The Blue Oyster Cult began its version of "Joan Crawford (Has Risen From the Grave)" at the Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night with a bit of mock gothic piano and moved on to lyrics about girls chaining themselves to Mack trucks. For the conclusion, dry-ice smoke poured onto the stage from some unseen crypt and completely obscured the band. Donald Roeser stepped through the fog like a spectral figure and turned up his "Night of the Living Dead" guitar solo.
Some people take the Blue Oyster Cult seriously--just as some take the film "Mommie Dearest" seriously--but they're not the ones who enjoy it the most. Last night, the group fused the trashy pop forms of drive-in movies and heavy metal into the year's funniest rock show.
Lead singer Eric Bloom told the crowd the band had to get an emergency visa for the special guest vocalist from Japan. The back curtains parted and there he was: Godzilla, a smoke-belching, jaw-snapping green lizard towering over the band. The Long Island quintet played "Godzilla" with an appropriately thundering heavy-metal assault and just enough tongue-in-cheek humor.
For the improved remake of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild," Bloom rode the biggest, shiniest Harley-Davidson you ever saw onto the stage. The band's FM radio classic, "(Don't Fear) the Reaper," still boasted an irresistibly ringing guitar riff. When the songs got too serious or too normal the band dragged, but Blue Oyster Cult is to rock 'n' roll what Roger Corman is to film. The band members often mock themselves with knowing irony. During "Cities in Flames (With Rock 'n' Roll)," Roeser clearly winked at the audience.