CD Review of Some Enchanted Evening by Blue Öyster Cult

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Some Enchanted Evening
starstarstarstarhalf star Label: Columbia/Legacy
Released: 2007
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Believe it or not, there was a time, not long ago, when Blue Öyster Cult ruled the world of arena rock. They sold out huge stadiums. Their laser show was breathtaking (and potentially seizure-inducing). Cult and Black Sabbath joined together in 1980 to create the Black and Blue tour. Some Enchanted Evening is a live record that the band put out in 1978 documenting the power and efficiency of an excellent rock band. It seemed kind of a risky maneuver, considering they had released a double live album three years earlier with On Your Feet Or On Your Knees, but Evening remains the best-selling record in Cult’s history.

There is a rock and roll purity in this record. Cult sounds like an incredibly proficient dirty boogie/bar band on steroids. Cutting guitar riffs are never far removed from hooky choruses. The band could rock, but also could craft an incredibly catchy tune. The song that took them from hardworking opening act to stadium headliner, “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” is on this release, as is an absolutely brilliant cover of the Animal’s “We Gotta Get out of This Place” (there are actually two versions of the song on the re-release). “Astronomy” clocks in at 8:30 which perfectly builds from moody intro to blazing guitar jam. You kids out there may remember the song as covered by Metallica on Garage Inc. “5 Guitars,” an instrumental bonus track featuring a lot of wanking, is the weakest piece in the group, but a necessary ‘70s rock concert exercise. There is also a cover of Steppenwolf’s “Born to Be Wild” that gives it a shot of BÖC energy (but I would nominate “Born to Be Wild” as the most overrated, overplayed song in classic rock history, and if I never hear it again, I will be just fine). Other than those two little blemishes, the record is excellent and worth the purchase.

The Legacy edition expands the original vinyl version by adding seven bonus tracks and including a very cool, but semi-flawed, DVD of a concert from the same period. A 23-page insert is included featuring photographs from the show and an excellent essay from Lenny Kaye (yes, Patti Smith’s Lenny Kaye). Legacy really gets the reissue thing right, and Some Enchanted Evening was not only excellent when it came out on vinyl in 1978, but is enhanced in this re-release.

~R. David Smola