looked like a purposeful group of two or three fans making their way towards it. I tagged onto this crowd and as I got nearer I realised that Mr Dharma himself was standing at the centre of this small crowd.

Buck was very generously spending time chatting to a small group of fans, most of whom he seemed to know. I said hi and shook his hand and spent a very pleasant ten minutes with the group chatting about all sorts of things - at least they were chatting - I was pretty tongue tied having just shaken hands with my all-time guitar hero and was standing there trying not to sound like an idiot. I of course managed to instantly forget all the things I wanted to ask Buck about his guitar and gear and everything else.

I did manage to mention that I was doing a review for the Hot Rails To Hull website and he commented on what a fine site it was and was kind enough to sign my scribbled setlist. A good guy next to me whose name I don't know (but was referred to as the Yorkshireman) was kind enough to point out Ralph (Hot Rails to Hull website main man). I am really pleased I met and had a chance to chat Ralph - thanks for a great site - I heard about the gig their first!

I also met Bobby Rondinelli and had a chance to talk drums and very briefly shook hands with Danny Miranda (who looked like a man in search of a hot dog). Didn't see Eric though. The ten minutes we all spent chatting with Buck confirmed my impression of him as a really decent bloke (who just happens to be the best guitar player on the planet in addition to writing some top tunes). I am also grateful to him for explaining that a "silver scrape" is actually a type of flower (more than 25 years of confusion over that particular lyric cleared up).

I had a good chat with Ralph after that and somehow managed to get to the taxi rank and get home whilst in a total daze at my good fortune. Got home and woke up my wife, desperate to tell someone what had happened. I very nearly ended up sleeping in the spare room for my trouble! Here's to a swift return to the UK (and I hope Nottingham) next year guys.


James Stewart (see you on the forums under my net ID: WoodFace)
Rob Munro

I first listened to the band back in 1977'ish when a friend recommended I listen to his most recent vinyl purchase; the awesome 'On Your Feet, On Your Knees'. What an album and I've pretty much bought everything since then. I was living in Scotland at the time and in '78, I went to see them at the Glasgow Apollo. I remember that the group got a fair bit of publicity during that tour but it was more for the lasers they'd brought with them. For those of us lucky enough to take in the gig, it really was a fabulous show. The laser show itself was indeed spectacular but the band's performance was something else. Loads from 'On Your Feet'; the highlights being a stunning version of 'Last Days Of May', with Buck at his blistering best and the encore of 'Born To Be Wild'..... duelling guitars; lasers; the lot..... MAGIC!!

I had to wait until 1984 before I saw them again. This time at the Manchester Apollo. Again; a faultless show. Highlights this time for me were Eric and Buck on 'Astronomy' and a powerful yet eery encore of 'Joan Crawford'. Leaving that gig, the true highlight was yet to come. My friend and I got back to our hotel; sweaty; hoarse and gasping for a beer. We sat in the deserted hotel bar, sipping away and chatting about the gig, when the band walked in. They were obviously staying in the hotel too and seemed just as in need of some refreshment. They sat down and after a short time asked us over to join them. It was great; we sat up with them for a couple of hours and then retired to bed clutching our newly-autographed ticket stubs!

So after all that excitement, it was a long, long wait intil I finally got the chance to see them at the Brook in June. It was great to see them in such a small venue. On the whole, you could tell that the place was full of die-hard Cult fans, which was good to see and I think it made for a great atmosphere. Yeh; the band were a bit greyer and podgier (or in Alan Lanier's case EVEN thinner!!) than when I last saw them but then, so was I. The set was great; a real mix of old and new classics and, to my delight, the haunting 'Joan Crawford' as an encore again.

What impressed me most of all and I think it was noticed by another reviewer at the gig was just how much the band seemed to be enjoying themselves and how much energy they seemed to pump into their show! Everyone left more than satisfied and if money and work commitments had permitted, I'd like to have seen them again before they left. Still; the memories of the Brook gig will keep me going for a wee while!!

DesdinovaUK

A beautiful slow drive along the coast road from Dover heralded the best show of the tour for me.

After checking in to our excellent B&B in the middle of the Hampshire countryside, a farm with particular interest to Anita's family we made our way to the venue and arrived just as the crew were setting up. A few photos later, and following the purchase of a ticket by Anita (number 262 believe it or not) we RV'd with the 3 Men in Black (Rob, Tom and Georg), plus Paul, Sue, Simon and Jack. Leaving Rob and Tom to secure our places in the front of the queue the rest of us retired to…… oh yeah the pub, where the locals were so impressed with Doug they even got him to record a mobile phone answering machine message.

Arriving at the venue we met Miller (show 248) and Andrew A and Mark, and were all able to get in first thanks to the sterling efforts of Rob and Tom (they were invited to the pub too, honest).

The first thing that strikes you about The Brook is it's size, it's small. 300 capacity which makes for an intimate atmosphere. Leaving the "crazy fucks" as Eric christened them to the Buck Zone, Doug, Anita, Miller, and Andrew headed for the balcony, where we got seats and a table with an excellent view of the stage and (as we discovered) was an excellent place to take photos. Bumping into Nigel and Zoe, I decided a pee break was again in order, only for the intro music (not Bladerunner tonight) to start while I was in there again.

On the way back, fighting my way back through the sell out crowd I bumped into BOCFANBOB who joined the balcony crew.

The show - what can I say - the best of the tour that I saw, due principally to the closeness of the crowd. It's a bit of a closed circle isn't it - the enthusiasm of the crowd due to their proximity to the band, feeds the band who respond - which encourages the crowd etc etc. Suffice it to say they really seemed to enjoy themselves, hence the almost unheard of (in my experience) insertion of a song (D&S) between Zilla and Reaper.

Of the rest of the set, it was quite simply superb. Stand outs for me - Perfect Water - it gets better every time I hear it; a trilogy from Secret Treaties (could you ask for more) of Harvester, Subhuman and Career of Evil and then two great encores, which got the crowd going even more, Joan Crawford and Lips in the Hills, and which resulted in Danny taking pictures of us with his camera.

An evening of good company and BOC at their best.

Steve Franklin

I remember writing a review last year after a stunning gig at Swansea and lamenting the fact that BOC would now probably disappear from these shores for another 4 or 5 years. So it was with surprise and glee that I read of their 2003 trek around the U.K. and I made provisions to journey to London, Swansea and Bilston.

So first up it's London and the Astoria. Outside it's busy. Leicester Square is heaving and here and there a BOC t-shirt. The guy with the leather trousers and the BOC bandana walks across our path. I'm sure he's been at every gig I've ever been to so the omens are good.

Inside it's dark and dingy, just like the Astoria always is. Not too busy yet so it's easy to play spot the t-shirt. Rush figure heavily as do Motorhead and AC/DC. I'll get my new Some Enchanted Evening t-shirt in Swansea tomorrow.

It's filling up now and another beer is called for as thoughts turn to the set list. I've read recently that they're doing "Tattoo Vampire" and "I Love the Night" again. This really sets the pulses racing. Both songs would be new to me live and ILTN is one of my favourite BOC tunes. Time draws on. The backing tape plays Lizzy, Skynyrd, The Who. More good omens. The place has really filled up now and people jostle good naturedly for the best vantage points.

Roadies check the mikes and guitars one last time. CLOSE ENOUGH FOR ROCK 'N' ROLL.

The lights dim, the cheering starts!! SHOWTIME

It's really dark and blending in with the shadows are five men all dressed in black. The only light on stage is Buck Dharma's white guitar like Hope escaping from Pandora's Box. And what a light this would turn out to be, a beacon, a lasar beam.

However as usual all the emotion and pent up anticipation is never satisfied by BOC's choice of opening track. "Dr Music", like some of it's predecessors is just not a kick ass song. Surely "See You in Black" or a return to "Stairway to the Stars" would be better to get those heads banging from the first. A small gripe and one that is totally redundant after the next song. Eric takes mike in hand and blasts out a faultless "E.T.I." and BOC are smokin' once more.

Five songs in and its time to pay homage to the rhythm section. For so long now Danny Miranda and Bobby Rondinelli have been mentioned only after The Brothers B. Surely it's time to give them their due and fully induct them into the legend, because after this performance I think they have fully exorcised their ghosts. Next up and it's a first for me. "Career of Evil" one of my all time favourites, only "Subhuman" to go now for a full set off "Secret Treaties" (Cagey Cretins aside).

The time is flying by as Alan takes centre stage for some blistering piano on "Joan Crawford" and then Buck produces the best version ever (although he matched it at Bilston) of "Buck's Boogie". I cannot believe he is never mentioned in sentences that begin with Blackmore, Page and Schenker. Is he always to remain a hidden gem?

The crowd is really on board now and the sound is the best I've heard at the Astoria which is usually "muddy" at best. "Shooting Shark" goes by too quickly and then a real treat in "Divine Wind" proof if it was ever needed that instead of starting a war they should just have sent Eric Bloom over to sort out Saddam. "Lips in the Hills" was excellent with Eric out front again minus guitar and the usual thunderous finale took in Godzilla and Reaper with a big nod towards Danny's excellent bass solo.

