Bands Of A Certain Age Still Rocking Strong, But The Venue Here Is The Real Charm

Written by on April 21, 2011 in April 21, 2011, Live Reviews - Comments Off on Bands Of A Certain Age Still Rocking Strong, But The Venue Here Is The Real Charm

Blue Oyster Cult: No spring chickens are they, but still know how to get down and dirty!

Blue Oyster CultThough I hate to admit it, the flip side of gaining peace and tranquility from relocating to my new High Desert home was missing out on the myraid of various music events happening on a nightly basis throughout Los Angeles and its surrounding towns. Two years later, I am still finding my way around the various cultural offerings of the Inland Empire, the closest densely populated area to where I live. This is mind, and in search of some good live music, my girlfriend and I ventured to beautiful downtown San Bernardino (?) recently to catch a double-bill by two of the ‘golden oldies’ of rock, Blue Oyster Cult and Foghat.

The Baby Boomers were definitely out in number for BOC and Foghat, two bands who got their start sometime in the ‘70’s. But before we talk about the music, gotta tell you about the venue we saw them in: a place called the California Theater of the Performing Arts. Opened in 1928, and only a block from historic Route 66, the venue is famous as the last place performer Will Rogers ever performed at before his untimely death. It’s also a stunning 1,700-seat Spanish Colonial style structure that has been wonderfully maintained through the years. It’s not often one goes to a rock concert inside a genuine historical landmark, but here we were, and lovin’ it.

As for the music itself, not gonna lie to you here – neither of these bands are at the level of what they once were in their respective primes. In the case of opening band Foghat, only one member (drummer Roger Earl) remained from the original lineup of the renowned British blues-rock band, although the current lineup has been together a little over tten years since the 2000 death of founding lead vocalist/frontman, “Lonesome” Dave Peverett. Indeed, Foghat has experienced almost as much sadness in its time as success. While highly energetic onstage, wiith the exception of their longtime singalong hits (“Fool for The City,” “Slow Ride,” “I Just Wanna Make Love To You”), much of the present material the band performed was uninspired.

Blue Oyster CultConversely, the years have been much kinder to headliners Blue Oyster Cult, the distinctly American (by way of Long Island, NY) rock ensemble still fronted by founding members Eric Bloom (keyboards-guitars-lead vocals) and Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser (lead guitar-vocals). The ‘Cult  – known for hits such as “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” and “This Ain’t The Summer Of love” among many others – continue to be a major concert draw some twenty-four years after they first formed. However, something strange happened on this particular night: the band played a set that was more jam-based (with several long Buck Dharma guitar solos) that hit-heavy. Indeed, people were observed getting up and leaving a little more than a half-hour into the group’s set. My theory is that, after 24 years, they’re tired of performing “just the hits” and now play sets to please themselves. At any rate, of the three or four times I have seen BOC in my life, this did rate as the least inspiring performance of the lot.

Coming attractions at the Theater of the Performing Arts include The Pink Floyd Experience (April 1); “Superstars of Rock And Rolll” (May 14); and colorful Las Vegas-based music/performance troupe, Blue Man Group (May 19 through May 22). For more information on all events at the California Theater of the Performih Arts call (909) 885-5152 or visit www.californiatheater.net.