With more than four decades under its leather, Blue Oyster Cult carved out one of the most distinctive sounds in hard rock and heavy metal, even making a major splash on MTV at one point, while continuing to dominate classic rock radio these days. For its latest outing at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino just south of Chicago, long running co-leaders Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and Eric Bloom, along with more recent additions Richie Castellano (rhythm guitar/keys), Kasim Sulton (bass) and Jules Radino (drums) took a career-spanning trip down memory lane with a specific shout out to the platinum-plus project “Agents Of Fortune” in honor of its 40th birthday earlier this year.
Together, the group soared through a series of ‘70s standouts, including “Miracles,” “Count On Me” and “Jane,” even dipping as far back as the more psychedelic-minded Jefferson Airplane (“White Rabbit,” “Somebody To Love”) and the slick commercial pop of just plain old Starship.
The guys came out with their aggressive yet melodic guns a blazin’ to “The Red & The Black,” then dived directly into the massive “Burnin’ For You” surprisingly early, which prompted some of those on the floor to their feet. “Agents” alum “True Confessions” was another burly stand out, though it was the stomping “Godzilla” and growling “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” that really showed just how much Blue Öyster Cult wound up rubbing off on Metallica, Iced Earth and so many more throughout the subsequent years who like their amplifiers cranked well past eleven.
Joining Blue Oyster Cult for the double value bill was Jefferson Starship, who may have lost guitarist Paul Kantner at the beginning of this year, but continue to tour in his memory and with the full blessing of long retired leader Grace Slick. Chicago area audiences in particular probably recognized the mighty Cathy Richardson, who bravely stepped into her role, while the rest of the band was rounded out by original member David Freiberg on guitar, longtime beat keeper Donny Baldwin, late ‘90s keyboard add-on Chris Smith and newer lead guitarist Jude Gold.
Together, the group soared through a series of ‘70s standouts, including “Miracles,” “Count On Me” and “Jane,” even dipping as far back as the more psychedelic-minded Jefferson Airplane (“White Rabbit,” “Somebody To Love”) and the slick commercial pop of just plain old Starship. The latter’s “We Built This City” (a frequent on “worst song” lists) was introduced in jest, but it stuck out like a slightly botched sore thumb amongst an otherwise exceptional set that made the latest line-up of Jefferson Starship a fitting vessel to carry on the enormous legacy.
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue At Horseshoe Casino include Paul Rodriguez & Friends (Nov. 19); All-Star Comedy Jam featuring Arnez J, Gary Owen and more (Nov. 25); The Holiday Concert starring Will Downing and Najee (Dec. 2); The Kappa’s Annual Scholarship Fundraiser featuring Chaka Khan (Dec. 9) and The 106.3 Holiday Jam starring Morris Day and The Time, Atlantic Starr and El Debarge (Dec. 17). For additional details, visit TheVenueChicago.com and Ticketmaster.com.