Was a great show about to get better with the oncores. Yes!!! No!!!! Astronomy is without doubt my favourite rock track ever and I hadn't seen it live since The Forum in '92 but BOC now seem almost scared of it. They know it's a fan favourite but they didn't play it at all on the last U.K. tour, they weren't happy with it for the DVD release and tonight they seemed edgy and ill at ease with it. So much so Eric seemed to miss his cue for the final lyric after Bucks solo and the overall presentation suffered. However it's such a great song and maybe I'm being over critical because I wanted it to be so perfect. There's always next year???????

The evening ended with "Black Blade" and any one not happy with this performance will never be a BOC fan. The feedback leaving the theatre is always key and hearing phrases like awesome and best ever is always gratifying. Swansea and Bilston to come.

BLUE OYSTER CULT.

STILL BURNING

P.S. Without reviewing the whole of both shows at Swansea and Bilston the highlights must be pointed out. At Swansea this was "Veteran of the Psychic Wars" and at Bilston "Buck's Boogie" and "Last Days of May", which contained the best solo I've ever heard Alan play and was possibly Mr Dharma's finest work and it re-iterates the point that if there are rock guitarists ahead of him, who are they? and boy they must be good. It is also worth pointing out that in these three shows alone there was at least one song from all their albums except "Imaginos", so something for everyone. I seem to have missed "I Love the Night" and "Tattoo Vampire " though. Bugger!!!

Tony O'Rourke

BOC were fantastic but as a fan of nearly 25 years you wouldn't expect me to say anything different. The opening act was a local group called The Navigators", playing mostly 60's and 70's covers.

They got the audience particularly warmed up with a cover of "Roadhouse Blues". That got a great cheer from the crowd, particularly for the opening act. Keeping in the BOC frame of mind, I shouted a request for "Born to be Wild" but they didn't oblige...

The mix of songs in Swansea was just right. BOC opened the show with "Dr Music" which is a great song live. It was the first time that I'd heard them play "Before The Kiss" and worth the price of admission alone. It was a brilliant version of the song with some excellent and extended Buck Dharma soloing in particular.

They also rocked the house during "ME262" (I always wish that I'd remembered the ear plugs during the song!). I love it but my God it's loud. "Divine Wind" was also superb with lots of audience sing-a-long in the chorus.

Not wanting to be too partisan (!) Buck got the audience on his side by wearing a Wales t-shirt. Mind you, he could have been wearing a Superman outfit and the crowd would be on his side. Eric wore his shark sunglasses during "Shooting Shark" and played an amazing "Godzilla" painted guitar during the song of the same name.

Once again Allen played a blinding solo, last year it was "Days of May?" I think but this time it was during "Shooting Shark" if memory recalls. I've seen BOC 8 or 9 times now and I don't recall Allen ever playing many solos, except for the 2002 tour. Top notch stuff, too!

Any criticisms? Only that there will always be songs that I would have liked them to play - "Tattoo Vampire", "Golden Age of Leather", "Dominance and Submission", "The Red and The Black". But a band with a back catalogue like theirs there'll always be something left out of the show.

Eric announced that the show in Swansea was a celebration for an American guy in the audience who had seen BOC 250 times!! Amazing and unbelievable? Don't these people need to work? There was even a "congratulations" card for him floating around!

Anyway, another great show from the tour that never ends. Roll on 2004!

Ralph

This was the big one for me. Last year's setlist really cut me deep. I had been intent on going to Bilston last year but I cocked up. I rang up a couple of times to ask how are the tickets going for that show only to be told there are plenty left and I should have no problem turning up on the night to pay on the door. I prefer this for some reason - I hate to be tied down with boring things like tickets - I like to be free to do what the hell I like. Go. Not go. As it happened, the bastard sold out and I was "free" to miss the gig!! Why the hell didn't I buy a ticket in advance? I sometimes do the knobbiest things....

Anyway - I got a ticket this time!! Arrived in sunny Wolverhampton early afternoon which as it was a Sunday didn't exactly throb with excitement. Didn't see any promotion for the gig whatsoever - as usual. Why don't any of the promoters/venues do any publicity? BOC should add a section to their rider which insists on some gig promotion... this was getting silly....

Got to the Robin 2 around 6.45pm to see two thirds of the Men in Black - Tom and Rob - already staked out in the front as usual - plus it was good to see Simon Lynch again and Mark was there too whom I last saw at Sheffield last year. Simon had actually managed to leave his ticket back home and was in fingers-crossed mode and hoping for the best.

We went along to the Spread Eagle pub around the corner for a bit and ran into Georg who was deep in conversation with a hardcore Irish contingent who were at Bilston to urgently petition a Limerick gig in any future BOC tour schedules. The "entertainment" in the pub, however, soon forced us outside into the evening sunshine. I didn't want to drink a lot as I just knew I was going to go down the front again and once I'd grabbed my spec, I didn't want to have to leave again for anything so mundane as biomechanical reasons.

Returned at 7.20 to find a few more had joined the crowd outside, BOCFanBob, Paul and Sue, Andrew Robinson etc plus I finally got to meet Jack Taylor after all these years!! I knew we'd get there in the end. I also met Ziggy Rokita in the queue which was nice - it's good when you finally get to meet people you've only ever corresponded with in the past. And good news for Simon - in the kind form of BOCFanBob who used his influences to get him added to the guest-list!! Nice one, Bob!!

The doors opened at last and after entering, we then had to queue again outside a door labelled "Toilet"!! I was confused by this and asked around only to be told that the club lay beyond the toilet door. Hmmm.... well, it was different, I suppose... When I finally got inside, I rushed down the front once again. I still hadn't done what I had intended to do originally - seek out a good spot to actually listen to a show for a change - it'd be nice to actually hear some vocals... I'm sure Eric had been singing some of the songs in the shows I'd seen to date as I could see his mouth moving, but I couldn't put my hand on my heart and swear to it...

The support band were an instrumental ensemble called the Dean O'Shea Group. Dean was clearly the star of the show - he's a good guitarist but - blimey o'reilly - those faces he was pulling!! Nice perspex guitar though which allowed a clear view of his stripey trousers which may well be fashionable on some of the outer planets.

In the intermission, expectations began to mount - this was Bilston, for Buck's sake!! We began to speculate about what wonders we might get to experience, or would it be a let-down in a stark contrast to last years' show? I strained to make out the printed set-list by the drumkit - it seemed what I would call standard for the tour so far - I didn't see "Tattoo Vampire" or "Veteran" or "I Love the Night" so I felt a bit sad but sod it, why can't I just enjoy the show instead of being on a downer before they've even kicked off....

The Matrix came on and the lights dimmed and I forgot everything in the excitement as BOC trooped onstage. This was it - Bilston!! Not the Bilston, of course, but Bilston, nonetheless.

"Dr Music" followed by "Teen Archer" followed by "Dance on Stilts". These were the opening three songs from Nottingham too and I was fighting a feeling of deja vu before Eric said he wasn't in the mood to stick faithfully to the printed setlist. My heart leapt when I heard the opening bars of the "Vigil" - this (plus "I am the Storm") is the only thing that makes that LP bearable for me and this was a great version!!

"Harvester" and "Burnin" followed - as at Nottingham - then we got another great "Bucks Boogie" - followed by a perfect "Perfect Water". "Lips in the Hills" was next, with Eric stalking round the stage menacingly wondering if he'd "slipped" or "merely fell". I often ponder on the difference between the two...

"Shooting Shark" was great again. I'd noticed previously how Shooting Shark occupies the "Last Days of May" spot, featuring solos from Allen and Buck so that's why I was a bit gobsmacked when they dropped into an inpromptu "Last Days of May", erm.... featuring solos from Allen and Buck. Oh well, who's complaining. It was pretty good - not sure about the simulated drop-to-the-floor freak out that they do at the end, but that's just me, probably...

I was expecting the dreaded "Can you hear heavy footsteps" bollocks that Eric persists in teasing the audiences with as a prelude to "Godamzilla" but no - not yet - we hadn't had "ETI" tonight so this left the way clear for that great Aldo Nova singalong "Take Me Away" - a first for me. It was spiffing. Talking of singalongs, what could be better than the next "extra" - "Golden Age".

After that, then we got the dreaded "Can you hear heavy footsteps" bollocks... actually, tonight I paid some attention to the drum solo as opposed to switching off, hitting the bogs or checking battery levels (or a combination of all three) - I'm not a drummer and it sounded pretty competant as far as it goes but I honestly got nothing out of it. At the end, Bobby does this choreographed thing of getting to his feet, with a completely deadpan expression - apart from a slight sign of disdain on his face - as he looks from left to right, then puts a hand to his ear as the crowd cheer... I felt like shouting "he's behind you!!"... He looks really bored throughtout the show to be honest - he lacks Albert's sheer exuberant enjoyment in playing - I doubt his emotional soul...he looks like a session drummer and not part of the setup - though he's been there for a few years now. How long before he starts to relax and become part of the band?

The only time he smiles is when Eric comes back on to lead the cheers for "Bobby 'freekin' Rondinelli" and at the end when he realises it's all over. I tell you what I'd love - I'd love to ask him does he now feel confident that he is an equal member of BOC or does he feel like it's still 3OC plus him and Danny...

