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The old south barn, until sunset; that'll rest the horses, the which will do them hairm. The barn had been one of the outbuildings of Wavendon Manor; the rather undistinguished manor house itself had burned not long after the Change.

The floor below was loose-box stabling, now holding their mounts, and an open space where lay a horse-powered threshing machine-remade to ancient patterns since the Change-disassembled for maintenance after the recently completed harvest. Chickens and turkeys wandered in to peck at odd grains on the floor; families of swallows flitted through the openings under the eaves, to and from their mud-built nests.

The second floor held mountains of loose hay over rafters and an open slatwork of boards, and the fugitives had bedded down in the middle of it, invisible unless someone climbed up the ladder and poked around with considerable determination.

The hay made a deep soft bed, sweet-smelling with clover, wellcured and hardly prickly at all; the loft was dark and warm, with slits of hot light moving through the gloom. From where he'd set his horse blanket he could see out between the boards towards the farmyard, and with only a little movement over the edge of the hay down into the ground floor.

Sir Nigel long ago acquired the soldier's ability to sleep whenever he had the opportunity, in circumstances far less comfortable than this. When he awoke it was an hour past noon, and his hand was already on the wire-andleatherwrapped hilt of his sword as he sat up. The bright metal came free of the sheath with a hiss of steel on wood and leather greased with graphite and neat'sfoot oil.

Alleyne was already awake and armed. The bleak lines newly graven in his son's face made Nigel wince slightly; losing one's mother was hard enough in the natural run of things Hordle woke on his own a moment later, his soft rasping snore cutting off instantly as he reached for the great hand-and-a-half blade that lay beside him. Nigel looked through the fringe of hay. A girl was climbing the ladder with a large basket over one arm. She was the one he'd seen feeding the poultry, and was rather obviously the farmer's daughter, with skin the color of milky tea and dark hair that tumbled in loose curls beneath a kerchief.

The eight-year-olds head came over the edge of the piled hay as she climbed the ladder and stepped off onto the lath flooring of the loft. The solemn eyes went a little wider as she saw the three longswords in the hands of the men who crouched there, and she gave a little eek! Then she smiled in delight as they slid the blades back into their sheaths, obviously entranced with the secret importance of it all.

Me mum said I should stay and bring back the basket when you're finished. Well, Archie MacDonald's been talking, Nigel thought, smiling. I hope she doesn't expect me to wear a dress as a disguise. Her accent was a curious mix of Caribbean and broad Yorkshire, at a guess her mother had been born in Leeds or Bradford, from generations of factory workers. And there was something else there as well, a singsong lilt Nigel had noticed among many of the youngest post-Change generation, doubtless the product of the mixing-pot southern England had become.

He rose and then went down on one knee to take the wicker basket with its checked cloth cover. Probably named after St. Diana, Nigel thought, amused; the king's first wife had grown still more popular in retrospect. Of course, compared to Camilla, and still more to Queen Hallgerda The girl's wondering eyes went from his lined and weathered face to Alleyne's blond, fine-featured handsomeness to Hordle's great red ham of a countenance.

Still, I suppose its impossible to keep secrets in a place like this-trying would simply make everyone curious. Nigel's eyebrows went up. Hordle snorted, and whispered sotto voce.

Nigel frowned at him and spoke gravely: Hordle gave a shout of laughter, strangled off into a snort, and Alleyne chuckled despite himself.

Nigel forbore comment; as far as he'd been able to tell Queen Hallgerda was wicked, if being ruthlessly ambitious and power hungry counted-and unlike some, he didn't think her admittedly rather stunning looks and undoubted charm made up for it. Doubtless if she'd stayed a junior clerical employee at a fish-processing plant on Heimaey off Iceland's west coast it wouldn't have mattered much.

With a kingdom to play for, it became a matter of life and death. Maude's death, he thought grimly, and then schooled his features before the child was frightened. Dealing with our dear queen is the only thing that might tempt me stay It moost be beeHer eyes were wide at the thought of the metropolis. Nigel smiled; Win chester was the capital these days, and had all of ten thousand people yearround, the largest city in the British Isles after Cork.

That was just enough to keep the eighteenth-century core of the cathedral town from falling completely to ruin. To this child and her generation, whose horizons were bound by the farm and the enclosing wilderness and the little hamlet of Wavendon to the west where she went to church on Sundays and school in the winter months, Winchester was what London had been to him.

Only far more distant and unobtainable-a trip there a wistful daydream rather than an hour or two on a train or in a car. Another solemn nod, then she looked at him more closely, and at Alleyne. You're too old, and you're going bald. You look like a daddy.

He"-she pointed at the younger Loring"He looks like a real hero. Right dreamy, he is. Nigel laughed outright at that, and Hordle turned redder than ever as he suppressed a bellow of mirth.

The younger Loring brushed hay from his tousled yellow hair and smoothed his mustache in furtive embarrassment. The basket contained a pair of farm-style loaves, stone-ground whole meal baked that morning and still a little warm, butter out of the churn, two roasted chickens, their skins golden brown and crisp, potatoes done in their skins and a salad of fresh greens and tomatoes, a seasonal delicacy nowadays.

Diana Bramble said a brief grace; John Hordle converted his reach for a leg into a vague gesture and clasped his hands as she spoke, then compensated by spinning lurid tales of Alleyne Loring's heroism-mostly true, if highly colored-until Diana gazed at the young man with a worshipfulness that doubtless made him hideously self-conscious. They finished with cheese-and-apple tarts and clotted cream; then the girl packed the plates and cutlery back in the basket with care and went to the ladder.

We always wished we'd had a daughter as well, he thought, and sighed slightly. Alleyne snorted and they settled down again, but it was he who first lifted his head a few minutes later. Young ears, his father thought, and said aloud: Tension crackled through the loft.

They looked at each other and began Preparing with silent speed, the two Lorings helping each other into their complex harness as Hordle pulled on his padded tunic and the chain shirt over it.

The great muscles in his arms coiled and bunched as he strung his longbow, and then he slipped the leather-and-steel guards on his forearms and counted the arrows in his quiver.

They left the helmets for last; it would take only a few seconds, and they needed every fraction of sight and hearing to avoid having to use the gear at all. The other men both nodded. By then the hooves were clear to the older man as well, a dull hollow clopping on the dirt and broken pavement of the A Alleyne wormed through the hay to put his eye to a knothole, moving cautiously to spare the laths under them-there were sixty pounds of steel on him now, in addition to his own whipcord hundred seventy-five.

That meant mounted infantry archers, like the bulk of the regular army, equipped as Hordle was. Six made a section, the smallest unit; adding two mounted men-at-arms made it a lance. Nigel caught sight of them an instant later, jogging their mounts up the Janeway, turning east at the dogleg that led past the pond and barns.

A woman was there, the farmer's wife, a solid figure with a long rake in her hands and her brown hair done up in a bun under a wide-brimmed straw hat-real wheat straw, with a frayed edge.

She turned for an instant and shouted in purest West Riding, confirming Nigel's guess: Roon and fetch yer dad! There's flax in t'pond, we just put it in ter ret and it's reet mucky, ba 'eck. Cum on oop ' t'ouse and use trough in t'yard instead, t'gate's open. There's soom apple tarts left over from dinner, if ye'd laak, and a jug of cold cider too, 'appen.

That brought delighted smiles to the fresh-faced young men; one thing that hadn't changed was that army field rations were fit to gag a stoat. Nigel Loring realized with a start that only the section leader had been old enough to shave when the Change came-in fact, it looked as if most of them hadn't had their voices break by that day eight and a half years ago.

They seemed younger than their years to him as well, despite the weather-beaten skins of outdoorsmen. Bramble," the section leader said. His patrol were all dust caked, with sweat runnels through the brown dirt on their faces, and their horses looked worn as well; the mounts wore leather barding on their chests and leather socks strapped to their fetlocks, but they'd still suffered the odd scratch.

