Two artists who came into prominence in different decades paired up for an intriguing double bill at Artpark Tuesday evening. Southern rockers 38 Special and Blue Öyster Cult both whom played separate shows at Artpark in 2011 teamed up to give the crowd a rock solid bill.
Surprisingly to many of the older fans in attendance BOC went on first. After absorbing the shock, the crowd settled in to enjoy a one hour set that was started off by “The Red And The Black” a track culled from the bands second album Tyranny and Mutation released in 1973.
The band still includes the two main members lead guitarist Donald “Buck Dharma” Roeser and lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Eric Bloom. Joining them as they did at their last appearance at Artpark were drummer Jules Radino and multi-instrumentalist Richie Castellano. Joining them on bass was Danny Miranda.
The band could have chosen to cut songs shorter to fit more in. For example during “Godzilla” it morphed into an elongated bass and drum solo which kind of took away from the overall power of the song. Something truly not needed considering the band only received an hour to play.
Don Barnes and 38 Special were up next. The band is currently touring without founding member and singer Donnie Van Zant. Van Zant has inner-ear nerve damage and will not be able to tour in the foreseeable future but remains as a writer and will perform on any future recordings. The one downside to the whole thing was the band did not mention this during the show.
The show must go on and that is what the bands other lead singer Don Barnes did. He took the ball, ran with it and in my opinion helped the band put on a better performance than they did in 2011. Barnes sings most of the band’s major hits and seemed more at home on stage than he did the last time the band played Artpark.
Kicking things off with the hard driving “Rockin’ Into The Night”, the band grabbed the audience’s attention right away. “Rough- Housin’” kept the onslaught going before the band played their Top 20 hit “Back Where You Belong”.
One cool part of the show was the medley the band played. They change it up time to time and started it off with a cover of Bad Company’s “Live For The Music” before heading into their own songs. Strangely enough the band’s highest charted song “Second Chance” was not sung by either Van Zant or Barnes. It was however, included in the medley with keyboardist Bobby Capps taking over the task of lead vocals.
Not only did Barnes seem to be more in charge of everything, his voice seemed to be stronger as he dished out such 38 Special classics “If I’d Been The One” and the song that closed the main set “Caught Up In You”.
Back for an encore that featured sound effects of thunder and flashing lightning for “Chain Lightning” was just a precursor of things to come. As soon as the band finished the show with “Hold On Loosely” and cover “Travelin’ Band” it started to rain.
Both bands seemed to be in that groove that sometimes is hard to find. Two years ago 38 Special and BOC put on good performances but on this night both bands seemed to be on top of their game which bodes well for their near future. Taking all that into account, with two name acts on the bill it was most surprising how this show did not sell out. I for one couldn’t think of a better thing to do on a wonderful summer day.
Rockin’ into the Night
Back Where You Belong
Wild-Eyed Southern Boys
Live For The Music/ Back to Paradise / Somebody Like You / Honky Tonk Dancer / Teacher Teacher / First Time Around / Second Chance / Like No Other Night
Last Thing I Ever Do
If I’d Been the One
Just Got Paid
Don Barnes Guitar Solo
Trooper With an Attitude
Gary Moffatt Drum Solo
Caught Up in You
Hold On Loosely
Travelin’ Band (cover)
Blue Öyster Cult
The Red & The Black
Golden Age Of Leather
Burnin’ For You
Then Came The Last Days Of May
(Don’t Fear) The Reaper
Special thanks to Maria Hays for setting us up to review the show!