After yet another storming "Reaper", we got a big surprise in the form of my all-time personal favourite "The Subhuman". Yeah, it was a little ropey but I just love that song. Nothing will ever top the OYFOOYK version, of course - that's the greatest thing they've ever done live that I've heard (closely followed by "Veteran" off "ETL" and "Astronomy" off "SEE")... but this was bloody good and you better believe I was very happy to hear this finally... "They'll hear it"! Too bloody right!!

The closer was their "encore song", "Dominance and Submission" after which Eric said they had to run - a gig on the morrow in Aber-bloody-deen beckoned and they were setting off for an overnight "moonlight" drive... so that was that...

We crawled out into the night, said our goodbyes and I went and got well and truly bladdered - well, you have to do your bit, don't you....

All in all, a great show - it wasn't Bilston 2002 by any means but it was the best show I'd seen to date... and Manchester beckoned next Wednesday.... Would I get to hear "Tattoo Vampire" at last...

CaOBoy

After a v.g swansea show, I was really looking forward to Bilston. After what Id been told of last year it should be good. it was.

I arrived after a very pleasant drive up-country, at about 4-30. Myself, George, Franco and the Irish contingent went to a pub round the corner and then (Franco and me) on to Macdonalds. We then had to kill 40 mins hanging round the door in cheerful anticipation. At about 7.40 we were admitted.

Straight to the front, but the area for the don-dan din was soon filled. I made the best move ever, which was to stand directly in front of erics gear. On came the support, an instrumental band whose guitarist did a lot of twiddly things while looking like a man with piles who mounted a bicycle - minus the saddle. I never criticise any musician too much as I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but a little went a long way.

As roadies cleared that gear and set up boc's, we all scanned for a setlist. A dodgy enterprise. To satisfy curiosity - or enjoy spontaneity? And to court disappointment? If I saw eti and cities id be gutted. I took a peak. No- but what was that? An s .......h......subhuman ? no, shooting shark. Oh well.

On they came to great applause. Doctor was great, and its noticeable how much more singalong the shows get. Neither doctor nor, say, perfect w. (which came nearer the end) are staples, or radio hits, or even from a classic album, but the participation was strong. Erics guitar in teen archer was superb. He played the best, imho, that I have ever seen. The whole sound from eric was thick and strong and it was a real joy to see his splendid work.

Stilts came next - I would prefer pocket as its more singable but this was good. And I knew harvey was next up cos Id seen that list. Ahaaaa......

The vigil had been requested and they indulged us. After apologies for under-rehearsal, they sorted it out and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Made better by the surprise. And although some slickness was missing, I think back to how slick they were in 84/85. A little surprise and indulgence goes a long way to thrilling the crowd.

Who were now going mental. Bonkers. Harvey was good as ever, then came b4y and a stonking bucks boogie. Seeing how tightly this track is delivered, with Alan and bobbys contributions flashy and fluid, showed the superiority of this band over their supports. Buck pulls his axe out with perhaps less flash than many a halenesque counterpart, but one swipe kills a bigger tree. He doesn't need to show it off, you see. We all know its there...

Perfect was perfect, then came the song about breastfeeding - Lips in the Hills. Its as likely as anything! This is a great out and out rocker, which sent the crowd over the edge. After this high energy song, s.shark was very welcome and as good as ever.

I posted from leeds that the absence of excesses in the shape of LDOM was a refreshing change. I may reconsider that remark. AAAAAAAAGHHHHHHHHHHHHHGGGGGHHH!!!! This song too, was introduced as an extra, and as we realised what we were going to get, (via talk of drugs in arizona) the crowd went wild. And this version was a stonker. Alans guitar was superb, and the band were reallly together. The rhythm section belted out with real precision, and I was ahappy man. And after this, I thought, ther'll be Godzilla.

But another is slipped in. Take me away was spontaneous, a surprise, and splendid. Was this song played last year? It must have been a first for some. It's always been a fave of mine. Golden age really got a lot of participation, and again erics guitar was powerful. Those amps work better when you turn 'em on. I regard this song as a big-boy, a real classic. So do some others by the look of it.

G and Reap were good as ever, and when a crowd is as on-side as this, any bickering about "these two again" seems churlish. You've got to give the peripheral fans who turned up on the off-chance a bit of a treat. And of couse, a few would come along with friends after being told, "you know, de da na na -na na naaa- na na naaa." "Oh yeah, right get us a ticket then."

So this is it. What will those encores be? I saw Danny at Swansea the night before and he remembered he owed me a beer. Danny and co, you owe us nothing. We owe you for the tremendous pleasure you have given us. We chatted and I mentioned Subhuman. He hinted favourably.

And we got it. Seemingly unplanned, as it was not the best played song of the evening, but for me to hear this was magnificent. In the moment of those opening bars, 27 years of desire was pulled into focus. As this was one of the first boc songs I heard, it means more to me than astronomy. Imagine living in a small english village, 12 years old, in a world bounded by mum and dad and school and riding your bike. Its 1976 and they're going to put in a good road to the motorway soon. You've heard of America - they have a bald cop with a lollipop and tall buildings - and then your brother brings home "On your feet...." It's an expensive glossy gatefold....its fascinating. And he goes out one afternoon.

A door is opened and the future walks in. And Subhuman is a mature, masterly track. To hear that played becomes a dream - realised at Bilston.

Anything else is pure indulgence. With DAS, the band show their showmanship and send us over the edge completely. They have to dash off, so do I, but not before an exchange of delighted hugs, cheesy grins and gasps of breath. Yup, it was pretty good.

Yorkshrman

Just got back from Bilston.

No point in going to bed... I'm on too much of the high.

This was the best damned BOC show I've ever seen. Even better than Bilston last year, and that was a stunner...

Eric was clearly in the best of spirits from the start... the omens were good, and I thought we might get something a bit special.

Understatement of the year...

Three songs in, they moved away from the printed set, and went into The Vigil. First time on this tour, and all because someone had asked Eric for it on his way into the venue ....

Another excellent version of Shooting Shark (sorry Phil .... but it was great again!)

Then instead of Divine Wind, into Last Days.

THE BEST VERSION THAT I'VE EVER HEARD. Allan and Buck were both in supreme form. Until tonight, Shark at Southampton was the standout moment of the tour for me... not any more. This sent shivers down my spine... a lump in my throat... and tears in my eyes. And I'm not exaggerating there .... it was truly staggering.

Then into Take Me Away... another "first" for this tour. (I wonder in the boys have our car bugged? Only this morning we were debating what we hadn't had, and what we'd like to hear... Vigil, Last Days and Take Me Away were the three we really wanted ...)

There was so much more...

Great crowd.
Great set.
Great band.
Great venue.

Roll on Bilston 2004 ....!!!

Karen Baxter

They came to queue at the door of the Lemon Tree in Aberdeen. In the main your average, middle-aged rock fan, those that hadn't been to Bilston were distinguishable by the fact they were walking unaided and had no matchsticks propping open their eyelids. Those of us insane enough to have driven the 400+ miles between the two gigs overnight could be seen to be muttering feverish prayers under our breath that the support would be brief and - preferably - LOUD enough that we would not be tempted to slip into travel-fatigue induced comas before the main event.

Fortunately the support band, Kloth Monkey, were a 3 piece with a lot of energy and not inconsiderable talent. They played a rousing set of good old-fashioned, bluesy type rock with a nice, fresh edge. The lead singer/guitarist had a lot of personality and the bassist and drummer were a good humoured and animated pair. They were a tight outfit and I enjoyed their set so much I bought their album which they obligingly signed for me.

The room was small and tightly packed with enthusiastic bodies long before the new intro music from the Matrix 2 soundtrack announced the arrival on the tiny stage of our Old Gods - still not sure if I like it, it doesn't have the hair-raising atmospheric quality of Bladerunner somehow.

The crowd was separated from the stage by a barrier set back about two feet away but you could still see the individual beads of sweat break out on the brows of the band so it was hardly a problem. The by now familiar opening to Dr Music got things nicely underway to the cheers of the crowd.

Then - I think for the first time this tour - ETI went down a storm with the faithful. The obligatory COTHM number followed, Pocket this time. Competently and energetically delivered and enthusiastically received by the Aberdonian crowd. I would have to be spoilt indeed to have one quibble with the setlists we got on this tour but I could wish to have heard Stone of Love or Here Comes that Feeling or Old Gods or something other than Pocket or Stilts from Curse.

Harvester was growled out and then Burnin' once again excellent renditions and well received. Shooting Shark created a minor stir around the room among those who weren't privy to what had been going on at the other shows. I have to say that this was my 4th time around (fortunately not the last) with this song on the tour and it just got better and better as they went along. To my delight I then got to hear Joan Crawford for the second time and the rest of the crowd seemed to lap it up too.

Divine Wind came and went as strongly and impressively as it had all tour. Then Eric, who it would appear has a low boredom threshold, decided that things were going along way too predictably and the time was right to throw in a little surprise.

