Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014
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Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014
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Recorded on October 17, 2014 at the Hard Rock Casino in Northfield, OH, this live performance offers a comprehensive and exciting look at the Blue Öyster Cult repertoire. With nearly 2 hours of music, the band is on fire, performing some of the finest and most beloved songs from their history, while not forgetting some deeper cuts.
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We arrived at the show early, and what a show the band had in store for us. They had energy, they played some classics and some chestnuts. They were right on ... not missing a beat. The sound was very good, and the audience was really into the setlist. My brother and I were in awe of how good they really did sound and how punchy there were after all of the touring they do. The love is right there.
The band mentioned recording the event for one reason or another, and I thought nothing of it at the time ... until now.
I have quite a number of BOC live albums, and I certainly wouldn't miss this one. While my opinion may be biased and personal as I was there, the music speaks for itself. If you're curious as to how they are holding up then look no further.
NO Black Blade, Great Sun Jester, The Vigil, The Subhuman, The Golden Age of Leather (or any of the deeper cuts that fans would want to hear) --- They had started to play OD'd on Life Itself and Harvester of Eyes.
My point is : WHY? They have such a great fanbase and back catalog, they don't need to just play to the people who only know "Don't Fear the Reaper" ---- AND they played nothing off of their two most recent albums (except Dance on Stilts).
There are so many good bands touring that I figured I wouldn't lay out good money for a band "Going Through the Motions." Now maybe i just saw a couple of sub-par shows, but I had never seen this band play sub-par, EVER.
This leads me to this album .... (although this is from 6 years ago) ---- they sound great!
The music has slowed in tempo a bit (like Yes has), but that makes the songs have more space and have more of a groove, and less hard rock. I like this change (I mean these guys are all entering their 70s - Donald and Eric).
There are also some deep cuts here, as you can see form the setlist, and other than "Burnin for You", many of the mainstays have been nicely reworked.
So, to finish ...... buy this album ..... it's pretty good ...... I might even go see them when they come around again.
I saw B.O.C. in Cleveland not long after this at the House of Blues and can attest that it was the best they've sounded in the 6 concerts of theirs that I've had the pleasure to attend. Cleveland must bring out the best in these guys! The set list is strong and there's a plethora of songs spanning their career. I wish they had included Astronomy and maybe another song or 2 from Fire of Unknown Origin or Cultosaurus Erectus. Still, it's a good set with much variety.
Virtually every song is an extended version compared to their studio counterparts; the band really stretches the songs to their fullest and with superb musical chops. If there is any weakness whatsoever, it's the minor observation that Buck's voice wasn't 100% on this night. I'm not sure if it's just age or a bad night. As mentioned, I've seen them several times and have never noticed before that his voice was faltering so, I'll chalk it up to a bad night. He doesn't sound terrible by any means; he's just not quite as solid as he usually is for his lead vocal parts. There are a few instances where he's a bit flat. Still, I'd take a slightly "flat" Buck Dharma over almost anyone else anyday!
One thing I greatly admire about Buck Dharma (Donald Roeser) in the newest incarnation of B.O.C. is that he readily shares the stage with Richie Castellano, a prodigious guitarist in his own right. The reason I mention this is that most virtuoso-type guitar players like Buck Dharma, are reluctant to share a stage with someone who is their equal. Can you imagine Blackmore, Schenker, or Malmsteen putting a guitarist in their band that was equal to their skill? You'd be hard pressed to find many times across the careers of "guitar heroes" where they put a player in their band with the chops of Richie Castellanos. If you've never seen Richie Castellanos play guitar (or if you aren't a guitarist), you may not appreciate that most guitar greats such as Buck Dharma, won't let their egos be challenged by another talented player. Buck allows Richie free reign on several tunes and its a nice change of pace. Both guitarists are phenomenal and complement each other well.
Eric Bloom's vocals sound good on this show; a nice surprise because I usually feel that his voice has suffered more over the years than Buck's.
I think the highlights are the Golden Age of Leather, Shooting Shark and the Vigil in this set. I purchased the newly released 40th anniversary concert of Agents of Fortune at the same time and am glad that this Cleveland show doesn't have anything from Agents beyond the obligatory performance of (Don't Fear) the Reaper.
This concert cd/dvd is truly deserving as part of any B.O.C. fan's collection or as a purchase for anyone that's a fan of classic rock.
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Highlights.....well all of it really ,from the understated opener 'O'D on Life' to the classic 'Cities On Flame...' the band power thru moments of sheer brilliance,the guitar interplay from Dharma and Castellano is a joy to listen to as the deliver solo after solo just a joy..listen to the extended 'Last Days Of May' incredible,saw them play this in Glasgow a while back and it was a standing ovation at the end,magnificent stuff. Throw in deep cuts like 'The Vigil' and 'I Love The Night' and im in heaven and of Course 'Dont Fear The Reaper' never disappoints. A special mention must also go to Kasim Sultan on bass his contribution cannot be ignored.. listen to 'Shootin Shark'. I once moaned that they included a drum solo in the middle of 'Godzilla' and blow me they have done it again!!.. just when i thought we were getting a funky Bass moment from Kasim here comes the drum solo... the only negative on the disc,for me,anyway.
