In 1981, MTV premiered as a new cutting edge cable channel featuring nothing but music news and music videos. Blue Oyster Cult’s “Burnin’ For You” was in heavy rotation, giving the Long Islanders a career rebirth of new fans and worldwide recognition. Two years later, The Tubes became another of MTV’s video Allstars with their 1983 release of Outside Inside and it’s video release, “She’s A Beauty.” Tonight both acts hit came to Minnesota, giving an energetic musical history lesson of the ’70s and ’80s to a forced-to-sit crowd at the Medina Entertainment Center. Class was in session as The Tubes started the night.
“Step right up and don’t be shyShe’s A Beauty The Tubes
Because you will not believe your eyes”
The Tubes kicked off the night in eccentric style as frontman Fee Willbay launched into “Talk to Ya Later,” off 1981’s The Completion Backward Principle, and immediately set the stage for their post-punk flamboyant musical stylings.
Sticking mostly with songs from The Completion Backward Principle, the artist that is Waybill continually added to the carriage as they soared through “Sushi Girl,” “Amnesia,” and “Mr. Hate” before launching into the Iggy Pop sounding “Attack Of The Fifty Foot Woman.” Though the years have not taken kindly to Waybill’s vocals, his attitude and ostentatious presentation of their music outweigh the damage inflicted to his vocal cords in their 47-year career.
After going through a phenomenal, crunchy sounding version of David Bowie’s “Suffragette City,” Willbay took the stage in 4 foot boots, and wig as his alter ego Quay-Lewd to perform the 1975′ hit “White Punks On Dope,” a song that highlights late ’70s San Francisco punk sound and its artistic difference between the New York Punk scene that was going on in the same era.
Finishing with the MTV hit “She’s A Beauty,” The Tubes gave the crowd more than they were expecting as they brought a show to highlight the music. Having listened to The Tubes and their music, yet never once seeing them perform live, I was taken back by the presence and the sound that influenced generations of what I would call Art-Rock-Punk style, which seized its origin in San Fransico and the west coast.
“Seasons don’t fear the Reaper, nor do the Sun, the Wind or the Rain.
We can be like they are.
Come on, baby, don’t fear the Reaper.”
― Blue Oyster Cult
Long Islanders Blue Oyster Cult took the stage with their melodic- psychedelic rock style opening with “Dr. Music,” before highlighting the always recognizable vocals of Buck Dharma in 1972’s “Before the Kiss, A Recap.” The Tubes played heavily on showmanship through their performance, but Blue Oyster Cult focused entirely on the music which was anticipatedly received by the filled room. Deemed America’s answer to Black Sabbath, BOC has influenced bands such as Metallica, Motley Crue, Pearl Jam, Marylin Manson, and Smashing Pumpkins, and highlights the technical use of guitars and hard hitting bass.
Their set was filled with the rock anthems, “Burnin’ For You,” “Godzilla,” and “Don’t Fear The Reaper,” which has made the cowbell a mandatory instrument, though songs such as “Golden Age of Leather” and “E.T.I. (Extra Terrestrial Intelligence)” displayed the technical ability of the band along with thought-out, poetic lyrics that showed how they pioneered the “progressive rock” genre and how they became labeled as “The thinking man’s band.”
Following the high energy of The Tubes, BOC almost seemed monotone at first, as both Eric Bloom and Buck looked to be fighting allergies, though it was the music which was delivered that those sitting in the packed ballroom had come to witness. The Medina Entertainment Center is a hard spot for rock and roll bands to play. The forced picnic bench style seating sets energetic artists up for failure as they can’t feed on the energy that a rock and roll crowd gives in response to the performance. Again, the technical ability of Blue Oyster Cult sets them apart from the musical genre from which they were born and separates them from the psychedelic bands of that era as their music continues to inspire the newest musicians of today’s generation. I am hoping they return to Minnesota in the future, yet would like to see them playing a venue which will support the response they deserve on stage.
Follow Richard Dollarhide @DollarhideOFL