Zebra & Blue Oyster Cult @ Vanderbilt
February 2000
Time was when Blue Oyster Cult, urbane sorcerers welding high-art to hard metal through tattooed vampires, baby ice dogs and shooting sharks, set cities around the world on flame with rock n' roll. But that was then; now the Long Island legends play to the faithful at the beautiful Vanderbilt, a half-hour from Eric Bloom's house. Guitar guru Buck Dharma was in fine form however, leading his Cultosaurus compatriots through an excavation of cult classics like "Joan Crawford," "Teen Archer" and "Harvester of Eyes." Buck dedicated "Live For Me," off the last BOC LP, Heaven Forbid, to a friend who recently died in a motorcycle accident. Other chopper cuts like "Golden Age of Leather" and summer staple "Burning for You" were firmly intact. Previewing songs from the forthcoming Fourplay, Zebra, the under-appreciated power trio from New Orleans, celebrated the triumphant return of drummer Guy Gelso. BOC's Bobby Rondinelli, also late of Rainbow, actually substituted for Guy at some past Zebra gigs, but tonight Guy blew him off the stool. Out of cancer chemo, goateed Guy, sans top hair, looked hipper than ever while Felix remains the same, kept from his loathsome covers by the set time limit. Hard working frontman Randy Jackson suffered from laryngitis and just came from an acoustic gig, so some of his lacerating falsettos remained in this stratosphere, but Zebra is always a powerhouse. Many of the elements that killed dino-rock were at this show: piercing sound, distracting stage personnel, drunk ne'er-do-wells. Yet all that matters is the sole reason these bands filled arenas in the first place: those incredible songs. -STONE

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