Nigel was close enough to hear him well. The accent was Scots, but not the gentle lilt of a Highlander; he'd pronounced theght in "thought" with an almost guttural sound, not a simple hard T, and "night" as ni'cht. An Orkneyman, at a guess, and from somewhere remote like Westray at that, with bright blue eyes and a close-cropped black beard that had the white line of a scar through it. There was a corporal's chevron riveted to the sleeve of his mail shirt. The men took off their helmets at his waving gesture and swung down, leading the beasts over to the metal trough, joking with three girls only a bit younger than themselves who came out of the farmhouse kitchen bearing the promised food and drink.

One Junoesque blonde had a tray of mugs and a stoppered jug, and two freckled redheads carried heaped plates of tarts. The men obeyed, most dumping a helmetful over their heads as well. We've work taste do and it's eight hours before sunset. Nigel found himself nodding in approval as the patrol watered their horses and applied salve to their hides; the men hadn't even had to be told to see to their mounts before themselves, and their equipment was as neat as you could expect when working this overgrown country-the green-enameled metal of the mail shirts gleamed with a thin film of oil, and the fletchings on the arrows that jutted over each man's right shoulder were tight and even.

There was a charge he recognized on the bucklers slung from their belts, too: Tony Knolles's men, Nigel Loring thought. The family was distantly related to his. Oh, bugger, as Hordle would put it. He'd worked with Knolles before the Change, mostly counterterrorist work in south Ulster in the s, and since the Change as well; the last he'd heard of him was that he commanded a company of the Guard working out of the forward base at Stowe.

If he'd heard news of the escape he would have moved quickly and decisively-efficiently to boot. He's entirely too competent. So is this corporal, on a smaller scale. And Knolles isn't nearly so disenchanted with the king as I, either. The rest of the farm's folk came up as the soldiers rested and ate and sipped appreciatively at their cider. That was natural enough as well, a visit being a change in the routine, but it put his teeth on edge-the more who spoke, the more chance of someone letting an unguarded word slip.

He slapped the corporal on the shoulder.

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And it fucking blows. As Juliet wraps up her number, Katya scans the club for any sign of Trixie and finds none. So, he sidles up to the bar and lights up a cigarette. A popular one, too. Katya yawns again, pulling his eyebrows with two fingers. Cranberry juice if you got it. A few stools down, an old slouch gives Katya a once-over, snorting at the pussy drink in his hand, as if to say: With nothing to say, the slouch hunches his shoulders and looks back into his drink.

Giggling, Sapphire leans in. I can get him to put in a good word for you guys. During their heyday, Trixie and Katya ran a few jobs for those goons.

And how serious they were about upholding their impartiality. They were Mercenaries for Hire. They were Hitman Hookers. Loyal only to each other, beholden to nothing but the great American dollah. But The Squirrelfriends started ordering hits on them when they began working with their competitors. Long story short, The Squirrelfriends and their unending stream of rancid hypocritical bullshit drove Trixie and Katya out of business and underground. Reduced them to this.

They went from career criminals, from two of the baddest bitches in herstory, to a couple of nelly queens with barely a pot to piss in. Any of that good stuff. I promised him and all of that. To find any way back in. He wants to play the game. He wants it right now more than anything. And Sapphire sees right through it. Smirking, the brunette leans in close again. She smells like marshmallow body lotion and her eyes are glassy, the mirror-balls reflecting through the pink of her waterline.

Trixie shuffles over, toting his make-up case, glancing between them with a look of mild confusion. It burns like a fresh brand. Standing all-too-quickly, Katya almost catches his ankle in the rung of the stool and stumbles a little. To the casual observer, Trixie would look a little ridiculous. And Katya can hear his voice break a little, can hear an uncomfortable ounce of insecurity that makes him feel like a five-alarm piece of shit.

A Ring of Solomon, which is supposed to be good luck. Maybe I can cash in real soon and get us that extra cup of guac at Taco Bomb. A lifetime of the hustle and grind can do that for a girl: But Katya always seems to bungle it with Trixie. Because he hates lying to Trixie. Avoids it at all costs. And Trixie knows that. Trixie usually calls him out on it, holds him accountable, holds him to a higher standard than anyone ever has and probably ever will.

On the ride home, Trixie slumps into the passenger seat. He picks at the stuffing spilling through a patch of duct-tape and rests his head against the window.

Each exhale of breath fogs up the glass. Katya peers over the steering wheel to watch lavender forks of heat lightning flash across the sky and follows the puffy orange street lights lacing the roads, guiding them home. Their shitty studio apartment teeters on top of the Smoke on the Water dispensary down on the Vespucci strip. It always stinks of sea-salt and fresh-cut bud but Katya loves Vespucci Beach: Its colorful frenetic energy.

Even over at the Pleasure Pier. The two of them shuffle up the wooden scaffolding. The stairs creak with each conjoined step.

They hang over each other like two drunk, codependent marionettes made of driftwood. As Katya fumbles with the key to their door, Trixie presses a sleepy kiss under his ear. The contact makes him shiver a little.

The motivation is just not there. Trixie shucks off his clothes and collapses onto their dumpy bed. When Katya does the same, Trixie wraps his arms and legs around him and draws him close. Trixie says he likes being the big spoon because it keeps Katya from flailing around at night, because he likes his heat.

The sea breeze rustles the blinds overhead and the sound of the water is a hush of white noise. The palms whisper while distant police sirens move in and move out, like a different kind of tide. I know you hate this. Katya stares into the dark of their apartment for a long time, until his eyes adjust to the low light, to all the depressing little details of their day-to-day existence.

The water-stain on the far wall that looks like Mutant Jesus. The hot-iron mark seared into the carpeting. Katya wakes up alone, sprawled on top of rumpled sheets. His chin rests in a wet spot of drool. Groaning into the mattress, Katya sits up bleary-eyed, his bedraggled blonde hair swooped upward. Maybe not in that order, maybe all at once. Outside, the gulls are squawking and skateboards rasp and clack against the pavement.

With an hour until the beginning of his shift, Katya knows he needs to get up now. The same routine as yesterday and the day before and the day before that Then, he sees it. In the far corner, the burring desk fan bumps up against the wall, unable to finish a full rotation. Trixie must have knocked it on his way out. Over and over and over—it bumps into the wall. Doomed until somebody deigns to right it.

From the bed, Katya stares at the fan long and hard as something heavy builds in the pit of his stomach, like a black pearl. Smashing one of the pillows, Katya hurls it at the fan to put it out of its misery. It clatters to the floor, all bent out of shape, and Katya decides then and there to blow off work. The vibrators and cock-rings will have to go on without him. With a pair of shades and a lopsided baseball hat, Katya ventures out into the sunny unknown—a new woman with a new lease on life—and treats himself to a huge cold brew and a lazy morning cigarette.

Savors it like a fucking continental breakfast as he strolls down the boardwalk to one of those shady tourist-trap dollar emporiums. He lays down a few fivers for a burner phone. Been awhile since he needed one of those. Trixie talked about kids, once—got all wistful and sentimental—and Katya just laughed and laughed and laughed. Katya brayed like a goddamn hyena, right in his face, and Trixie got quiet and looked away and never brought it up again.

Up to this day, this hour, this microscopic moment in time, Katya still feels bad about it. And maybe, Katya could get into that gig. Give it a fair shot. It would be nice to have little cottage up North with enough space to spin. On a whim, Katya buys a ticket for the Wonder Wheel. He stands in line behind a gaggle of eight- year-olds noshing on cotton candy.

After the kids pile on, the pizza-faced attendant gives Katya a once-over and blows hair out of his eyes. Giving the kid a thumbs-up, Katya lights another cigarette. The teenager rolls his eyes and then pulls the lever. Dangling a hundred feet over the Pacific. Listening to disastrous calliope music. It really puts things in perspective. Staring down at the numbers smudged across his palm, Katya takes a calming breath, reminds himself that this is scouting. Putting the feelers out there.

Shouting into the void. Between his lips, the cigarette bounces nervously as the phone rings, rings, rings. The cart halts at the top of the wheel, swinging a little. The sun glints off the ocean below and Katya stares at it, sucking in a shuddering lungful of tobacco as the ringing stops and the receiver clicks.

