For the sake of full disclosure, let me say upfront that I’m a Blue Oyster Cult fan, having traveled all over the Northeast to catch them. Last Friday night they brought their high-energy show to Pittsfield’s beautiful Colonial Theatre for a sold-out concert. The venue first opened in 1903, and gazing around at its wonderful, recent restoration started the evening off on a perfect note.
With the roughly 700 seats filled with a nice mix of young and old, BOC set the tone with “The Red and the Black.” It was clear from the beginning that the two original members, Eric Bloom and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser were not merely going through the motions. They were there to have a good time and bring the audience along with them. They may not run around the stage like they used to, but they can still rock.
Throughout the night, Buck and Richie Castellano (the replacement for the ailing Alan Lanier) traded leads on such songs as “Burnin’ For You” and “Then Came the Last Days of May,” with Richie’s high-energy solos nicely contrasting with Buck’s more subdued, but always mesmerizing style.
Bassist Rudy Sarzo – the newest addition to the band, having joined two years ago – was constantly on the move throughout the night. While many artists confuse flash with talent, Rudy was able to demonstrate that a performer can show both. He and the band transformed the standard bass solo during “Godzilla” into his own personal musical resume, as they sampled songs from his former bottom-end duties with Dio, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and the metal god himself, Ozzy.
Drummer Jules Radino was his usual solid self. With facial expressions that subconsciously range from pure bliss to almost intimidating, this Long Island power pounder showed he can rock with the best of them. He and Richie – who joined BOC in late 2004, following the departure of bassist Danny Miranda and drummer Bobby Rondinelli – are the youth and energy of the band, neatly dovetailing with the quiet confidence of Eric and Buck that comes with age and 40-plus years of experience together. And it’s obvious (since I saw them in Atlantic City’s House of Blues soon after) that they are now part of the BOC musical family.
Review by Ed Conway
BLUE OYSTER CULT SET LIST
The Red & The Black
Before The Kiss, a Redcap
Burnin’ For You
I Love The Night
Cities On Flame With Rock and Roll
Then Came the Last Days Of May
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
This Ain’t the Summer of Love
Hot Rails To Hell