Sound quality is really good,packaging ok and the booklet nothing to write home about. The Dvd is well shot but its a once or twice viewing at most.
This "Hard Rock Live Cleveland 2014" released 2019/2020 captures the mature live band 12 years later, and pretty similar to the line up and performance I remember from their fine concert at Amager Bio in Copenhagen Denmark; on the 2016-08-05.
One remark on the setlist is that both Cleveland and Copenhagen concerts included the very very rare "Golden age of Leather", this reopened my eyes for the long forgotten and underestimated album; "Spectres" from 1977, having many qualities... this is the only other place I have found "Golden age of Leather". Of more rare tracks, is also "Then came the last days of may" an exiting story about the destiny of a group of robbers stock in the desert and internal troubles... also very fine music. Another rare concert track is "I love the Night", very fine here. Other live DVD rarities; "Career of Evil"; "Shooting Shark"; "The Vigil" & "Black Blade". The last track to be mentioned is the Godzilla, many are tired of, but in this case includes in the midle is a fine bass and then a very nice drumsolo, and on my 3 B&W 12 inch subs, it is like being back in the concerthall.... not sitting in my livingroom..... this alone makes my day.
This leads to the quality of the DVD which I find to be near to Blue-Ray in picture and angles, close up ei. are fine, and the sound I would give 4,5 of 5 stars, this release is a grade better in technical quality than "A Long Day's Night" 19 track DVD from 2002. But the tracklist from 2002 has other live rarities than this 2014 concert, so you really need both I am afraid ;-)
Some could say setlist and was better in 2002, others would maybe prefer the older band lineup, but I feel we here in the 2014 take, are seing a very motivated and well performing band, older yes, but not "old and tired" at all, please more concerts and more DVDs up from the archives, and how about a Blue Ray......
If you don't have a DVD with BOC live, you must order imidiately, if you already have, you can wait until tomorrow, but get it, you will not regret...... I have all their albums, and this belongs in any collection of BOC.
Photos: Concert at Amager Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark 2016-08-05
Von der Ur-Besetzung sind nur noch Eric Bloom und Donald „Buck Dharma“ Roeser dabei. Die zum Zeitpunkt des Konzerts 70- und 67-Jährigen haben das Rocken nicht verlernt und kommen authentisch rüber, auch wenn stimmlich (gitarren-technisch sowieso) Buck Dharma die bessere Figur macht. Kompetent und tight werden die Beiden von Jules Radino an den Drums und Kasim Sulton am Bass unterstützt. Am positivsten überrascht hat mich allerdings der Fünfte Mann im Bunde, Richie Castellano an Gitarre und Keyboards. Im Vergleich zu seinem Vorgänger, Ur-Mitglied Alan Lanier (R.I.P), spielt er insbesondere an der Gitarre wesentlich packender auf und kann den Fingerfertigkeiten von Buck Dharma häufig ordentlich Paroli bieten. So tragen die Gitarrenduelle in „Shooting Shark“ „The Last Days of May“ und „The Red & The Black“ im Wesentlichen dazu bei, dass diese Songs meine Favoriten sind und allein schon den Kauf des Albums gelohnt haben. Bei der vorletzten Zugabe „Hot Rails To Hell“ darf Richie dann sogar die Lead-Vocals übernehmen. Auch hierbei gibt er trotz Handicap aufgrund gerissener Gitarrenseite (Eric Bloom hatte die Gitarre im Song zuvor benutzt ;-)) eine beachtliche Performance ab.
Die Setlist hält neben den üblichen Klassikern wie „Reaper“; Godzilla“, „Burnin' For You“ und „Cities on Flame“ auch ein paar seltene Perlen parat. Neben dem bereits erwähnten, vortrefflich interpretierten „Shooting Shark“ darf man sich über Songs wie „Golden Age Of Leather“,„Carrer Of Evil“, „The Vigil“ und „I Love the Night“ freuen.
Sound-technisch kommen sowohl die CDs als auch DVD kraftvoll rüber. Unverständlich ist mir allerdings, warum die CDs von sämtlichen Ansagen vor bzw. zwischen den Tracks „befreit“ wurden, was ein bisschen von der Live-Atmosphäre nimmt. So kommt die DVD auf eine Spielzeit von 1 Stunde 57 Minuten, die CDs sind hingegen um 6 Minuten kürzer.
Das Bild der DVD könnte ein wenig mehr Schärfe vertragen. An Kameraführung und Schnitt gibt es hingegen nichts zu bemängeln. Etwas schade ist, dass auf der Bühne m.E. zu sehr das Schwarz regiert (schwarze Klamotten, schwarze PA, schwarzer Hintergrund).
Alles in allem handelt es sich hier aber um ein überzeugendes Live-Dokument, dass Lust macht B.Ö.C mal wieder Live zu erleben. Ein neues Studio-Output ist für 2020 auch bereits angekündigt. Ich bin gespannt.
Having said that, even thought the pace on a few songs has slowed down, the band is sounding great!
Here’s the breakdown on this release:
Song selection- 8/10
Sound Quality/Mix/Production- 9/10