How may I direct your call? A familiar nasal voice drawls over the line—bored and irascible—and Katya practically shrieks with delight. Flinging his cigarette, Katya cackles. Instantly, his nerves have dissolved and he kicks up his legs, swinging the cart back and forth. How the fuck are you? Knows to listen through the gunfire for the moment that Katya runs out of bullets because Katya never packs enough ammo so he can toss him a spare magazine. All of that knowing. The options are limited: That Katya wants more and needs more.

In his hand, the tower of strawberry ice cream slowly collapses on itself. Katya stares out at the stretch of ocean beyond the cliff, working his vanilla soft serve into a smooth nub. Katya has good bones. Especially for a maniac with a heart of gold. All of this sorta reminds Trixie of the night they met—facing each other, sharing junk food, both of them quiet, the atmosphere thick. Squaring his shoulders, Trixie steels for impact.

It comes out sounding a lot more combative than Trixie intended, but it gets the job done. Katya blinks and then sighs, his shoulders deflating. Warm, dry fingers touch down on the top of his fist. Why would you think that? Did you want to think that? If we are at a point where you are trying to be romantic….

Biting into his cone, Katya props his elbows on the table and munches away with a mouth half-open. I could woo you. I could you woo the shit out of you. I like scented candles. And when was the last time they had any kind of fun together? Brash and overt and physical. Take me home, already, you idiot. A big sultry whine for an afternoon delight. Katya angles his head, staring at him unblinking until Trixie realizes he wants some kind of verbal confirmation. Gotta keep those expectations grounded in reality, Linda.

Maybe Detox and Raven are getting bored, feeling petty, sending out the Squirrelfriend squadrons again. Maybe he wants to like When they went underground, they cut all ties. Better for everybody that way. Ginger will always be Ginger. We can get even.

And a real pay-out. Like we used to, bitch! Do you have an actual deathwish? We were hunted into obscurity. And come out alive? Not everybody has your fucked-up luck.

Deflated, Katya looks away, crunching into the cone to punctuate his frustration. As Katya looks over the highway, Trixie can see the cogs turning: Most of the time, Trixie loves that about him, loves making Katya really work for what he wants.

When Katya laughs, evaporating the tension, Trixie feels a little bit better about dashing his dreams of a comeback. Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, thank you very much, I did go to community college. They lapse into silence, eating their ice cream as the swollen sun hangs over the horizon like an overripe peach. They used to be a big fucking deal. A force of nature. Us against the world. Being shot on sight.

Being jumped, poisoned, shanked. Paranoid at every dark corner, sick to his stomach whenever Katya snuck out to the hour Binco for a pack of cigarettes. For a little while, Katya became an actual insomniac, his hand trembling on a gat beneath the pillow, staring at the door of their apartment, at its chintzy little lock, while Trixie pretended to sleep.

With every lull of conversation, Trixie waits for Katya to take advantage of the silence, to say something, to press. But he says nothing. Or doodles obscene characters on the tablecloth with a blunt Sharpie. Or stretches his toes to push in a cracked VHS of some shmaltzy science fiction feature that he knows by heart.

He acts completely indifferent. A comeback, a pay-off, a grand finale In the backroom of Suburban, while he stabs at the frozen islands of his shitty microwave lunch, Trixie fantasizes about being Battlefield Barbie again, raising hell in all her bombastic glory. He tosses back jagerbombs, watching the neon fan flutter across body glitter and the dark, tobacco-stained walls; and while Sapphire twirls around the pole, Trixie thinks of buckshot and dynamite and concussive sparks, turbo tuning and black smoke.

Trixie never wanted a life of anonymity. Or to have the best years of his life behind him. For a backwoods black-eyed runaway, becoming an outlaw is the closest thing to becoming a legend. He loves doing something , being somebody. With Katya, he was part of something twisted and special and unstoppable. They were The Dynamic Duo. Sitting on the bed, Trixie works on his old rosewood Gibson from stock to bridge. A smokescreen, really, as he watches Katya read some fantasy paperback at the kitchen table.

With his bare foot propped up and a cigarette hanging from his lips, Katya tips back on the chair, holding the book in one hand and playing with a butterfly knife in the other. The knife flutters through his fingers, tossing sunlight across the walls.

His foot bobs to the beat of the reggae bumping in the dispensary below. The pretty blade twirls around his fingers like a ribbon, clicking and snapping. He turns the page of the book with the flick of a thumb.

The knife snaps closed and the chair clunks down on all four feet. For a minute, Katya just looks dumbstruck. Katya grits his teeth, all triumphant. Oh, I love you, you fucking Katya pounces onto the bed with such glee that Trixie feels infused with it. Trixie can taste the sharp tang of tobacco and he breathes it in. He remembers one night, not too long ago, when Katya reached out for him in the dark and Trixie nudged him away.

Katya got up and padded toward the bathroom and Trixie winced at the blinding white light, flinched at the way Katya shut the door behind him. Between Katya being bored and Katya being sprung. Always has been, always will be. These kisses right now are everything. These small, stupid, grateful kisses feel like coming home.

Pull him down, roll around, and get fucked. Impatient, Trixie scoffs, clapping a hand around the back of his neck, pulling him forward. Finally, with a big wolfish grin, Katya crawls on top of him.

They paw at each other underneath the open window, where the sea breeze cools virgin sweat. It feels just like that. Fabric catches on ears and toes. And Trixie grabs at his thigh, the slap of skin making his nerves sharp and needy and aching, and he just wants to suck him off. Hear it and feel it and swallow it. And thank God, Trixie anticipated something like this. Hoped for it, at least.

Trixie bucks into the mattress, unable to focus as his fingers scrabble against the drawer. All night, if you indulge him. I love the slow burn. Already, that sweet pressure is building at the base of his spine. He chucks the bottle of lube over his shoulder. Smiling, Trixie reaches back and kisses him softly, pulling Katya close again.

Whining, Trixie lurches forward, eyes fluttering. It feels so good for being so simple. Just a helping hand. And that makes all the difference in the world. He ruts against him. Trixie hears a plastic snap and then the slurp of cheap lube. Biting the inside of his cheek, Trixie whimpers when Katya finally surges into him.

Moaning loud and low against back as he begins fucking him hard. Like they both want. Trixie grips the headboard, keening at the slap of skin, working against him and wanting more than anything to feel Katya lose it. His head is light, his groans strangled. Erratic thrusts, toothy kisses, furious hands They just smile at each other, eyes already heavy and warm.

He sinks into the mattress and closes his eyes. He feels right where he needs to be. And more than ever, Trixie feels the other side of the coin: The two imaginary girls lurking beneath their bed, stirring back to life. Fridged but not forgotten. And now, those ballistic blonde boogeywomen are back. When his hand falls off the mattress, dangling there, Trixie imagines his devil debutante reaching out for it.

Is it a clumsy faux-pas to include a few flashback chapters at this point in the story? Trixie never could have anticipated that the course of his entire life would be set into motion in the backroom of a rundown chopshop in Hackenslash, New Jersey.

And Trixie might have never worked up the nerve to stand up to Dear Old Dad and hightail it out of Wisconsin—laughing with a mouth of blood, a purple shiner, and a loaded. Every day, he balances the legitimate with the illegitimate, the risk with the reward. Every day is new. And on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-April, Trixie wrings his grease-graffitied hands in front of his employer of only six months and risks his job to ask the world of him. He sits back, kicking his heels on a desk littered in phony pink slips and tattered invoices.

Pursing his lips, Coulee rises from his chair and shuts the office door, muffling the persistent clunk and clang of the garage. Teets has an effortless kind of cool: His eyes sear into Trixie like two spotlights. According to Kim, Assky used to have connections with the Russian mob. Her family helped finance the garage and her contacts brought a lot of business before the bosses got busted and the whole operation went belly-up.

