My 39th Anniversary

Albert Bouchard altbouch at GMAIL.COM
Sun Oct 7 09:32:54 EDT 2012

Wow. What a good intro to cities! I'd forgotten all about that one. Of course, that was back in the days when everybody hitched. From when I left home to when I got a car of my own, a period of almost 5 years, that was my main means of getting around. Cool. Thanks Chris.

On Oct 6, 2012, at 10:48 PM, Chris Baker wrote:

> We're within a month of the 40th Anniversary BOC show, and todays is the
> 39th anniversary of my exposure to the band.  Pasted below is what I posted
> on the AOL BOC board on the 25th anniversary.
> --------------------
> Subject: 25 years, 5/8 of my life
> Date: Tue, Oct 6, 1998 21:26 EDT
> From: Chris Baker
> I realized that today marks the 25th anniversary of the first live rock and
> roll I ever experienced, BOC at NYC's Academy of Music.  I walked in a fan
> of headliner Slade, largely on the basis of their live album; I had never
> heard a single BOC track.  The first thing I noticed upon entering was the
> number of people wearing BOC shirts, plus a lot of home-made Cult symbols on
> denim jackets, etc.  I hadn't given much thought to the openers before
> seeing all of this - I was dimly aware that they were on their home turf,
> but clearly the following they had was pretty fanatical; the Cult-identified
> audience members seemed pretty amped up.  (I remember a [Rolling Stone?]
> review of the band's New Year's show at this venue that likened the
> ticket-holders' line to kids who "looked like they just shot their way out
> of a concentration camp").
> Another phrase I recall from that piece:  the band opening their set "as
> though shot from a cannon". It's interesting to read reviews from that era
> and see writers struggling to come up with apt analogies for what in
> retrospect was clearly a premeditated, unprovoked and unprecedentedly
> vicious assault on the senses.  The band opened up with "The Red and the
> Black", although of course I didn't know its name (and certainly didn't
> glean it from the lyrics);  all I knew was that my ribs were vibrating like
> tuning forks in lockstep to some kind of hyperventilating
> boogie-riff-gone-psychotic and it felt as though I'd stuck my head into a
> windtunnel during a test of a prototype multipercussive jet engine.
> Evil?  This was beyond evil; this was distilled essence of metallic
> propulsion, jacked to the maximum, shorn of all sentiment, emotion, or
> reason, and delivered in interlocking / overlapping jackhammer tempos that
> imploded on themselves in a shrieking black maelstrom of corrosive rage and
> inhuman ferocity.  This ex-altar boy had been waiting all his life for
> something that sounded like this, and just hadn't known it!
> All the clothes and instruments were black and white, it was as though the
> unholy wedding of velocity and earshredding volume washing offstage had
> sucked the optical spectrum dry, bled it of color╔  Everyone was in leather
> except the guitarist, who just stood there, eyes focused out beyond the
> lighting rigs on...Mars?  Saturn?  Who knew?  But from the absurdly fast
> clip at which his hands and fingers moved, it was clear that he had at least
> temporarily given over control of his human husk to some advanced and
> sonically-hostile lifeform.
> Bolle Gregmar claims that this show provided the line about the whip that
> ended up on On Your Feet... I don't think he's correct, I don't believe that
> the band was recording for that album 18 months before its release.  They
> played this same venue almost exactly a year later, which I find more
> likely.  However I do remember Albert Bouchard's rap from behind the drum
> kit at one point:
> "So I'm driving along and I pick up this guy hitch-hiking...he sees the BOC
> sign on the dashboard and he says "Hey man, are you into the Cult?".  I
> said, "I'm not just into them, man, I'm in them...I'm the drummer!"  He
> says, "Far out, man!" ...   Then I asked him "So how does our music make you
> feel?  Does it make you feel good?...Or does it make you feel bad?"
> He thinks a minute and says, "Well, it don't make me feel good ...
> but then again, it don't make me feel bad...
> You know how it makes me feel?
> makes me feel...(strange chuckle)
> makes me feel....(ominous low laugh)
> makes me feel...(certifiably insane cackle)
> And that's my introduction to "Cities on Flame".
> I can no longer remember how many days it took before the ringing left my
> was more than a couple, though, and I'd bought "Tyranny and
> Mutation" before they cleared up completely.  And I managed to get to
> another three shows in the six months after this. I remember there was
> always one thing I told people about the band's performances:  "they don't
> make any mistakes".  Which wasn't true, of course, but the point is that I
> believed it was:  such was the brutal efficiency of the bandss presentation
> and the high-wire audacity of their split-second sonic changeups.
> Thanks to all the current and past band members, who are responsible for a
> slew of the best live performances and studio recordings I have ever heard;
> and to all the other fans who have shared my enthusiasm over the years.  I
> promise to write something shorter in 2023 :-)
> -Chris Baker
> --------------------
> Two contemporary comments about my reaction to this show: hard to stress
> enough how shocked I was at the volume, which seemed like a physical force;
> I distinctly remember thinking "is it LEGAL to play this loud at an
> audience?".  Of course a lot of that was never having seen a band live - but
> I think BOC were unusually extreme. I felt like I could hear everything,
> though, which hasn't been the case with frustratingly poor sound at a lot of
> shows over the years.
> The other was my friend and I talking about how the band didn't seem to have
> a "leader" - Eric and Buck were obvious focal points, but Albert was too,
> doing a lot of scene-stealing stuff behind the drum kit (sending sticks
> repeatedly flying high into the air, etc.)
> Seeing the band four months later - as they previewed "Secret Treaties"
> tunes on a bill with a self-immolating Iggy and the Stooges, and the
> Dictators in their second professional show - was the greatest night of rock
> and roll I've ever experienced.  But this show was a close second.
> -Chris

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