Not very long ago I posted a fantasy setlist somewhere and In Thee featured on it but to say I had any real expectations of ever hearing it performed live in my presence would be a lie. It wasn't the best ever rendition of the song but a certain unpolished, impromptu quality to it didn't do the simple, lyricism of the song any harm in my - admittedly biased - ears or in those of the rest of the crowd judging by the delighted reception it received.

The tempo was cranked up with Cities on Flame and came down again to a haunting I Love the Night which sounded better to me than it had in Leeds, it seemed to fit better. Godzilla and Reaper followed too far quickly for the fired up crowd. They weren't about to let it all end yet.

The guys came back out picked up their instruments and Eric grabbed the mike but not to sing. He had decided to run a mini 'clapometer' session the winner to be played as the encore. He suggested LDOM. Now I'll admit to screaming for this because the previous night in Bilston it had made me cry and it just seems to get better very time I hear it.

The crowd seemed to like the idea and a rousing cheer went up. Of course we were then deafened by the excited howls and whoops when Astromomy was next up to the podium. I could live with that since I hadn't heard it yet although I'll admit to being very torn when the 3rd contender Veteran was announced.

Some enthusiast cried out 'Why not all three?' and the idea did not appear at all unreasonable to me although Eric chose to ignore it. So we got Astronomy. I cannot say if Eric had any problems with it vocally because the crowd sang along so loudly I was pushed to actually hear the Bloom performance.

Buck's solo was powerfully intense and left us gasping by the end. The Red and the Black was the right and fitting way to end another great show, no Bilston by any means but good enough for even the most exacting fans.

A small group of us was fortunate enough to 'bump inside the magic band' at the Premier Lodge bar opposite the venue after the show. We all held our breath as Eric parked his behind on a seat amongst us. Almost like a cat honouring us with a visit, one wrong move though would send him scampering for cover.

He then asked us what we thought of the sets and what we thought they should play that they hadn't already done at Glasgow the following night. He pointed out that the only ones they hadn't done were OD'd, Harvest Moon, Stairway or maybe we fancied Unknown Tongue?

The sound of jaws dropping greeted this and then we all started making suggestions. Some foolish ones were dismissed peremptorily with a growled "No, has to be something Bobby knows." So White Flags was out then. Oh well.

He left almost as abruptly as he had arrived without so much as a goodbye but we didn't mind one bit, especially as we had Bobby, Danny and Buck join us as if to make up for it. Bobby was quizzed about the sudden setlist changes and how he felt about them. He raised his eyes to heaven and gave a rueful laugh. "This is the only band I have ever been in where I have to know 40 songs before I go onstage," he drawled in a tragic-comically resigned manner. 40 songs huh? Prophetic maybe?

Onward to Glasgow...

Sally

We arrived at the Lemon Tree just in time for the start of the support act. They were a local band, Cloth Monkey, who actually weren't bad and their original, guitar-based rock songs seemed appropriate. The venue filled as Cloth Monkey played and despite the fact that I was in a minority (female and under 30) I was pleased to find the crowd was very good natured and obviously thrilled to be there.

We found ourselves an excellent position on the raised level behind the mixing desk which meant a great view of the stage and the mixing guy's set list! I was a BOC virgin before this gig, having never seen them live before, but the friend who was my partner for the evening has been a fan since circa 1980 so he provided a useful running commentary.

My lack of previous live BOC experience meant I was not aware of any of the technical problems with the songs mentioned in Dizbustologist's review. Instead, what I heard was over a dozen tracks spanning 30 years, all of them played with passion and the obvious enjoyment of the band. The energy these guys brought to the set was amazing - let's be honest, they are all getting on a bit, but the combination of energy and experience made for a superb performance, and Buck really can hold a tune!

In fact, for me, the only disappointing song of the evening was (DF)TR - I will probably get shot down in flames for saying this, but I really don't like it done live. It's a great track, but there are so many other songs that they do brilliantly live, that (DF)TR is a bit of a let down.

Allowing the audience to vote for the first encore was a nice touch. Personally I'm not sure the cheers and yells were any louder for Astronomy than the other two songs, but I think the band made the right choice. The Red and the Black had obviously been chosen in advance as the second encore, and it rounded off the evening in perfect fashion.

Buck commented at the start of the show that this was the first time the band had played Aberdeen - I sincerely hope it's not the last!

Dizbustologist

Well it was a bloody relief to actually get to this one. One of my friends and traveling companions recently developed IBS, resulting in 4 unscheduled toilet stops each of some 15 minute duration on the drive up. At the last one there was some serious debate along the "lets just drive off and leave the bugger" lines.

We made it just at the end of the support act. The Lemon tree is a club of about 500 capacity and I thought there was maybe 350 in tonight.

One of the defining aspects of seeing BOC these days is that it's no longer a solitary pursuit. The event tends to be defined as much by meeting other on-liners as it does simply listening to the band. Phil's T-Shirts turn you into something of a beacon for other on-liners and sure enough Karen appeared out of nowwhere with a warm welcome and pointing out where everyone else was.

Needless to say Paul, Sue, Georg, Eric, Andrew etc all seemed to be very much in their rightful place i.e. right at the front of the stage (the infamous Buckzone!) Miller was (naturally enough) milling around too (it's amazing how Americans always just seem to stand out!).

This was the closest I've ever seem BOC, just behind the front row, about 10 feet from the stage. Other people have made reference to the 'BOC in your front room' analogy and by God that's what it feels like, no barriers at all between band and fan (me!) A perfect oppertunity to really watch Buck's fingers fly and by God they did (DFTR, SS, ILTN and Astronomy in particular, 25 years on and his playing still gets to me like no other guitarist)

What struck me about this gig (this tour by all accounts) is that they really seem to be enjoying themselves. Allan is animated and goofing around throwing shapes, Eric is seems to be smiling for most of the set... behind the shades of course... laughing, relaxed and easy with the crowd and Buck, maybe I've just never noticed it before, is illustrating every song he sings with descriptive hand gestures when he's not playing or inbetween riffs, really into the songs. If only Danny would lighten up though!

The songs have been listed elsewhere. Semi-unplugged In Thee was a gas if a little rough (no keys or drums Allen on lead) Eric admitted that the boys are just trying to come up with something different each night now. Shooting Shark is awesome, the new verse to ILTN works beautifully, Pocket sounds fantastic live still, and Godzilla complete with stock Nessie references came around too soon (Danny the Bass Monster roolz!)

It's funny how nobody ever bothers to shout for DFTR at gigs these days, I suppose it's like death and taxes... you know it's coming!

The highlight for me was the first encore. I had been screaming out for Astronomy all night as usual and initially Eric had said "nah we've already done that at other shows". Persistence paid off however and it was put to a vote to the crowd at the first encore LDOM vs Astronomy vs VOTPW it was close but I think the sight and sound of a 6' 2'' 19 stone guy at the front screaming like a nutcase did the job and finally after 22 years of waiting I got Astronomy live... bliss (Eric oddly on tambourine rather than rythmm and Allen hammering out terrific electric piano throughout making amends for the slight balls up on Joan Crawford. Buck and Danny went into overdrive for the closing solo... Danny seems to like this song and Oh Yeah, Eric banged a mean tambourine!)

The red and the black is an odd song in that it's the perfect opener (Edinburgh 1989) as well as the perfect closer (tonight) The energy that it was played with really belied the guys years.

The down side?? It seemed over before it began, Over-zealous venue staff nicked some recording equipment and some pissed up wee ned decided to try to muscle in on my spot and failed!

I love this band (by the way,my friend Stuart thinks that Buck sounds like Chic Young!!... thankfully a Scottish fans only reference)

Goodnight and thank you...

Gary Benzie

This promised to be something special as it was my home town and the chance to see a band of their stature in a small venue. We weren't too surprised with Dr Music opening but In Thee certainly did. Hadn't heard this for an absolute age and it wasn't until the chorus that it sank in. They played one of my all time favourites that night in Divine Wind

At the end we were asked to vote on the next song - Astronomy won but we all cheered as loudly for the other two although I can't remember what they were now. At the time this was the most expensive tickets there had been for a concert at the Lemon Tree (maybe still is) and they were seen as a major coup. It was after this night that I started listening to their music again and it would be great to see them again as I think I appreciate their music more now than at any other time since I first heard Cultosaurus back in 1980.

Karen Baxter

The venue resembled nothing more than a large floating greenhouse that had been moored and abandoned on the Clyde in a derelict downtown area of the city. There was an almost illicit 'rave' feel to the occasion as we boarded the Ferry as if at any minute we were likely to be raided and the party broken up by the authorities.

There really couldn't be any more surprises could there? OK they might throw in OD'd or Unknown Tongue but we had become almost blasé by this stage. And, worryingly, we had heard they did not particularly like this venue. Would that adversely affect the performance do you think?

After the support band Primary Colours had finished their set and not bad either, I 'moseyed on over' - to paraphrase a certain American fan - to the stage to see if I could get a look at the setlist stuck on Allen's keyboard. I already had Dr Music noted first in my little setlist book but what other 'goodies' did we have in store?