The Hauses, as they were now, started grabbing turf and filling the power vacuum left behind by the Rascalov Mafiya. Somewhere along the line, the annual drag race circuit started as a sundown ceasefire for the rival gangs, the only night of the year that the bosses could parlay on neutral ground. You wanna make a name for yourself? Or see the real money? Placing in the drag race is the best place to start. Not for that beast. Well, there goes that dream, Trixie thinks. This is the time.

This is the race. He can feel it. Coulee cradles his chin and thens sighs. But listen, you wanna eat? Then you better bring me an extra delivery for every day you waste time on that thing. We got a deal?

Using a Vapid Dominator as the external frame, they spend weeks suiting the car with a racing chassis, EMS upgrades to the V8, sport suspension, LozspeedTen wheels, and a metallic Pfister Pink finish. Worth bleeding all his money. The night of the race, Kim insists on going with him. Under the blue lights of the dashboard, he sees purple knuckles and blood-blistered nails drumming against the steering wheel. When they cross the bridge into Bohan, Kim twists the volume to zero.

The leather upholstery creaks as she sits upright. On high alert, Trixie scans the streets as they venture further into the borough, toward territory that Kim refers to as The Crowne. Trixie watches for every-and-anything.

Rotted infrastructure, a bayside industrial park, and minimal oversight by law enforcement. A darkened cop car sits beneath the flickering fluorescent lights of a streetside gas station.

From inside the cab, a beefy officer stares at them, slurping on a 64 oz. Sludgie while his Doberman flashes its sharp white teeth in the passenger seat. And they both should be: As they near the start point, Trixie slows the car to a crawl. The Interior Illusions Lounge is a full-service dollar-theatre sitting on the corner of Crowne and Tudor.

Mobs of street soldiers and spectators shuffle toward the blinking pink sign. From down the street, Trixie can feel the deep thrumming bass of competing boomboxes. Kim pops the glovebox, retrieving the envelope with the buy-in: Smacking on a piece of gum, the girl counts it out. Her eyes are a little vacant when she smiles and nods. So, like, welcome to the seventh circuit, motherfuckas. Then down Union, Nayle, and Tudor. First prize gets ten grand and whatever With a charming smile, she pulls away and gives the hard-top an affectionate slap.

The lot is teeming with people. His car draws onlookers. The drag race is just an underbelly Christmas Party: A chorus of pure horsepower rumbles up the street as a motorcycle club in full regalia pulls into the lot.

Though the rest of the HHMC filters inside the strip club, their leader stays behind. Lighting a cigarette, he kicks his studded leather boots against the curb. His fringed vest hangs off his frame like shreds of elk velvet. A slender figure with long dark hair lounges against the hood of an impressive black Verlierer. The streetlight overhead glows on them like this whole race is just an elaborate excuse for a fashion shoot. Pearl blinks slowly, her eyes low and sultry.

Her septum glimmers as she turns her head and blows out a plume of smoke. And then he hopped into bed with Chachki. With a wry smirk, Zamolodchikov leans down and says something to Chachki that makes the boss break character and laugh, loud and low.

Suddenly, a girl cuts across the parking lot as fast as her heels can carry her. Unfazed, Chachki returns to moonbathing. They both start shouting, gesturing at each other while Zamo plants himself between them and listens.

He lights a cigarette, takes one puff, and hands it to the hooker as she and and the trick begin hurling accusations at each other. After ashing the cigarette, the hooker nibbles at her nails.

She flicks him off, biting back with something that makes him even angrier; and then, without another word, Zamo taps her thigh with the back of his hand. Immediately, she widens her legs and Zamo snakes a hand under her skirt. Trixie grimaces as Zamo inspects his wet fingers, scissoring them a bit, sniffing at them. Then, he turns back to the john without that easy million-dollar smile, and gestures for payment with the same dirty hand.

This time, the john digs in his pocket for the money and beats a fast retreat. This is when Trixie suspects the girl will get a sharp reprimand and Zamo will take his cut, send her on her way. She hesitates but he insists. Stuffing the cash in the waistband of her skirt, she gives him a firm kiss on the cheek and then sidles off, a little brighter and a little less worse for wear.

Throwing the girls a bone every now and then has got to keep those hoes loyal. Staring at him as he takes a long drag of his smoke, Trixie feels an impatient, nervous urge to go over there and introduce himself. Could he work for a pimp?

What would he do? Chauffeur his girls around town, trick-to-trick? Could even be a year. They actually lock eyes and Trixie almost chokes on his own spit. Quickly, Trixie turns away and he thinks Kim drops her wrench into the toolbox. She reaches up to rub her eyes before thinking better of it and her hands fall limp on her lap. He taps her shoulder. Kim almost loses her balance as she gets to her feet. He lingers there, trying not to look like a clown.

When he turns, Trixie startles at a blonde girl messing around the inside of his hood. Her belly chain shimmies down her midriff as she leans in and a couple guys stare at her as they pass. Pearl swipes her long blonde hair over her shoulder. When she offers her hand, Trixie takes it. When Ru finally arrives at the race, he arrives with so much fanfare that everyone forgets their alliances to fawn over him.

He emerges from his stretch limo in a sharp suit and distant wave of his hand before ducking inside the Lounge. Kim and Naomi find Trixie at his car as the bosses disappear for their powwow with Ru. One step above a puppet-master, one tier below a super-villian. Suddenly, Trixie doesn't feel quite as confident.

He could really go for a vodka soda right about now. Kim smacks his shoulder, drawing his eyes back to where Ru, Needles, and Chachki emerge from the Lounge. The crowd goes silent when Ru raises his arm. And tonight, miracles are the way things ought to be! Can I get an Amen? Can you dig it?

He weaves through the cars on Crowne and finds his ride next to a sleek white Invetero Coquette with a pearlescent finish and pink underglow. On his other side, Trixie sees a deep red Sabre Vigero with houndstooth upholstery and freaky hubcaps that resemble bloodshot eyes.

Before Zamo can notice him, Trixie ducks into the dark cabin of his car. He switches on the utilities. This can still work out. Beating them might impress them, might piss them off. Glancing to his right, Trixie watches Zamolodchikov light a cigarette.

His dash-lights are gold. His smoke is gossamer. When he moves his head, Trixie turns away. His palm rests against the gear shift, fingers opening and closing over the lacquered bulb.

The world narrows in on the row of open road stretched before him, on the faded white lines stitched down its spine. Trixie turns the ignition and he hears twelve other engines roar to life. Red tail-lights scorch his eyes and he rolls up his window, cutting off the outside world, focusing on the cadence of his own breath and the way his toes twitch against the gas pedal, revving the engine, making the needle jump.

His other foot rests on the clutch, steady, ready to pop any second. When the gunshot flares in the air, Trixie lifts off the clutch and punches the gas. The force of lift-off pushes him back against the seat and he zooms forward. The adrenaline makes his blood feel light, frothy and fizzing like soda pop. It really kicks, like nothing else. He speeds ahead, fingers gripping the steering wheel, the engine roaring in his head as his eyes dart across the road, watching cars zoom across the pavement, their tires winged by misted runoff.

Two competitors—a classic blue muscle and a German make that looks like an acid trip—already have an early lead. Pearl and Zamolodchikov fight for third with Trixie still jockeyed between them. And no matter what Ru says to the crowd, no one not the drivers, not the spectators really wants a safe, clean race.

Up ahead, Trixie sees the first turn onto Union. When the blue muscle takes the left, she hits the brake too hard. The first placer goes spiraling in the rain, cracking into the passenger side of the German car, taking both frontrunners clear off the road. The spectators barely miss the crash, cheering as they swamp the twisted wreckage with bright phones and rictus smiles.

Everyone loves a disaster. In his rearview, Trixie sees three more racers drift the curve, their headlights gaining on him as they zoom down Union. He shifts up, jamming the pedal to the floor. They hit Nayle—the waterfront, where the bay churns black. But by some stroke of luck, Zamo pulls ahead and Trixie fills the gap next to Pearl, glancing over at her. The dash lights flicker and the odometer shivers. Pearl pulling back from his open hood, pulling her hand away from the motor.

