Blue Öyster Cult 3/4/2022 at The Egg “Up Close and Personal”-By: Rob Smittix -Photography By: Ed Conway

Written by on March 7, 2022

I (Rob Smittix) had the opportunity few years back to meet and interview Buck Dharma at a local show in the Capital Region. Just a quick recap of that conversation, most of what we talked about was about the time Buck shared with my Uncle Skip who sang for Travesty the predecessor to Soft White Underbelly and what eventually became Blue Öyster Cult. I always heard stories from my Dad about those early days. Like the time Buck Dharma and my Uncle Skip painted the word LOVE on the roof of my grandparents house, so that the planes above could see it. My grandparents were not too pleased to say the least.

The next time I spoke to Buck Dharma was to inform him that my Uncle Skip had passed away. We had a nice phone chat that day and I was very appreciative that he took the time to speak with me about my uncle.

This is not your ordinary concert review because I now consider Buck Dharma a friend and the history he has with my uncle makes it more of a personal experience for me. I also don’t like to write the same ol’ write ups that you can read anywhere else. Of course the band was phenomenal, they’re Blue Öyster Cult.

The guitar that Buck Dharma was using for this show was brand new and it was the first time he ever played it, but it sounded as though he and the guitar had a long lasting relationship. Eric Bloom is forever entertaining especially when he came out dressed in the hooded garb for The Alchemist encore; the crowd went crazy. Richie Castellano (Guitar/Keys) is the real deal for sure, what a talented musician and I’d say he’s been a tremendous asset to the band for the last two decades. Danny Miranda on bass always puts a smile on my face, he’s been a part of the band on and off since the mid-nineties but I’m glad he has returned, he really adds to the stage presence of the group. Jules Radino has been playing drums with BÖC since 2004 and it’s quite obvious why he got the part, he’s an amazing percussionist. With all of that being said, I’ve included the setlist in the photo for all to see. It was a stellar night of music and if you missed out, do yourself a favor and make sure you don’t make that mistake again.

Now that the formal review is out of the way I’ll return to my personal experience once again. After the show I texted Buck Dharma “Great Show!” He replied “Meet me at The Hilton.” I arrived first and then the band showed up. I set next to Buck Dharma who was seated next to none other than Reeves Gabrels (David Bowie/The Cure) and we all just chatted for a few hours. It was beyond one of the coolest experiences of my life. They were talking shop and I’m a musician and all but it was probably equivalent to a tee ball player (me) sitting at the bar with The Yankees (them). But they treated me as an equal and I really felt blessed to have been invited to hang out. I didn’t want to ruin the night by doing an interview or snapping photos, I just took in the experience for what it was and I’ll never forget it.  I wore my Uncle Skip’s leather jacket that night so that he’d be there with me in spirit and I’m sure he was.

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