Summer of Love - no way!! Wow. Yes, there it was in black and white
Stilts - OK. Still couldn't get my head around Summer of Love
Career of Evil - omigod!! Oh yes. Oh thank you
The Subhuman - now this is where I started to get suspicious and look around surreptitiously for hidden cameras. Come on guys. Like I'm going to fall for this. How stupid do I look? Don't answer that if you value your health by the way
Stairway - yeah right they hadn't played it all tour so why start now?
Shooting Shark - ok that at least made sense
Divine Wind - yep back on track now
Harvest Moon - a big smile spread across my face
See You in Black - smile gets bigger
Burnin'
Godzilla
DFTR

The first surprise was that when they came out Allen grabbed the mike and said 'hello'. Still reeling from an amazing performance of every song on the list as written and by now immune to surprises I didn't bat an eye when Eric struck up the intro to Hot Rails upon the return for the encore.

There were gasps of delight around the room and then he laughed and signalled for the familiar heavy opening to Veteran. I kept my wits about me long enough to grab my phone and press a speed dial number so a certain friend could hear it. Veteran, by the way, is a bloody long song especially when you are holding a phone aloft. This performance stunned the crowd, it was breathtaking and then we were smacked around the head by a ferocious Dominance & Submission.

I was still laughing and panting after this incredible double encore when I went to do my duty and call in the setlist. I think I had managed to croak out Dr Music before delighted cheers and whoops from the stage area alerted me to the fact that something untoward was occurring. Bloody hell!! They were coming back.

I hastily scrambled back to my vantage point just in time for the opening to an astonishing version of Black Blade. Buggers had done it again, twist after bloody twist on this tour. Anyone want to say this band is predictable?

Dave Pennington

I had been building my expectations for this gig since it was first announced on the BOC website in late March. Here was a chance to see my favourite band again after a gap of 20 years. And guess what? None of my old T-shirts fitted! I knew the band wouldn't let me down - they wouldn't have changed that much, surely?

In summary, they put on a superbly enjoyable set. They rocked and really felt that they were enjoying themselves too, certainly not just going through the motions.

I met my colleagues in Witherspoon's as it has cheap real ale. All three of us were survivors from the Liverpool Empire gig in November '75 and we reminisced about the review on the hot rails web site including the support band Birth Control's drum solo!!! (if you saw them, you'd know what I mean) Apparently they're still going. Witherspoon's seemed to be a meeting place for other BOC fans too. We met about half a dozen more; some had arranged to meet others there and had been to other gigs on this tour. We heard stories of what was played and what the venues were like. The Renfrew ferry sounded a most unusual venue to have a rock concert.

The venue seems to be usually a trendy wine bar/night club that has the occasional named band booked. Mountain & Wishbone Ash are booked in over the next few months. So, the unfamiliar sight of predominantly black T-shirted rock fans to watch the sort of music that is not usually heard at the venue, must be alien to the bouncers and bar staff.

Smaller than I expected, the Life café has a large mirror, angled above the full length of the stage so those at the back can see the band from above! There is a standing area in front of the stage with a two sided bar across the back and an upstairs area that gives a good view down onto the stage and surrounds 3 side of the club.

There has been a complete lack of publicity from the local press about the gig. They seemed more concerned about giving column inches to teenybopper band, Westlife, who were playing on the same night. There was nothing at all on the Manchester on line website about the gig - I shouldn't really be too surprised about that. Be interesting to see if Mountain and Wishbone Ash get the same brush off.

It took a little time for me to adjust to the fact that my favourite band was playing a small club. I'd seen them playing provincial theatres in the 70's and early 80's and at the "barn" that was Bingley Hall, Stafford in '79. Well, they still play larger venues in the states. No dues to be paid!

I was also aware of the hardcore bunch of fans that were going to see most/all of the UK gigs true fans - Yes I'm envious and jealous!

Dr Music opens up - no surprises! As previous correspondents have said it's not by a long way one of the band's best tracks to really hit you as opener. Second up, and for the first time on this UK tour, is OD'd On Life and things start to take off and the band are now cookin'.

Some people around me are certainly unfamiliar with some of the material while I'm singing along with everything!! It appears there are two camps of fans - those, like me, who were caught by the Max Bell bug around Treaties/On Your feet and those who picked up by way of their elder brothers and sisters and caught on in the early 80's. This seemed to be the opinion in the pub beforehand.

I'm thrilled to hear one of my favourites, Flaming Telepaths in the set. What is exciting is the expectation of guessing what tracks the band will play from a current set list of over 40 tracks and 30 years from which to choose. I'd seen what the core tracks were from this website - Harvester had been played at all previous gigs but not tonight. We had a brilliant version of Last Days of May. For one of my colleagues, this was worth the price of admission as Buck's awesome solo soared into the club. It doesn't get much better than this!

A perfect version of Shooting Star is another highlight. What's impressive is the structure of the concert with a few short rockers followed by the longer workouts.

All too soon, the spoken intro to Godzilla came and I knew it was nearing the end. Reaper had a preamble of Buck playing a wonderful bit of noodling - everyone was waiting for the opening riff of Reaper to burst in.

One of the core songs, Burnin' for You was first encore followed by Cities On Flame and Golden Age.

Yes I was happy and elated as I went out into the Manchester night. For how much longer will they continue?

Thanks to Hot Rails to Hull for keeping me updated on all the band's activities. I ended up telling about a dozen people that the reviews and set lists are on this site.

To the webmaster a thank you.
To BOC a brilliant show, come back next year!

Andrew Stewart

Something like 16 years ago I heard Blue Oyster Cult's eponymous debut. Over the next few years I got heavily into the band but to be honest, it's probably about 10 years now since I last listened to an album all the way through. Still, when I saw the band playing just up the road from me I decided I just couldn't pass the chance to see them live.

The venue had a really nice feel to it, next door the launch party for the new Metallica album was underway. There seemed to be something 'right' in the two events occurring next door to each other.

When BOC launched into Dr Music and strode onto the stage I noticed just how much like an older James Hetfield (Metallica front man) Eric was looking. Fitted nicely with the events next door. Then and now. The original Dizbusters and the current monsters of metal sharing the same postcode.

The evening really started rocking with a stunning version of The Vigil. The song had been one of my favourites on Mirrors and it seemed like an age since I had last heard it. Buck Dharma's guitar playing was superb - standing just a few metres away from the man itself was really quite a moment.

After an excellent Flaming Telepaths (which I admit I was hoping was going to lead into Astronomy - especially given that Metallica did a great cover on their recent-ish covers double CD) a very garage-y, punky Tattoo Vampire kicked off.

The venue was really jumping from this song onwards. How much better a version of Shooting Shark could the band have followed Vampire with ? The answer is none, none more better - with real drums rather than a machine the song really took on character.

After a slow but intense Divine Wind garage days happened again with Lips in the Hills. You could really see the influences of bands like MC5 during this.

And then into the song that got me into the band (and wanting to play guitar) in the first place. The Last Days of May - with a great guitar solo from Buck and some impressive work from Alan. Just stunning.

Off to Godzilla (never my favourite Cult classic but done damn well tonight) and a visit to bass and drum solo territory. Everyone recognised the next track about one note in - Reaper went down a storm but actually seemed to highlight the fact that the band's other songs are actually better than their signature tune.

Great version of Burnin' for You kicked off the encores followed by Cities and Alan managing to knock the keyboard at an inopportune (but comically quite perfect) moment which generated a few cheers from the audience. Golden Age was our last song for the night.

BOC are definitely very much an important musical force in their own right. I came way from the gig hoping I get the chance to see the band again soon as I (re)discovered the reason why I got into music in the first place.

btw who was the guy in the balcony looking every inch the celeb that the band seemed to know pretty well ? Inquiring minds...

James Summerson

How to begin? It started off as a funny old day anyway, as it would have been my mum's 60th birthday and it seemed to me that I was caught in the "pocket of the moment". Finding out that you're coming up to a 25 year anniversary is something that happens to 'grown ups' not to young whippersnappers like myself and the realisation that the Opera House gig would be just over 25 years since my first BÖC experience "weighed me like a stone".

Anyway, first things first, off to my 6 year olds assembly - she played a blinder, remembering all of her words and managed not to trip over any scenery. Hopefully, Buck and the böys would manage to eclipse Caitlin's performance, but with Allen reportedly down with 'flu and the rest of the guys coming to the end of the 11 days / 11 gigs 'Monster Island' tour after playing radically different sets in each venue, I was expecting the worst while hoping for the best.

Then a trip around Newcastle in the pouring rain with my wife and baby boy, ending up in a pizza place just opposite the City Hall, where, as a fresh faced and newly minted teenager, I saw the Mighty Blue Öyster Cult TWICE in 1978 - ah, lasers! Lizard masks! Bizarre guitars! The entire band playing guitars! If only every gig could be this way!

After lunch, I went for a wander about the town, looking for a printer to knock me up a T-shirt, having been disappointed by the quality of merchandise last year and trying to get something special for my 25 th. I ended up near to the Opera House and managed to get a sympathetic shop to create a work of near genius, doubled sided and everything! Thought that the day was looking up, at last. Even the weather was getting back on the decent side.

Wandering closer to the Opera House, I noticed a large tour bus with what looked like 'Nessie' in the window. Quickening my step a little, I bumped into Gareth and Yvonne, noticeable by the 'Flat Out' shirt he was wearing. They told me I'd just missed the böys going into the venue, but they'd had a quick word with Buck. Rose Coloured Glasses off, Green Shades of Jealousy on!