She fucked with something, loosened a hose or a clamp. Actual sabotage, what the fuck. Trixie panics, hits the breaks and slides, whirling into the bayside guard-rail. The passenger glass shatters, shards of glass flying against him. The force of it knocks him around like a ragdoll, his head ricocheting off his window.

And the engines fade away. His cabin is dark. They look like half-moons, like sickles, but then they fade away. The trailing drivers race on by.

Gritting his teeth, Trixie stumbles out his door, his knees wobbling. Gingerly, he tries to touch his temple but winces instead, hissing through his teeth. But, of course, he does. Trixie whimpers at the sight of her. His passion project is completely totaled.

A twisted, steaming hunk of worthless metal. He snatches the hat off his head, crumbles it in his hands. And he feels pitiful. Like a true boonie bumpkin.

The blood mixes with his tears, stinging his left eye, and the pain only gets worse once he finds his phone dashed across the pavement. Exhausted, Trixie flops against the ruined car and stares up at an empty, light-polluted sky for what feels like a long time. On reflex, Trixie tries to get low but his side absolutely kills and he can barely bend without pain.

Shortly after, he hears the sirens. The cops are out. Trixie feels a slight vibration on the asphalt as cars and motorcycles zip past him, making a clean getaway from the site of the race.

He tries to flag somebody down, hoping beyond hope that one of them is Naomi or Kim or both, but nobody stops for him. Clutching his side, Trixie shuffles across the street and ducks into an alleyway between two run-down tenements. They look abandoned—Trixie glances up at one alleyside window and sees a dead bird crushed between the pane and a wooden dresser—-but he hears someone inside listening to a gameshow on full blast. Kicking some broken beer bottles, Trixie leans flush against the brick and deep in the shadows, trying to catch his breath again.

His lungs ache from the fear and the tears and he has to figure something out. Shit, is he gonna hyperventilate right now? Is this what a panic attack feels like?

Trixie hears the slow rasp of tires approaching the alley. But he sees no lights on the street. Still, with shots fired, all bets are off. Some psycho could be cruising for some extra fun and if someone really wanted to gun for him, now would be the time. Trixie tries to push further against the wall, hold his breath. A nondescript beige sedan rolls into view. It looks like it belongs to someone who works in I. Looking over his shoulder at the empty road, Zamo waves his hand frantically. Zamo laughs at that, pulling away from the curb.

As they roll down the street, his eyes dart from mirror to mirror, his shoulders hunched to his ears. Glaring at the stereo speakers, Trixie dabs at the blood drying in the thicket of his brows.

He veers a little on the road. Zamo adjusts the rear-view, checking his blind spots. He tips his chin, sticks out his lower lip, and affects a voice that sounds halfway between Winston Churchill and Bela Lugosi: An actual crazy person.

He should be inching toward the door, ready for some road rash, but He also disarmed his victims with blonde hair, green eyes, and a face that looked like he needed a full eight hours at the nearest Motel 6. Zamo pulls onto a shady side-street where smashed-out streetlights lace the road and sneakers dangle from the powerlines.

With an exaggerated grimace, Zamo claws at the side of his face. But miraculously, Zamo just cackles. He glances over at him and his eyes are bright. His smile is bright.

Everything about him is bright and Trixie kinda wants to keep him that way: Trixie smiles, even though it pulls his bloodied skin too tight. And this is it, Trixie realizes, this is why the Manson girls cuddled up to the cult and wove bloody flowers into their hair. Trixie pauses, unssure how much information he should release. All things considered with the betrayal and the sabotage and the shooting and all He thinks of that creature swaying in his mirror and the twisted pink car steaming on the side of the road in industrial Bohan.

Mocked him with it. He remembers how it always made him feel so small. He feels small now, doused with self-pity and resentment. So, that name is as fitting as anything. Zamo mulls it over, nodding as he adjusts his cap. Ahead, Trixie sees red-blue-red-blue-red-blue strobing in distant street puddles. Any second, the cops are gonna turn onto their road. Katya cuts the wheel and pulls into a narrow alleyway, nixing the engine.

The cabin goes completely dark. Unconsciously, Trixie holds a breath as two cruisers zip down the road, lights flashing, sirens blaring, completely overlooking the stolen car parked in the alley. Shutting his eyes, Trixie exhales, sliding lower in the seat. Humming, Trixie rubs the heel of his hand against his eye.

He wants nothing more than to clean up, curl up, and then wake up to the fragrance of warm raspberry tea, the quiet circus of kiddy cartoons, the touch of dirty socks rucked up at the end of the bed.

Not to mention embarrassing, even in the privacy of his own psyche. Trixie startles at the red-blue lights flashing behind his eyelids, opens them to see Katya staring at the rearview. A cruiser sits at the mouth of the alleyway: When the cop shuts off his lights, emerging from the car, Trixie recognizes him.

In a porn situation, Trixie might be into it. But right now, every instinct screams danger , screams psycho , screams run ; and growing up the way he did, Trixie knew when to trust those instincts. Fishing it out by the rubber band, Katya chooses that roll to pocket.

Trixie spares a look at the rearview: He scoots lower in his seat. He yanks the handle of the driver-side. The door creaks open. The night air rustles a photograph tucked into the sun-visor: A middle-aged guy in bloodstained camo, grinning at the camera as he lifts the antlers of a trophy buck, its eyes gone milky, its tongue lolling from its snout. Each toll of the bell winches his intestines, twisting him inside out.

An unholy fear grips him like a vice. Sluicing through oily puddles, Katya creeps forward with his hands raised, fingers outstretched. The cop shines the maglite straight into his eyes and of course he fucking does.

But he wants to run. His first instinct is always to run. Back in the mafiya days, when he used to work for Uncle Rico and his merry band of Bolshevik ballbusters, he used to catch so much shit for it.

But bitch, whenever they needed someone for the getaway, for a quick hit, to strike a match and then hit the brick, they always called on him. Not with that groggy-ass motherfucker dozing in the car. Worst of all, Katya likes him. He really likes him. He took a shine as soon as he saw him staring across the Interior Illusions parking lot.

He does, of course. Natural scientific secretions of wild sexual witchcraft. Or whatever his name really is. This is gonna go bad, Katya knows, any way this goes Katya tries to affect a good natured laugh, something to diffuse the hostility, but he just sounds nervous and cagey and trapped. Destruction of public property. Emphasizing his empty hands, Katya reaches downward, squirreling into his pocket for the money. His clothes catch on the rough mortar as he fidgets for the cash. For one goddamn second, Jesus Christ.

Glancing at the car, Katya inhales sharply at the shadows shifting in the cabin, at the persistent ding, ding, ding of the open door. He wants to go. He wants to fight. A disgusting, frothy chowder of fear and impatience bubbles in his stomach.

Pitt never just takes the money. He never wants the money. And now, the proposition just pisses him off. Thinking you own this city. That you can get whatever you want. At his core, he truly believes that every man is him and that he is every man. A good old-fashioned, red-blooded American boy with the tragic misfortune of being tempted by a shape-shifting demon-slut like Katya.

You know that, right? Katya knows exactly where this is going, sees it like the track of a roller coaster. He can see every terrible twist. Now that really trips something, just as Katya knew it would. Katya never considered the possibility that Pitt would blow his head off. Brains splattered against the brick. Shit smeared against the pavement.

Gently, Katya slips his hand into his jacket. You eat, you shit, you fuck, you die. And then you shit again. Sex and Death…everyone dunks their crackers into that succulent primordial soup, whether they want to or not.

His heart thumps against his ribcage, so hard it feels like a wild bird struggling to get free. Like a canary in a coal mine, spazzing-out at the first whiff of bad air. As quietly as he can, Trixie searches for a gun, practically ransacking this piece-of-shit car. Trixie thinks on the shooting range he made back home, how he rooted through the trash for intact cans of Old Milwaukee and placed them with infinite care upon sanded down stumps and overturned waste-cans.

