Canyon Dinner Theater; Agoura, CA, 02/14/03

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Any chance I get to go see the legendary Blue Oyster Cult live, I'll take it. The band has long been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember and they are absolutely incredible live. As I said, I'll go see BOC every chance I get and the chance came up again on Valentine's Day, 2003. So, after reluctantly swallowing an insane 40% "service fee" from our "friends" at Ticketmaster, I got my tickets and headed up to Agoura.

I'd never been to the Canyon Dinner Theater in Agoura before, so give me a moment to describe it. As you might guess, the Canyon Dinner Theater serves dinner and, in fact, you have to purchase a full dinner in order to get preferred seating. Preferred seating is at a table, strategically placed for best view of the stage, with a full service waiter tending to your every need. Although I went for the standard general admission ticket instead, I'll probably try the full dinner offering during one of my future visits to the Canyon; the food looked great - expensive, but great. And, speaking of expensive, the drinks weren't cheap either.

Most of the tickets for the Canyon are general admission tickets, or "standing room only." SRO is kind of a misnomer here because there are plenty of couches and chairs to be found. On the left side of the stage are several rows of card table-type chairs. They're not the most comfortable but they're fairly close to the stage. Of course, unlike the "preferred seating," general admission doesn't have a straight-on view of the stage. Still, the angle wasn't too bad and, as I mentioned, you're pretty close.

Bottom line: I'll visit the Canyon Dinner Theater again.

Although our tickets said the show started at 9:00 PM, when we arrived at about 8:35 PM, opening act Forty Foot Echo were already on the stage. Forty Foot Echo, on Hollywood Records, plays intense rock that brings to mind Creed and other bands of that ilk with a little more punch. The musicians were very talented and we were impressed from their powerful onstage presentation. They sounded great and they held our attention throughout the remainder of their set. Particularly powerful and heavy was their cover of a Flock of Seagulls song. When the band was finished, they received resounding applause from the obviously pleased audience. That's when the announcement was made that that evening was the band's first-ever live show. We never would have guessed. They played like veterans and their music was incredible. You'll be hearing more about this awesome band.

Blue Oyster Cult hit the stage a short while later and immediately had the audience in their control. However, since they are  presumably touring in support of their new CD and DVD, "A Long Day's Night," the focus this evening was on the more obscure BOC songs. For the first part of their performance, BOC stuck to the rarer gems: "Perfect Water" and "Dance on Stilts" come immediately to mind. Others ... well ... don't. The group of us that went to the show that evening have all been BOC fans for nearly 20 years but we had to admit that some of the songs were unfamiliar even to us. We know that we've heard them in the past, but they have apparently faded away from our memories. Hey, if nothing else, it gives us a chance to dig out those old BOC discs and give them another spin.

Again, like the CD version of their latest tour, this didn't make for a bad evening by any means. It was just a little weird listening to songs you barely knew from a band you've known forever for the first hour of the performance.

Of course, the fact that the first hour was rare, obscure stuff meant that the second part of the show would be filled with classics and, I have to tell you, "Don't Fear the Reaper," "Godzilla" (with its extended solos) and "Burning For You" have never sounded better. In fact, "Don't Fear the Reaper" was so incredible and energetic that it was easily the evening's highlight. That, and the encore of "Black Blade" which, to put it plain and simply, kicked ass. The crowd was literally on their feet during each.

As I said at the beginning of this review, I'll never turn down a chance to see Blue Oyster Cult and, as far as I can see, that will never change.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:17 -0400.