Exactly 30 years ago this minute I was at the Pacific Coliseum watching my hard-rock heroes from the States, Blue Öyster Cult, kick butt on a bill with Canadian one-hit-wonder Aldo Nova.
How do I remember the precise date of that ancient gig, you ask? Well, it's not like I still have the ticket stub lying around--although I wish I did. It would look pretty cool encased behind the back-cover plastic of my Workshop of the Telescopes greatest-hits CD.
No, the only reason I can recall the exact date is because I kept a copy of the interview I did a couple weeks before the show with singer Eric Bloom. At the time I'd only been writing for the Straight for three months, and was totally psyched by the fact that I was getting TWO FREE TICKETS TO SEE A FUCKING BLUE ÖYSTER CULT CONCERT!--not to mention a bit of cash to scribble about it. I also kept a copy of my concert review, which was published the following week. Maybe I sensed that at some point I'd want to transfer those heavy-metal memories to another, non-newsprint realm. Call me visionary if you must.
Anyway, since one whole person has suggested it would be cool to revisit that gig for the benefit of hardcore BÖC fans, here's my '82 review. Keep in mind that my rock writing back then was 30 years lamer than it is now.
What do a motorcycle, a monster, and a massive mirrored saucer have in common? Who cares, you say? They're all props used last Sunday night by New York City's Blue Oyster Cult, who played the Pacific Coliseum with opening act Aldo Nova.
Touring to promote their latest album, Extraterrestrial Live, the group came on strong with a triple-guitar attack that drove home the main idea behind songs like the opener "Dominance and Submission" and Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild". On the latter tune, singer Eric Bloom pulled a Judas Priest trick by driving a big, black Harley (or was it a Yamaha?) onstage. During "Godzilla", a curtain behind drummer Rick Downey was parted to reveal the lizard king itself--with massive green head and laser red eyes. Spewing fountains of dry ice from its jaws, the creature was pelted with drumsticks by Downey.
The real highlight of the show had to be lead guitarist Don (Buck Dharma) Roeser's solo work, which he executed with dizzying speed on songs such as "Cities on Flame" from the group's first album, and their biggest hit to date "(Don't Fear) the Reaper". He lived up to his reputation as one of the top rock guitarists in America, especially on the extended jam that took place during the encore performance of the Doors classic, "Roadhouse Blues".
Toronto glam-rocker Aldo Nova did his best to get the mostly teen crowd warmed up for BOC, playing selections from his enormously successful debut album. Dressed in a black leather jumpsuit, Nova posed and pranced through Top 40 tracks like "Fantasy", playing the guitar-hero role to the hilt and keeping the rest of his band in the background.
Ha. So there you have it. Sounds like I wasn't all that impressed with Mr. Nova. But can you blame me? Blue Öyster Cult had to put out four adventurous, mindblowing studio albums before it could score a hit with the gorgeous "Reaper", and this guy comes along with his black leather jumpsuit and his radio-friendly sound and makes it big on his first try. It just didn't seem fittin' is all.
On a happier note, hopefully my exhumation of this wee review will help dispel those crazy rumours on the Hot Rails to Hull website that it was actually Streetheart--and not Aldo Nova--who opened the show. That woulda been cool though.
You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.