Lucky enough, he never needed to pull the trigger. So I grabbed that for my YouTube channel title Stage was a couple of trailer beds pulled up next to each other. Site is still in existence today, used by a "hot rod" auto club and the current site of the "Pungo Strawberry Festival". The day of the festival was brutally hot, sunny with high humidity Typical Tidewater Virginia summer weather.

The festival was poorly organized. The concert goers sat on a concrete runway in the blazing sun all day with no shade available. Hundreds of people were treated for heat exhaustion and assorted drug overdoses. The performances were generally good considering the conditions. Both acts were largely unknown in Southside VA. In BOC's set was excellent if a bit brief min. I recall an announcer BOC's manager? Security was over zealous with rented off-duty police, some with guard dogs and a large quantity of undercover narcotics officers who kept busy all day arresting pot smokers.

Karen Banks I was there - just another "hot" fan. This concert changed my life. Was visiting Virginia Beach after the July 4th weekend and ended up with a bunch of partiers. I fell in love - We were smack dab in the middle of everyone. I went back home to Morgantown, WV - divorced my husband, quit my job, bought a car and moved. I truly think that if we hadn't had that day in the sun - none of the "magic" would have been there. What information can you send me on this concert?

Zelma Cohen Hey, I was there. I was quite young and had the T-Shirt and poster from that concert for years, but it disappeared only a few years ago. It was an awesome concert. I can't remember if BOC played that day. I saw them a few times after that, so I'm not sure. It was crazy, hot and lots and lots of drugs everywhere. I was only 14 and left there alone, saw a couple of OD's and lots of other mind opening experiences.

Lots of pink faces at the end of the day due to the sun. Regarding the date, it had to of been July 4th of , but will double check with my sister who "dropped me off" there. I was 14 and remember telling everyone I was I'm not sure why I thought that would make a difference. I seem to remember Savoy Brown breaking up briefly not long after that concert, but they got back together the next year.

From what I can see, it appears all of the bands were all over the place in 73, but from what I can tell, they were all in the area of Virginia Beach in July of Not so in or I also remember it being a time where many of our guys were getting back from Vietnam. The base was full of military GI's getting blasted out of their minds to forget what they just experienced.

Sad how history repeats itself. I'd tend to think after Callen Phillips I'm 50 years old, at work, feeling nostalgic, and thought I'd search for information on the Pungo Airstrip concert.

I was there and to this day, I remember the heat and sitting on that hot concrete runway. I remember organizers were passing out salt tablets during the concert. I thought I remembered one of the guitarists for ZZ Top passing out and going face first on the stage, just for a moment. I think ZZ Top was the headliner.

They had 3 albums out by then and BOC had one, I think. We went to see Bloodrock as much as anyone else.

The following website - LookAtStubs. Regarding the headliner, I'm pretty sure Savoy Brown was the headliner. ZZ Top performed earlier in the day and Savoy Brown went on stage as the sun was setting. Woody I was there. Me and ALL my party-animal Navy buddies - stoned to the gills - nothing new for us. I'm sure we "saw" all of you there. We were probably responsible for Karen's post-concert action. I was at this show. As one person wrote, those 2 acts were the highlights of the concert.

It was miserably hot. One of ZZ Tops players did pass out. Savoy Brown was the headliner and closed the show. I love the website. The stories from the Virginia show bought back a lot of good memories.

Thanks for letting me share mine. Sergeant Mac It was advertised as a mini Woodstock with 9 bands. The headliner was Savoy Brown and they played last. Dusty Hill Bass keeled over face first into the stage during one of their jams. Billy and Frank just kept jamming very professional and the roadies pulled Dusty behind the cabinets looked like white Marshall heads and speaker cabinets but had a logo like Oasis or something like that.

After a few minutes they got Dusty back up and he went back out front and kept playing. They continued playing for quite a while after. BOC pulled out some stools and sat on them when they played. Savoy Brown played last and convinced me that Kim Simmonds was the second best slide guitarist that I had seen to that point Duane Allman being no.

I was in the Air Force at the time due to the draft and my draft number being 1. We left Roanoke VA at We were told that the concert was to be right on the sandy beach. They had speaker towers on each side of the stage and as the day went on we followed shadows around to get relief from the sun.

Several of us had one large blister across our foreheads from that day. I had a friend who went with us who had a t-shirt for years that had the date and a list of the bands. The t-shirt finally turned back to dust and I can't remember all 9 bands. I'm sure of the ones I listed but I am unsure of the rest. Even with the help of your list on the right, I can't positively say yes to any of the others listed.

I would have loved to see them at the same concert. David Morgan Regarding Sergeant Mac's note: Everything else he states seems to follow my recollections of the event. I do remember Dusty Hill passing out on stage; face down in his ten gallon cowboy hat. Was this a regular thing with this guy or was it just BOC gigs he had a problem with?

Ralph Thanks to Ron Fritts sending the above review, I now know this gig indeed took place on 21 July and that the eight bands on the bill were: It's becoming increasingly clear that more gigs were played during July than I currently know about Bob Mutascio I was at this concert.

Blue Oyster Cult opened for Aerosmith, and though I don't remember much about this show, I do remember that BOC did one of the most amazing percussion songs I ever heard, where everyone in the band was up front on the stage, playing some kind of drum.

Sorry I can't remember more, but I was on mescaline at the time. Aerosmith was not on the bill and did not play. I was there and drug free. I wouldn't have been there except Savoy Brown was playing and I followed them around back then. Bobby Alessi Yes, that was Barnaby Bye opening that show.

I remember it well. While we were in town we were taken to some of the better recording studios in Boston to see if we had any interest in doing some recording there. It was then that we met Michael Kamen for the first time. I also remember it was a beautiful summer day and the race way was packed. I remember we kept getting a feed back problem with them but the show was fun for us.

It's always fun playing for a big crowd. Ralph I originally had been given anecdotal evidence of a BOC gig at the Illiana Speedway, Schererville, Indiana, but it now seems pretty certain that this gig indeed took place in The only info I can add is that it was M. I have ZERO recollection of the exact date or any other bands that were on the bill There was only one event of this kind, ever, at the Illiana Speedway.

I lived only a few miles away from it. I remember there were quite a few bands on the bill I think they were mostly local groups from the Northwest Indiana area. BOC was the headline act. I don't recall the date, but it WAS in the summer I remember that the weather was nice and warm for sitting outside and getting "baked", as it were.

Schererville was a rather small, undeveloped town at that time, and were VERY few "venues" at which to play. I remember its date exactly because 1 I was with my new girlfriend who I started dating two weeks earlier we've since married , and 2 it was a good friend's birthday. He was supposed to meet us there, but flipped his van on the way to the show and didn't get to see it.

Nobody was hurt, luckily. Anyway, the date is ingrained as July 29, , and I also recall it was, oddly, on a Sunday which matches a calendar I looked up online. BOC didn't come on until about 1AM making it early on the 30th. Before them were the Mike Quattro Band. Earlier bands are hard for me to remember, although Son of Cactus was one of them. The others were third-tier or breaking bands. BOC was definitely the headliner for that festival, which lasted all of one day. I don't think they issued ticket stubs.

It was a pretty loose event If there were any flyers, I never saw them, and I'm virtually certain there were no handbills. I believe I found out about the gig from Hegewisch Records, which was an off-the-mainstream shop on the southern edge of Chicago. They used to get bands like Wishbone Ash to do in-store promos, and it was the cool place to buy records, especially imports. Ralph OK - I originally had this gig down as: Convention Center, Tucson Arizona Then I got the following email with very opposing info for a gig on this date: I was definitely there in person sometime late in the summer.

It's very vivid to me because it would have been my first ever BOC concert, and hugely anticipated at the time. Ralph I have no reason to doubt that this Tucson gig didn't take place on this date - despite the above email, which itself goes from the very specific 3rd Aug to the rather vague "sometime late in the summer" As usual, if anyone has info on either gig, either Tucson or Charlotte, please let me know Geils band up in Charlotte NC the Coliseum.