Skulking closer to the bus, met Neville, the by now world famous 'MonsterBus' driver. Gave him a CD to pass to Buck for Sandy, then started back toward the Metro and home. As I did so, I noticed another famous face, BÖCFanBob. The look of surprise as I stopped him and gabbled in a Geordie accent was something to behold. After slowing down to less than 2,000 words per minute, he finally understood that I'd been following his progress via BDTE. The lovely Karen (CSG) accompanied him and we stood chatting for a few minutes.

I was just wondering aloud what new songs BÖC could possibly play when Karen said, "Why don't you ask this bloke?" just as Buck walked down the street! GSoJ well and truly off! Quick intro's all round and more chat with the esteemed guitarist ensued, with the fanboy impulse of getting Buck to sign everything just kept in check... Walked back toward the station with Buck and with a cheery, "see you later", we parted company.

The rest of the day was just really counting down to gig time, like a kid at Xmas.

Met up with Keith, another 25 year veteran and after a very swift pint got into the Opera House with the "Three Minute Warning" just sounding. Got into our seats just as the lights went down and "Are U Ready 2 Rock, Newcastle?" - foolish question - and we were away... Cue a mass charge to the front from the on-line gang, which, if had I had a front row seat, would have been ever so slightly annoying!

The first few songs went by in a bit of a blur, with Eric looking mightily cheesed off about something, striding off stage a few times and yanking (no pun intended) the mike cable off the floor with some fury. Buck in a Welsh top thrashing that 'Cheeseberger' for all it was worth. Allen was bounding about, whatever 'flu meds he was on had well and truly kicked in!

After 'Harvester' we got a top version of 'Perfect Water' which I really listened to for the first time and made a mental note to dig out Ninja again. Then, what looked like an audible from Eric as he got the guys into a huddle and flashed a C sign with his left hand. 'Cities On Flame' next then! A sublime 'Shooting Shark' with extended soloing all over. I noticed that Buck was cueing Bobby toward the end of some breaks. At the first notes of 'Divine Wind' kicked in, I decided that it was time for a comfort / beer break, as it isn't one of my faves by any stretch of the imagination, I'd much rather have had any of the 'new' songs as a replacement. I noticed that BÖCFanBob had managed to get himself into one of the private boxes at the stage side balcony and was having a fine old time, especially when he got a name check from Eric!

Back in time for 'Bucks Boogie' and much widdlage from the Buckmeister. Then, hold on, could it be? 'ASTRONOMY' - a star, oh yes indeed! 'Burning' next, complete with "WE HAD A HIT!" intro from Eric, so we must be near the end. After another top Eric intro, "Monster Island? Hah, we'd just bomb the crap out of it!", 'Zilla' arrives with the attendant Bass / Drum solo. This seemed to signal a mass comfort / beer break, so who was I to argue? As we burst through the doors at the back of the Opera House, along with dozens of others, one of the security women turned to another and deadpanned, "Drum Solo". The solos lasted for a nice pint length and we got back as 'The Song Called The Intro To Reaper' started, followed by the 'other hit', whose name I forget...

Then they were off. Quick mental revisit of setlist - hmm, no 'Subhuman', 'Lips' etc. Perhaps they'd run out of songs? Nope, here they were back again! A thoroughly sh*t-kicking version of 'Dominance' rattled along very nicely. Once again, a long intro from Eric, including the line, "Michael Moorcock, he's an English guy, right?" wrong footed me into thinking 'Veteran' but it was 'Black Blade' instead - I love this song! Then off they went again. Some people started to move toward the doors, but luckily the böys ambled back onstage before too many souls were lost.

Eric then launched into another long intro, I think I heard him speak more that night than in the previous 25 years! He reminisced about playing Newcastle 20 odd years before and how Eric Burdon was one of his heroes. A buzz ran around the room as the penny dropped, 'We Got To Get Out Of This Place'. I closed my eyes and it was 1978 all over again, the circle remains unbroken.

Peter Greendale

Spurred on by the reports on the BD site and Buck's tour diary - which was excellent - I managed to make Newcastle after all. I got to Newcastle @ 7.00pm after a 2.5hr drive from Hull. I did not want to get 'stuck' in the venue and succome to the temptation of having a beer... so I was basically walking the streets in order to kill time.

Anyway I was wandering about at about 8.00pm, not far from the theatre... when I heard: "Hey, nice shirt...." (American accent). At first I thought it was merely a fan kind of enquiring where to obtain a tour T shirt.

"Uh?"

"Nice Shirt!" I looked up and realised there were 2 of them. The penny then dropped. As did my jaw I guess. It was Eric and Alan on their way to the concert on foot.

I pointed and slightly embarrassed smiled. After all I had walked past 2 of my major musical heroes without even noticing. They were having a bit of a laugh at my reaction of course.

"Er..I got it in Leeds!...I came to see you there as well....!" To be honest I didn't really know what to say....

"Hey, is the theatre over this way.....?" asked Eric.

"Yeah, over there on the left. (Thought I'll try irony to get out of the situation) There's a rock'n'roll band on tonight. You'll be alright there".

And off they went smiling to themselves. I was just stood there gobsmacked.

5 Minutes later and Buck ambled along the street, guitar slung over his shoulder. At first I was not 100% sure but it was soon confirmed as he was spotted by the hardcore lot and surrounded. I just stood across the street in awe. [A bit of me was saying "go across", a bit of me was saying "don't". Anyway I didn't. But next time I'll have a CD insert or two at the ready.... if there is a next time.

John Hall

This evening didn't start out ideally. My mate and my sister both couldn't make it. I had 4 tickets and only 2 of us going as I hadn't found any takers for the 2 spare tickets. I thought about taking my 12 year old but decided against it. He likes bands like Rammstein and Paradise Lost and has seen them live. In fact his first gig was Rammstein which was maybe a bad move because it made him think every gig has a hundred stage divers and a million pounds worth of pyrotechnics! So I thought if the gig was like last year (i.e. everyone sitting down except me) he was going to be bored - the lasers being a thing of the past. Plus I thought I might do better selling 2 tickets together. So I took the 2 spare tickets with me.

We got there at 8.20 and found out BOC were on at 8.30 so I stood outside trying to get something back for the £35 worth of spare tickets, but to no avail. Everyone already had their tickets. In fact I ended up further out of pocket as an American asked if I had a spare cigarette! (I didn't really mind - I'd like to think if I went to New York to see a band fellow fans would be friendly to me too! Plus turned out this was the guy who'd been to 250+ gigs.)

So at 8.30 I forgot about the spares, took my seat and allowed the pre-show air of expectancy to build. I informed Sonia that they would be starting with Dr Music, which was a good thing since last year the sound was terrible for the first couple of songs, so may as well get the worst song from the worst album out of the way first!

The lights dimmed, BOC were announced and then BANG! They hit the stage and launched into... well not really. They kind of ambled onto the stage one by one, stumbled around, tuned up, twiddled knobs, kicked pedals, swapped leads and did all the things that should have been done at 4 o clock in the afternoon. (Don't these guys sound check?) Then they proceeded to play the worst song off the worst album. (OK it's only my opinion.)

I really believe a band should come out and hit the audience straight between the eyes but BOC just kind of sidle up to you. (I remember Newcastle City Hall in 1975, which was one of their first UK gigs, where they started with Stairway to the Stars, screwed it up, and started again!)

What did surprise me tonight though was the fact everyone stood and pushed to the front of the stage. Definite improvement on last year from the audience - then I had stage front to myself. Well Dr Music out of the way (complete with miming from Allen - either that or his amp just wasn't working for the first song) and we got ETI which upped the atmosphere a notch.

And the sound improved. Dance On Stilts came next and then Harvester of Eyes, and by this time the sound was fine and the band and audience were rocking. I turned to Sonia and remarked that I should have brought the bairn!

Perfect Water, Shooting Shark and Divine Wind were all superb (Cities on Flame is just Cities on Flame for me. I'd rather hear something else but it's a crowd pleaser.) Then they played a magnificent version of Buck's Boogie, and then after that the one song I really wanted them to play last year but they hadn't - Astronomy.

After that I was happy whatever they played and they finished up with Burnin', Godzilla and a triumphant storming Reaper with the audience clapping and stamping along. Well done Newcastle - a big improvement on last year.

They came back on for an encore of Dominance (great encore choice this one) then Black Blade. It really did look like they might come back out again so I thought of what they might do. Hopefully Golden Age (which they did last year) or maybe Last Days of May? But no we got We've Gotta Get Out Of This Place - which I hate - but I suppose it was a nod to Newcastle.

Overall they played great and looked really happy. I even took some photos which had been out of the question last year. Great night. I hope they come back again next year.

Managed to meet all the guys except Allen after the gig and they were pretty cool. It was amazing to see Eric and Buck walk off into the night clutching gig bags a stones throw from the rough end of Newcastle. I presume the hotel must have been pretty close. One thing I noticed was Eric calling Buck "Don" off stage.

