at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., October 19, 2022

BLUE ÖYSTER CULT (Live at The City Hall, Newcastle, U.K., October 19, 2022)
Photo: Mick Burgess

With two postponements in the last couple of years there were some fears that their tour would go the same way as a few other American artists over the past months but Blue Öyster Cult are made of sterner stuff and weren’t going to let a worldwide pandemic or international cost of living crisis stop them returning to the City Hall for the first time in 33 years.

As luck would have it, their visit coincided with their 50th anniversary, which meant a celebration was in order and New York’s finest duly delivered. Big time.

Opening with the upbeat “Dr. Music” and “Before The Kiss, A Redcap” before the cans of beer were raised on high for the Biker Rock Opera, “Golden Age Of Leather.” BÖC were off to a blinder.

Whereas the announcement of new songs is often greeted with a collective groan and a mass exodus to the bar for bands of a certain vintage, such is the strength of their recent The Symbol Remains opus, their first new studio album in 19 years, the new songs “That Was Me” and “Box In My Head” were greeted like long lost friends, with the supreme “Tainted Blood” sung by Richie Castellano being one of many highlights.

Where BÖC really excel is mining their rich and varied back catalogue, changing their setlist from night to night. Newcastle was indeed served a fine buffet of vintage cuts that haven’t been played in the UK for nigh on three decades with golden classics from the Metallica approved, “Astronomy”, “Joan Crawford”, “ME262 and a barnstorming “Flaming Telepaths” leaving the crowd utterly punch drunk in delight.

With frontman Eric Bloom commanding as ever singing the harder edged songs while fellow original member, Buck Dharma, handled the more melodic moments as Castellano and bassist Danny Miranda provided some impressive harmonies giving BÖC such a unique, compelling sound. In Buck Dharma, they have one of the most enchanting guitarists in Rock whose combination of melody and virtuosity bring the likes of “Shooting Shark” “E.T.I” and “Seven Screaming Dizbusters” to life.

Of course, they roll out the must play trio of the timeless “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”, the monstrous “Godzilla” and the Pop thrill of “Burnin’ For You”. How could they not?

Closing the nigh on two-hour show with “Cities On Flame With Rock ‘n ‘ Roll” couldn’t have been more apt as BÖC’s 50th birthday party ignited a series of spontaneous standing ovations as the City Hall celebrated half a century of incredible music by one of America’s greatest Rock bands.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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