Mary Stewart confirms this also. No way are [we] I wrong. I remember them all soloing during Diz Busters like the 3rd song thinking whats up with this. Geils Band, and not Tucson after all Geils around this time - I just need to pin the date for sure to 3rd August, if that's what it was, so obviously I'd appreciate hearing from anyone with any more info on this Charlotte gig Or the possibly mythical Tucson gig also!!

Geils Band gig at Charlotte Coliseum that shows the date was 3rd Aug Keith McGee I was at the august 73 show in charlotte. They were still doing the drum solo with help thing, 5 guitars not having been introduced. Ralph OK - I give in - Charlotte it is, then Joe Schafbuch My second concert ever.

Zeppelin played the Coliseum earlier in the year my first. Don't recall the set list, but I remember the curtain call was a killer version of Steppenwolf's 'Born to Be Wild'. Ralph I couldn't help noticing that the reviewer described BOC as "English visitors" and said they played a song called "Strings" I went there searching for the concert where I saw them for the first time.

The location was the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds. I'm fairly sure the other bands were local bands. This was part of the "Strawberry Fields" concert series held in the summer from to The stage was outside under a shelter. There was a huge open air grassy area to gather around the stage. Lots of kids attended, mostly 14 to 20 years old. I know the lineup was the same 5 as the night before in Philadelphia. I certainly CAN'T remember the song list, but if you put this date on the site, some other fans at the concert might be able to contribute something.

BOC did not perform. I was a big fan then and would remember. I saw them live for the first time at Houston's Music Hall a couple of years later. So did Willie Nelson I wonder what happened? Ralph OK - those two pseudo-psychedelic posters on the end above first appeared on eBay in May and are clearly not originals. Also - they both also contain the same spelling mistake and whereas the original gig was a "Daydream Production" - according to these two posters, it's "Another Daydream Production".

I've seen a bit of a disturbing trend appearing on eBay lately of non-original posters - and you really have to examine the accompanying text to find out that they're just "recreations". Watch out for them Anyway - those so-called "posters" claim the Dolls were also on the bill but the above ads and review clearly show that this wasn't the case.

I don't know if the gig went on without them, or was completely cancelled Greg Biggs I was at this show. It was an outdoors venue next to the University of Tampa where I went to college for a time. Pinera was always doing that with bands they played with. Buck and Eric came out I know, but I forget if Alan did or not. I later met them in when I saw them again while living in Atlanta might have been Co-sponsors of the 4 p.

Tickets will be available at the gate. Jim Bays I had noted that you didn't have it on there, yet there is a Tampa show in about the same time frame. I will need to work on the dates I have no records such as ticket stubs etc.

But I do remember that it was at the Hollywood "Sportatorium" and the line-up order was:. Ralph I've managed to pin a date to this show thanks to seeing a short review of this gig in "The Miami News" dated Thursday 30 Aug , which refers to the gig having taken place on the previous Saturday 25th: Mosquitoes, heat and long waits in between acts were the main topics of conversation Saturday night at the Sportatorium show.

Performance Associates , promoters for the concert, reported sales of about 3, tickets and a break-even situation on the four-group show. The first group on, Bachman-Turner Overdrive from Canada, pleased the audience with its loud, heavy rock and an encore that lengthened its set considerably.

Then came Spirit , a new group essentially with original drummer Jack Cassady leading the band. The group played on nostalgia with many tunes from its "Dr. Sardonicus" album and the rock hit that made it big in - "Mechanical World.

Headliner for the evening, Focus , didn't come on until almost midnight playing mostly long, nearly orchestral numbers and reaching a high with "Hocus Pocus," its most recent hit here. Larry Mandel I was at this concert. I was much younger then. I grew up on Miami Beach and went to many of these concerts. The Sportatorium was a very large venue out in what was then the middle of nowhere.

Tickets were very cheap. I could not afford much in those days but everything was accessible as far as price. There were not many people at this concert. Focus did a great set and BTO was really just getting started. BOC blew the house away and I remember them coming on stage on motorcycles in leather and chains. This was all pre-Don't Fear the Reaper times when they sort of sold out.

My favorites were are? Tom Schuster I wasnt able to make it to this show as my family had just moved to marietta about 3 weeks before but i can still vividly remember the radio spots for it cause it started out with a healthy chunk of Hot rails to Hell. What a drag it was being 14 in a new town and no idea were anything was or anyone i could yet call a friend since i had a few weeks to go before i started the 10th grade after moving from wichita kansas where i saw boc open for Alice Cooper on the Billion dollar babies tour.

I was bummed but that was about the only boc show i missed after moving to the atlanta area Or - and this seems more likely - was this gig cancelled and the September one went ahead? Ralph For a while, I didn't have a date for this gig - all I had was the following review which appeared in the 10 Sept issue of Albuquerque Journal: All the groups gave first rate performances, but it was BOC that got the best response.

Flash, from England, drew a polite response from the small crowd gathered at Civic Auditorium. They were energetic and flashy but somehow they never got the crowd to its feet. Flash is much better live than on record. While they can be accused of sounding like guitarist Peter Bank's former group Yes on record, they have their own sound in concert. Flash has been together since February They've released four albums including a new one "Out of Our Hands. They are also very visual.

Drummer Albert Bouchard would bend backwards and flip his drumsticks without missing a beat. Vocalist Eric Bloom and guitarist Don Buck Dharma Roeser would rub their guitars together making machine gun noised or gallop across the stage.

At one point Eric and Don even joined Albert on the drums to do some drum work that was unmatched by any other group that night. The guys in BOC are as energetic talkers as they musicians. They're humorous, interesting and easy to get along with. Their band was formed in New York three years ago. They got their name by pulling it out of a hat.

El Chicano calls their music "The Brown Sound. El Chicano was a fine band and kept the audience on its collective feet. But El Chicano feels their group is different from Santana and other Latin rock groups. Says bassist Dick Henderson, "We do a little more modern music.

We also do rock and progressive stuff besides the Latin trip. We have a lot of influences and that's what separates El Chicano. It's a good song with potential. Quicksilver the headliners, played the longest set. They played lots of hard rock and each member was given an opportunity to do a solo. Dino Valente's vocals and bongo playing were good and the two drummers, Greg Elmore and Harold Aceves, did some nice interplay but it was Gary Duncan's guitar playing that was the basis of Quicksilver's sound.

He was always tasteful and his Spanish guitar playing was especially affective. Greg and Gary are the only original members of Quicksilver Messenger Service that remain in the band. About the group's name, Gary says "When we first got together we were all Virgos and we figured Virgos groove on Mercury and Mercury's Quicksilver. Quicksilver is the messenger and Virgo is the servant - we were all a bunch of servants.

They've put out nine albums, appeared in two movies "Fillmore" and "Revolution" and performed at many rock festivals including the Monterey Pop Festival and the Newport Jazz festival. Does the group feel the charts are important? But we don't get on the charts and we do alright. I really don't care about the charts. We've played acoustic guitar but the audiences don't like it - they expect us to do feedback. We'd like to record some and play them at concerts.

Sometimes we feel sort of confined in one place. We just want to survive. Geils, the James Gang and others These entries were missing from the final advert on the day of the show, so presumably they didn't play. Ralph I only know about the existence of this gig thanks to a flyer provided by Tom Chambers Kalamazoo Ice Arena hosted several concerts before Wings hockey Stadium was built. Maybe people at this one. Bolle Gregmar Here's a setlist I know you don't have: Mommy and Born to be Wild were the encores of that show Also, That was the Late Show, they did two sets that night, probably the same songs Ralph I'm indebted to Ron Fritts for sending me a copy of the above advert.

Does anyone know if this actually took place, though? Can't have ended well Joe Bouchard I remember that Sly gig very well, since I was a big fan. I think BOC did okay opening the show. Then we waited and waited. Sly's band starts playing. Is he going to show? He finally comes on stage and they go into some jam number.