CaOBoy

After a belting manchester show, to which I took my brother, brother in law and an old college mate (all of whom loved it) I was looking forward to seeing the band on this last night at Newcastle. I had been anxious that my three chums might not be impressed - I needn't have worried.

So - off up to Newcastle - a city which is dear to me as I chose to study there 83-86. I chose it because BOC recorded some some enchanted evening there, (good a reason as any) and it gave me plenty of opportunity to see them in the 80's.

The venue was splendid - far fuller than last year, and any worry of problems with a seated venue was needless. Unlike last year, when reaper brought them down to the stage like hounds to a beefsteak, tonight the stage was rushed as soon as Jack introduced the band. Into Dr Music - as reliable as ever, and then ETI!

Now I've said before that I've heard this song plenty of (8) times so would like a surprise. (Fair play, BTK certainly was that in Leeds.) But tonight it was so fitting. As a hernia victim settles into his truss, so I let that firm, solid wall of sound surround me. That riff! Those solos! That guitar run-out! And then all crystallised in that final "BA -DUMP-- BA - DUMP. BA DIDDLE DIDDLE DI DI DIDDLE DUMP DUMP!" How marvellous not to write music. Those dots on a line just don't do it.

DOS was warmly welcomed, and HOE sent the crowd crazy. This is a very good sing-along tune, plus it has the atmosphere of the classic days, and the Geordies loved it. It must be said, that although BOC started as a club band, and have been on the club circuit in Britain, they were well able to make this much bigger stage and better light show seem their natural environment. The Opera House is a mature, stately and imposing theatre, in which BOC and Harvester seem well at home.

Perfect water was next up, and the crowd and band are well on-form. Buck's guitars seem faster, the band are tighter and solos are extended to thrill the audience immenesely. And then Eric introduces NEWCASTLE ON FLAME WITH ROCK AND ROLL. Again, this song gets those extra, one-off fans who haven't followed through the tour on-side. A crowd pleasing staple (of which they have loads) it was right for tonight. In fact my brother-in law, who saw them for the first time (in Manchester) since 1979, said, he wanted to hear that, so they know what they're doing.

Shooting shark and Divine wind were as full, fulfilling and strong as ever, with the band very tight and a strong sound. Buck's Boogie was a real treat. Lifting the crowd, mightily impressI've, and making the audience think they could ask for no more. Who can match this sort of classic big-band swing rock and blistering sense of unity in music?

And then came Astronomy. I shall only say, every fan's response is personal, and I thought it was wonderful.

Eric tells us they once had a hit! It's B4Y! Quelle surprise, as they say in France, when they're not saying "your husband won't find out," or "these guns don't work, but we'll sell them to both sides anyway." Actually I like the French. They make cheese.

Then come the big two, and so comes the end of the show proper. But hard core fans know this is just the beginning! They return and are into DOMINANCE AND SUBMISSION! This is right on side and has the crowd going potty. As the guitar solo is teased in, a stranger shouts 1 2 3 4 !- which highlights the way in which BOC predated - and surpassed - the punk era. They are number one in a field of one. It's a rarefied isolation and appreciated only by those few mountaineers who will put on the oxygen mask and make the haul to the top.

Eric tells us he did three songs with Michael Moorcock. Oh no - please not sun-jester. It isn't. It's the dark sword whose appetite grows on what it feeds on. And it's a killer. They leave the stage to wild applause, and we know they will return.

Up comes a tribute to the British Invasion, with particular reference to the animals. Geordies know what this signifies. The only cover of the tour, and it's a well- played, heartfelt "we gotta get out... " Eric reminisces about playing here about 25 years ago, and how he likes the song and Eric Burdon in particular. The version is great and they leave the stage to rapturous applause and strong emotions from the hardcore at the front. For us, especially those who made most of the shows (I only managed 5, and made a point of no time off work, and I found it prettty knackering) it's been a superb fortnight. The band must be buggered.

After the gig, Eric, Don and Bobby and Danny ( briefly) came out and signed autographs. I was lucky - I produced two photos, of Eric and me, and Don and me, outside Newcastle city hall in 1989. They both autographed the back! We looked like boys with lots of hair.

5 minutes later I left the crowd and walked alone up the street, my head ringing with images and sounds of the past two weeks. As I turned right to the car-park, I saw across the street a small man in a black suit tramping alone past the shuttered shop-fronts. His head was down and he looked weary. It was Buck. I couldn't resist, so dashed across, and caught up with him. I thanked him for the great pleasure he and the boys gave, and said we hoped they would return. He said they hoped to, and that maybe I could get to America again. It was good of him to remember that. I thanked him again, and told him how Agents of Fortune opened the door to a new world. "That's what its all about," he said. Then I said my car was to the right and I had to dash. I did so.

As I accelerated from the lights, I saw him and Bobby walking up the street. They could have been anybody. But we know they aren't.

Sport

All info correct on this one too. Very hot and talked to Bobby before show.

We left immediatly after show, long drive from ILL...

Yves Nauleau

Sorry for my poor language. I saw a video on youtube of the subhuman with the line up ( bloom, dharma,miranda,rondinelli and lanier).

The comment is "from a concert the 4th of july 2003". But on the set list of your website this song was not played

Ralph

I haven't see the clip - maybe it was wrongly dated. Of course, the setlist as I have it could always be wrong.

Does anyone know?

Will McBride

The 05 July 2003 concert on Harriet Island, St. Paul Minnesota was an outdoor gig - part of the yearly "Taste of Minnesota" festival.

A formation of very loud aerobatic biplanes flew overhead trailing smoke during the gig. BOC kept playing but the band, crew, and crowd all turned their heads and watched as the airplanes flew over.

Alan Tangey

Columbus classic rock radio station, Q-FM-96 (WLVQ) hosts the Budweiser Wing Zing each year in July. The money from the Wings festival always benefits charities.

There is a hot wings competition and through this event, at least 2 nationally known classic rock acts to co headline the event, along with a variety of regional and local acts. They have gone to a single national act in a smaller permanent venue for the shows.

This show took place in the parking lot behind Nationwide Arena in Columbus and Edgar Winter was the co headliner with BOC. Ratt Bastards, as you have them billed, was actually simply billed as Stephen Pearcy, the Ratt lead singer.

During Pearcy's set, filled with mostly Ratt tunes, he explained they made a special trip to Columbus for the show. Not on tour, they had left the work on a new album at the studio for a couple days for one reason only... they told him that Blue Oyster Cult was going to be there and he came to see Blue Oyster Cult. "After we're done up here, I'm coming out there to be one of you."

Edgar Winter was actually a big draw for me at this show, as I had not seen him before. He tore through a catalogue of his music from White Trash to The Edgar Winter Group and his many solo efforts. Many of the songs were extended jams, including a 15 minute rendering of "Frankenstein" to wrap his hour and a half set.

Not to be outdone, BOC came on providing a nice combination of their radio hits and top notch deep cuts. The band makes the outdoor early evening set on a makeshift stage feel as much as a biker party as a high tech concert.

Combining the recognizable power of "Burnin' For You", "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" and "Godzilla" with the live trackings of "Harvester of Eyes" and "Dominance and Submission" the diehard BOC fans and passive Wing Zing friends all end up with a little of something they can all relate to.

Also on the bill is Wing Zing mainstay, The Dan Orr Project, a local parody band. Orr and his band who have been featured on the nationally syndicated Dr. Demento Show, open all Wing Zings, as Orr is the producer of Q-FM-96's morning show.

Doug Southgate

July 20 Bingeman Park Kitchener Ontario Canada. Setlist:

  1. Stairway to the Stars
  2. E.T.I.
  3. Burning For You
  4. Harvester of Eyes
  5. Pocket
  6. Cities On Flame
  7. Godzilla
  8. (Don't Fear) The Reaper
  9. Golden Age of Leather (encore)
  10. Dominance & Submission (encore)

Line-up:

  1. Stampeders
  2. Lighthouse
  3. 5 man electrical band
  4. B.O.C.
  5. Mark Farner [ Foreigner was not there]
Doug Southgate

They played for 90 min under a open sided tent {outdoor gig} - they were the only band on.

Setlist:

  1. Buck"s Boogie
  2. ETI
  3. Pocket
  4. Harvester of Eyes
  5. Burnin' For You
  6. Shooting Shark
  7. ME262
  8. Golden Age of Leather
  9. Cities on Flame
  10. Last Days of May.. Extended version bestsong
  11. Godzilla... bass solo drum solo Godzilla buck... guitar solo
  12. Don't Fear The Reaper
  13. Dominance and Submission [Encore]

Also one lucky girl got to play cowbell on stage with BOC...

Joe LaFata

On August 15, 2003, BOC were to play the Ameristar Casino in St. Charles, Missouri (just west of St. Louis). This time, Eric brought Danny Miranda to the office with him (see 27 July 2000 for more info).

Danny was so cool and seemed thrilled to death to be in the band. The Bottleneck Blues Bar at the casino is a great venue to see a live show and BOC still had it as they put on a great show. We sat at a table in the band's guest area and before the show Eric and Danny again came and hung out with us.

BOC is still one of my favorite bands. I wish I had gotten to see them in their heyday, in a big arena with all of the lasers and stuff. I just got the new Columbia remasters box and am now enjoying their music all over again.

