Godzilla Roars into The Van Buren, Blue Oyster Cult Rock Fans

The guitarist of Blue Oyster Cult jamming at The Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona

Review and Photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Stateside Presents & Danny Zelisko Presents
Venue: The Van Buren
Date: Sunday September 29th, 2019
Tour: 50th Anniversary Tour

Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult fist bumping at start of show at The Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona

Blue Oyster Cult (BOC) has been around for over 50 years.  They started out in 1967 and were one of the premier rock bands of the 70s and 80s.  Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom have been with the band since 1969 and have been part of all of BOCs greatest hits.  It has been almost 20 years, but BOC plans on releasing a new album in the summer of 2020.

The show started with the theme song from Game of Thrones.  Then the band came out on stage and started the set with “Dr. Music”.  At this point the fans were up and cheering.  This was a running theme for the night, the audience would be up singing and cheering for a lot of the night.  There was a woman across the aisle from me that was up and dancing for most of the song.  People really seemed to be into the music and showed their appreciation my numerous standing ovations and laud cheering for the encore.

Eric Bloom and Buck Dharma were joined on stage by guitarist/keyboardist Richie Castellano, bass player Danny Miranda and drummer Jules Radino.  At one point in the show, Buck asked what the next song should be and the crowd shouted out “Shooting Sharks”.  The end of the main set consisted of 2 of the BOC’s greatest hits, “Godzilla” and finally “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper”.  Unlike prior shows, Eric did not play the cowbell at the start of “The Reaper”.  After a short break, they came back on stage for a 3-song encore that included “Tattoo Vampire”, “I Love the Night” and ended the show with “Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll”.

Richie Castellano and Eric Bloom of Blue Oyster Cult at The Van Buren, Phoenix, Arizona

Eric Bloom and Richie Castellano traded duties on guitar and keyboards for most of the show.  But during the final songs of the set, both played guitar and all of the guitarists came into the middle of the stage to jam.  A lot of people believe that Iron Maiden was one of the first metal bands to utilize 3 guitarists, but BOC was doing this in the early 70s.

It was a typical BOC show.  The audience got to hear the greatest hits and then the band through in a few songs from their long career include a new song from an upcoming album.  This is the 2nd time I have seen BOC in the past 3 years and each time the setlist has been a little different.  It was nice to hear different songs and not just the same mix each time.

Eric seemed a little more subdued this show then in the past, but Buck and Richie made up for it by laying down multiple guitar riffs.  Overall it was an outstanding show.  BOC is still at the top of their game and the audience really seemed to enjoy it.  I can’t wait to hear the new album when it comes out next summer (2020).

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

BOC Setlist:                                                        (Album / Cover)
Game of Thrones: Main Title                       (Ramin Djawadi song)
Dr. Music                                                             (Mirrors)
Golden Age of Leather                                   (Spectres)
Career of Evil                                                      (Secret Treaties)
Burnin’ for You                                                  (Fire of Unknown Origin)
ME 262                                                                 (Secret Treaties)
Secret Road                                                        (BD Archive Volume III)
Shooting Shark                                                  (The Revölution by Night)
The Vigil                                                               (Mirrors)
E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)          (Agents of Fortune)
Buck’s Boogie                                                    (On Your Feet or on Your Knees)
Then Came the Last Days of May               (Blue Öyster Cult)
Godzilla                                                                (Spectres)
Guitar Solo                                                          (Buck Dharma)
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper                                (Agents of Fortune)
Tattoo Vampire                                                (Agents of Fortune)
I Love the Night                                                (Spectres)
Cities on Flame With Rock and Roll           (Blue Öyster Cult)

Michael Nitro Band

Michael Nitro at The Van Buren

The Michael Nitro Band is a Phoenix favorite.  They were a perfect match as the leadup band for BOC.  They got the crowd going and in the mood to hear even more great Rock & Roll — which is exactly what a concert goer hopes from the opener.  Michael Nitro was joined by bass player, Dave Daniels, and drummer, Mark Wilson.  Their style is the classic 70s high energy rock and roll.

This is the second time I have seen Michael, and his band just gets better.  I also believe that having the large stage at The Van Buren was a great help.  This allowed Michael and Dave to move around and seemed to free up their performances.  I loved their original song “Looking For A Friend”.  For me, when Michael talked about how friends are very important and a great help in one’s career and life, it really struck home.

We are very lucky that Phoenix is home to some really great bands, including The Meat Puppets, The Gin Blossoms, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers and Michael Nitro.

Michael plays at venues around Arizona and is definitely worth going to see if you love good old-time Rock & Roll. You can view their schedule online at www.michaelnitro.com

Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2019, All Rights Reserved

Michael Nitro Band Setlist:
Rainy Morning
John The Dog
Somethings Missing
Distant Shore
Hells Train
Looking For A Friend
Mary Jane


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