Blue Öyster Cult

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author BV date 05/08/16 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a gig without actually having to at least write something about. That, however, was actually what I had expected to be able to when I first realized Blue Öyster Cult were coming to town. Alas, that plan was not meant to be, as my colleague who was signed up for reviewing duties on this particular night became occupied elsewhere – leaving me to either dismiss the review completely or pick up the mantle. Having been a casual BoC fan for a few years I figured it would be worthwhile checking them out and writing a bit about the show – and thus I ventured into Amager Bio with rather neutral expectations towards the whole thing.

Photos courtesy of Stefan Frank thor Straten

Blue Öyster Cult

As no support band was announced for the night I figured it would either be a genuinely swift show, or one dragged out towards eternity with less interesting cuts or, even worse, nonsense jams with no real sense of direction. Opening with “This Ain’t the Summer of Love” from 1976’s “Agents of Fortune” would normally have proved quite amazing I presume, but something was actually off from the get-go – notably the mix of instruments which seemed generally low in most parts of the venue, prompting several people to yell “LOUDER!” during quieter passages. Following the track, the band proclaimed that the majority of their gear had been ‘misplaced’ by SAS during their flight, meaning that their entire backline was a rental – thereby possibly trying to justify the general feeling that something was off tonight. However, I find it hard to believe that it was just a matter of rental equipment as the show gradually began leaning towards a far too great sense of comfort and, well, lenience on stage as the five musicians worked their way through bland renditions of “Burnin’ For You”, “True Confessions” and “The Vigil”. From what I could hear in-between songs (and during songs due to the low volume) quite a few parts of the audience said what I was thinking; ”at times this seems like more of a tribute band than the band itself”. Obviously that’s a sad statement to make when you’ve made the effort to come see the show – both for the band and for yourself.

I want to stress the point that I am not down-talking the musicianship at all. The skills we all know (and presumably love) Blue Öyster Cult for were there in abundance, but the general vibe and the execution seemed lackluster at best. That is, until we reached those tracks you’d assume most people know – like “Godzilla” which was executed in a rather lively manner, getting several parts of the crowd to nod along and genuinely feel something. Much of the same can be said about “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” which worked splendidly in spite of a disturbing lack of cowbell throughout the first many bars of the song. However, when all is said and done I can’t possibly grade the performance much higher than what I have consequently done. A lackluster performance, possibly made worse by the unfortunate circumstances surrounding the band’s equipment, cannot be saved entirely by two or three tracks with a far greater appeal.

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