Lary Chinowsky

Here is the correct setlist for the show. Also the warm-up band was: Joasay

  1. Bucks Boogie
  2. Extra Terrestrial Intelligence
  3. Pocket
  4. Burnin For You
  5. Harvester of Eyes
  6. Take Me Away
  7. Career of Evil
  8. Cities on Flame with Rock n Roll
  9. Last Days of May
  10. Godzilla
  11. (Don't Fear) The Reaper
  12. Encore: The Red and the Black
  13. Encore: Dominance and Submission
Gin Glows

OK, this was a really special show for me.

The show was a free concert put on by a local radio station. The venue is revitalized downtown Orlando in an area called Church Street Station. The area has bars, shops and restaurants and they set the stage up at the end of one of the streets in a cul-de-sac section. So, the place was packed of course.

I hung out next to the backstage area before the show, the band members were signing stuff for people as usual. That's when I saw Sandy. I didn't want to call her over but I had my screen name written on a piece of paper that I held up and when she saw it she immediatley came over and said hi, shook my hand and started talking! She was so cool and really made me feel welcome. I was amazed at just how cool she was to everyone that wanted to say hi.

There was a guy next to me who was asking me questions about who was who in the band etc. The last time he saw BOC was in the 1980s at a Monsters of Rock concert at the Tangerine bowl (I was at that show too) so I thought it was cool that he was here to see them again after all these years. He had his son with him (maybe 9 years old) and he asked Sandy if she could get him a guitar pick from Buck. She said she wasn't sure because the show was just getting ready to start but she then said, "here, just give me your address and I'll mail you one" and she proceeded to take down his address! I was so impressed with her. Sandy, thanks so much for being so cool. You're a big part of the band's success in my eyes.

OK, about Buck's guitars.

As I was looking at the stage pre-show I saw everyone's guitars except the Cheezeberger. In Buck's area I saw a couple of guitars I didn't recognize as being Buck's. One looked like a Music Man Eddie Van Halen model that had a natural yellow finish. The other also looked like a Music Man model, but I couldn't tell for sure. It was black, sometimes it looked dark purple under the lights.

When I asked Sandy about it she said something happened and Buck's guitars didn't make it down. I think she said they just didn't ship his guitars, so hopefully everything is ok with them. She said he was complaining that he had to use this "plank". Well, he made that "plank" scream, growl, sing, he tore those guitars up and sounded unbelievable as usual.

He did switch guitars a lot, and I thought it was interesting that they opened with Buck's Boogie. I figured maybe he wanted to warm up on the guitar and get a feel for it. He played the black one for the first two-and-a-half songs. In the middle of Stilts, right at the part near the end where he plays that guitar riff before kicking into the final solo he stopped, the band held the note and he switched to the yellow guitar. It was really cool the way they did it. Then he used Eric's Godzilla Harper guitar for Burnin'. He went back to the Black guitar for Harvester, Career of Evil, ME 262. Then back to the Eric's Godzilla guitar for Shooting Shark and LDOM.

For COF & Godzilla he used the yellow guitar. And on Reaper he used the black guitar with a capo on the second fret to get it to the key he plays the Reaper in. Maybe this stuff belongs in the musician's forum but I thought everyone might find this interesting. I wondered how Buck was feeling about playing these guitars, with headstocks! and a capo! (His cheezeberger doesn't have a headstock and it can be adjusted for key changes at the bridge - plus he plays that guitar all the time and I know how different the guitars he had to play are from the one that he's used to).

Finally, he played the encore with the black guitar. And throughout the show his playing was amazing, you would have never known that he was playing these odd "planks" from listening to him. He smoked on every guitar that he played.

It truly was a great show for me.

The audience really got into LDOM, especially as they kicked it into high gear with the extended jam in the middle of the song. Allen sounded great, I could hear him a lot better during his solo on this song than at past shows. And Buck just steps back and lets Allen go. I was kind of far back from the stage but even in the back the audience was digging every song. I've been at some of these free shows where the people show up mainly because it's free and aren't really moved by the band. I think they are there just because it's a Saturday night and they want to get out. But everyone at this show, BOC fan or not, was into the concert. I think that with every show BOC does they win more converts. You just can't deny how good they are!!

Gin Glows

OK, I just have to tell you about last night's show in Ybor City (Tampa Bay, FL).

First, the event they played at is called the Guavaween festival, and it's Tampa Bay's version of Mardi Gras and Halloween all mixed into one.

I'm bustin to tell y'all all about this show...

My wife joined me for the show, about a 2 1/2 drive from the east side of the state where I live over to the west.

BOC was scheduled to go on at 10PM. We got there with plenty of time and were right up front in the Buck zone. As the crew is doing the sound check it appears that something is wrong with Buck's rig. They spend a good 20 minutes working on it. Finally Buck comes out and he's behind the amp too, and in less then 10 minutes they are ready to go.

So, as we've been waiting I've seen Buck, Allen, Bobby and Danny, but Eric is nowhere to be seen. It looks like his amp is on stage, but I don't see his guitar either - I'm wondering, where's Eric Bloom?

So when they start to play, it's four members of BOC. No Eric!

They start with Buck's Boogie and it rocks, and it gets the crowd totally fired up. So, I am even more curious now, where is Eric? Did he miss his flight? What's up.

The 2nd song is Teen Archer, which is a killer song to see live. The sound is great, the mix is great, and without Eric playing there is a little more space to hear Allen and Buck.

3rd Song, Burnin for You

4th Song, Dance on Stilts.

So, up to this point not a lot of dialog from the band. Buck's doing a great job of saying welcome and they're happy to be there etc.

Then Buck says that a lot of BOC fans are wondering where Eric Bloom is. He goes on to say that Eric got food poisoning and is really sick. "Coming out both ends" Buck's words...

With that, they kick into Harvester of Eyes - and Buck sings it!

It was awesome! He did a great job and sounded great. I think he kinda forgot some of the words at first, it looked like had them posted down on his monitor, but he belted it out and I thought it was great. Of course I missed Eric, but I thought it was cool to hear Buck sing this tune.

Next up, Perfect Water. Always good.

Then... Cities on Flame, again Buck had to sing it and did an awesome job. I really liked the way he sounded on this song. He can really belt it out and I was thinking how cool it was for me to get to hear Buck sing COF - again Eric was missed, but this was cool to me.

Then Last Days of May. I swear, I've seen this live version a few times now, but it keeps getting more intense. When they pick up the tempo and jam the way they do - you think the three of them are going to spontaineously combust the way the're playing!

Then Godzilla, always a fun tune and a real crowd pleaser. I know that some on this board think this tune is over played, but I think they have to do it and it really is a great song. I like turning around and looking at the crowd during this song, just to see everyone singing and getting into it.

Then Reaper. Again, I thought the sound at this show was great. Loud, but not too loud, mixed very well - a clean, powerful sound.

Of course even without Eric the crowd wasn't going to let them get away without an encore, so they came out and played.... (my guess was Before the Kiss, since it is a Buck vocal - but I guessed wrong...)

The Red & the Black - and, no suprise, Buck did an incredible job singing this song, never missing a beat or a note.

There was one part during COF, when they all pause, and I think Bobby played the drum riff when he wasn't supposed to, the others kinda looked at him like "what are you doing" and they all smiled and laughed.

Also, as I mentioned at the beginning, this festival is a lot like Mardi Gras, so throughout the show people were throwing there beads on stage. Especially at the beginning, during Buck's Boogie. I was a little concerned that some beads might hit a member of the band - some of those beads are heavy and they would just fly onto the stage out of nowhere. And Buck was front and center the whole time and it kind of reminded me of that scene out of Apocolypse Now, where Robert Duvall is on the beach and bombs are exploding all around him, bullets flying, and he just stands there and doesn't move - that's how Buck was, he didn't flinch or even notice the beads flying all around him, he just looked up into the night sky and played - and they put on a killer 90 minute show.

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Bobby Rohr

I have visited the 06.12.03 Festhalle Durlach, Karlsruhe, Germany Blue Oyster Cult / Uriah Heep concert and have a small ammendment to this gig for you:

The support Band Fireball Ministry was also there and has played before Blue Oyster Cult (it is missing on this entry).

Info: At this concert i have let my digital camera outside, because I had bad experiences from the London Astoria Trip on 2002.

Ralph

I think Fireball Ministry opened every date on this German tour, but my policy is to only add them to the bill when I receive specific information that they did indeed play...

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Ralph

There's a review of the show available here:

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James Mohr

One thing I would like to add for the show on 16 December 2003 in the Lowensaal, Nuremberg.

The opening band was also Fireball Ministry, like the other shows on that tour. I saw them in Lichtenfels on 14 December. After Fireball Ministry played, they came out and signed autographs.

I went back into the hall to see BÖC and after they played, I came out and talked with Fireball Ministry again. They were really glad to have someone who they could speak English with (me being an American).

For each show they got 20 free passes, but didn't know anyone to give them too, so they invited me and a guest.

So, two days later, I got to see BÖC for the 10th time.

Quick Gig Facts
Quick Gig Facts