Rock Will Never Die
Deep Purple was formed in 1968 and was considered one of the founders of Heavy Metal music. Edgar Winter began recording on his own in 1970. Blue Öyster Cult’s first album was released in January 1972.
Last night, all three bands performed at a concert in Connecticut and it just goes to show that rock will never die.
I knew Deep Purple from their FM-rock staples and Edgar Winter for his handful of hits but had never seen either live. Regular readers here know that BÖC’s Eric Bloom is my uncle so I’ve seen them repeatedly through the years.
Robbie and I went to see the concert last night and had a great time. Before the show, I took Robbie backstage (a first for him and he was grinning the whole time) and we visited with Eric for a bit. He introduced us to the band (only one of whom, Donald Roeser I had met previously and even then, the last time I saw him was 20+ years back). We talked about family stuff, my impending job hunt and the like. Their green room was fairly Spartan, everyone lounging, Donald warming with an acoustic guitar. A bag of chips and a package of cookies remained unwanted. He asked if we’d seen Edgar perform before and highly recommended it so we went back to our seats and watched.
Edgar Winter was playing with new guys but they were tight and clearly having fun. In fact, all night long, I realized all three bands were playing many of the same songs they first played over 35 years before and still made it look fresh. Rob was amazed by how much he recognized from Winter without realizing it was him. The highlight for me, though, was watching “Frankenstein” live. It’s a great instrumental but to see Edgar go from keyboards to sax to drums and back again, without skipping a beat, was pretty awesome.
Between sets, I ran into my cousin Rebecca, her husband Paul, and their 11-year old son Zach, attending his first concert. We played catch up and it was great being around family once more.
The BÖC was second billed and limited to a 45-minute set but their seven songs rocked the house. The band was loose, clearly having some fun as they mixed the obvious (“Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Godzilla,” and “Burning for You”) with other material from their deep catalogue. At one point Eric talked about traffic on I-95 and then surveyed the packed house about their baseball allegiances. While there was a smattering of applause for the Mets, it was clearly a Boston house. He didn’t care, he said, he was a Mets fan and they were still in first place. Overall, they filled the time pretty well and got everyone to their feet more than once. Donald (Buck Dharma) remains one of the most amazing and underrated guitarists I’ve ever seen.
The family all went backstage to see Eric before he skipped out to go home. He said it was a good show although it was tough to rev things up and then wind up in a mere 45 minutes. He was getting ready to go home so we made our farewells. Rebecca took the others home so Robbie and I settled in for Deep Purple.
While people loved seeing the opening acts, they were clearly there in large numbers for this legendary group. Like the BÖC, only two original members remain, singer Ian Gillan and drummer Ian Paice. Unlike the first two acts, they cranked up the volume and did a poor sound mix job so Gillan was incomprehensible. The lighting was superior, though. About half an hour into their set, Robbie decided he’d had enough, a decision I reached in half that time. It was too loud, we couldn’t get into the music and I found Gillan hard to watch. There was something about the way he handled himself on stage that made him look like an old guy trying to be young again and failing at being convincing. I heard one of their hits, I had seen enough. The audience, though, was eating it up and I was feeling old myself for walking out.
Still, I can now count having seen two more groups that were huge in my youth and these days, that’s pretty darn good.