I guess he played a few hits, but I got a weird vibe that there could be a riot and Sly would walk off stage. But he stayed to the end and the show ended without incident.

I hear Sly has hit hard times these days. Living in a RV in someone's yard. Stealthtip The show was in California at the Hollywood Palladium and the actual date was September 14, I still have the ticket stub! This would be very close to the actual set-list that night.

As for Mott the Hoople - Mick Ralphs had just left the band prior to that gig and lots of people were shouting where's Mick during the show that evening. He had just been replaced by very short notice with one Aerial Bender on guitar.

No seats resulted in "festival standing". Enjoyed the hell out of the night! Bummer of the night was that someone tried to break into my Vega. Third-billed to Joe Walsh and Mott the Hoople, BOC stole the show musically and elicited an extremely enthusiastic crowd response that was equal to that for the two more popular groups. The surprising thing is, the crowd was with the Cult from the start. Yells for Manny Bloom and specific Cult songs filled the air.

Astute as you'd expect them to be, BOC's set list answered with the first three cuts from Tyranny And Mutation and the crowd was on their feet from the start. Visually, the group's focal point was Manny Bloom the guy with the frizzy hair, glasses, and greaser black leather , strutting around the stage with his red Gibson SG like a John Kay Honcho - totally jive but totally alive.

The Cult's stage act is impeccably professional, flowing from one highlight to another without a letup, essentially the same stage presentation although with different material that the group spent two months in seclusion working up in early Not since the Flamin' Groovies has a group walked the dog, much less their guitars across stage!

The music rumbled on, Alan Lanier's skill on rhythm guitar making the Cult one of the few groups around with an awesome four guitar lineup drummer Albert Bouchard also plays guitar when they want it. No doubt about it, Blue Oyster Cult slayed the crowd as well as this fan, and Joe Walsh's interminable minute Grand-Funk-gone-bad tuneup jam and Mott The Hoople's vaguely disappointing set of English arrogance lots of fans upfront yelling "where's Mick?

With a live show this impressive, it seems highly possible that Blue Oyster Cult will break big within the next year or two, joining the handful of fellow heavy metal groups at the top of the charts.

BOC have had good success so far, selling over , with both albums already, but potentially they have the ingredients to go far beyond that, all the way to solid gold. That's a pretty cerebral combination, probably the reason for an extreme musical calculation that is BOC's one major shortcoming, but otherwise it works out just fine. Meltzer wasn't in California, and hence unavailable for comment on Mr. Pearlman's analysis "It was a good gig - just like Chicago!

This group looks like a big one. That would seem to indicate that I'm missing a Chicago gig from this adjacent time-frame If you saw BOC in Chicago around this time, please let me know Anyway, here's another report, this time from the 29 Sep edition of "Cashbox": And somehow, in the great pressure cooker of an auditorium that alternates rock-n-roll with the Lawrence Welk Show, it all came magically together.

Mott the Hoople is a band in the English tradition of rock theatrics successors to the likes of the Who, the Faces and David Bowie; they have the kind of act that generates a con- tagious energy, adrenalin flowing back and forth from stage to crowd.

It was all happening that Friday night - the simple chords clashing against a rippling keyboard, band leader Ian Hunter's rasping lyrics, the hypnotic stage movements of the entire ensemble-a controlled hysteria that echoed through the hall. The songs were a mixture of Hoople hits: Encores were called for and happened as encores will, with the appropriate vocal hoopla. Traffic was unusually heavy on stage with three bands preceding the headliner.

Present were Orphan, Joe Walsh and Barnstorm, both groups having recently been reviewed in these pages. The Cult are an east coast concoction of mystical rock-n-roll critics and credulous rock-n-roll musicians who put on a musical wild west show with flailing guitars, slashing chords and overtones of the occult.

Concentrating on cuts from their recent LP, "Tyranny and Mutation," they played at a volume high enough to wake the dead, or deaden anyone so unfortunate as to be alive and present.

However, the 24 Sept edition explained that the gig- as well as all others booked at the Eastown Theatre for September - never took place as the powers that be succeeeded in shutting the place down.

Young folk having fun - can't be allowing that sort of thing to go on R Tagliabue This was my first concert Was reminiscing about the Capitol earlier today and was surfing the web looking for lists of old shows. That's how I stumbled upon your site. Ralph Mick Parker of sladestory. Passaic's answer to the Academy of Music. The Cult blew Slade, the headliners, right off the stage.

It may work in England, where they're so idolized, they usually can't hear themselves for all the screaming, but when the audience isn't as fanatically inclined, it sounds as silly and lame as it looks.

That was one man's opinion. If you were there, you would have had the time of your life, like we did. He has said that when he looks at books or documentaries about Rock; he judges there validity by whether Slade are included.

In fairness to Dan Nooger, who wrote that review, he probably didn't know that the group were helping Powell take baby-steps through their first gig of the tour.

For instance, Don's accident wasn't reported until the October publication of Circus magazine. Being one of a small army of New York Slade fans, we knew Slade were worth travelling for. Slade gigs were not a regular thing in America and I'd been too drunk at my gig so I was looking forward to Slade's opening night at the Capitol Theatre.

I've never really been a fan of BOC, but they played a decent set. There was a very long delay between BOC and Slade, but after an hour or so the lights went down and The Boyz hit the stage, what the critic didn't say was that the audience was on its feet from start to finish.

Also I should point out, because everybody was there to see Slade, no one had any kind of problem, clapping and singing along with Noddy, who had the entire room eating out of his hand. Everyone was there to have fun, and we had it in spades! Martin Cummins Don't forget to check out Mick's great Slade blog here: A hardcore, underground band that has been around quite some time is finally acquiring some of the recognition that is long overdue.

Also the aura around this band, as that of many of the few we have heavy metal bands is so abstract and intricate, but so much on the line one can't help but be a BOC groupie. Their personal intensity reflects life in New York City and not some distant nirvana and in turn transfuses into their music. Being underground for so long you know the pressure is on, but rather than dissolve you can bet they thrive.

Donald Roeser, main man appearing in snow white, provides some of the finest penetrating lead guitar licks to lie in your ears. The rest of the band, usually in black leather and chains, consists of Eric Bloom, vocals, Alan Lanier, keyboards and rhythm guitar, Joe Bouchard, bass, and Albert Bouchard, drums. Collectively they project a very visual unified profound sound guaranteed to make the trip to Lake Spivey worthwhile. Ralph This is an odd one - I have another Spivey gig listed for 26 August which is less than a month earlier - can BOC really have played both of them?

In all likelihood, the August one was cancelled and only this one went ahead Does anybody out there know for sure either way? Blue Oyster Cult was billed or announced as a surprise guest and played that night. Five of us went to the concert that night, we drove from Arkansas, and all five of us can concur that BOC was there. I remember that before the show they would only say a special guest band would be performing. When they announced that the special guest band was BOC, the place exploded.

I don't remember the set list, I think I was still in shock. But they just absolutely blew Tucky Buzzard away, which makes me think that they came on after TB. Most of us had never heard of TB anyway. So to have BOC there was an absolute thrill. I tried to look up the Tulsa World archives but they charge to utilize it. I'm sure there must be a write-up about the show in the music section. Anyway, that is what I know.

For now, until I hear differently, I've put BOC down as 2nd on the bill, seeing as how they were billed as "surprise guests" Ralph This gig for BOC at least seems to be a sort of make-up gig for them on account of their 9th June Academy gig having been cancelled.

The first ad above clearly shows it was a Slade gig first and foremost, and the ad ran for three weeks in the Village Voice until BOC found themselves added as a special guest in the 6 Sep issue see second ad. From what I can tell, Slade were actually at The Academy for two nights 5th and 6th October - they're certainly listed as such in Mick Parker's excellent Slade blog, sladestory. This leads me to the third ad above, a full page advert which appeared in the 4 Oct issue of the Voice, which not only doesn't mention Slade, it says BOC were playing The Academy on the 5th and 6th October!

Slade certainly works hard enough. The British rock quartet appeared Saturday night at the Academy of Music, on 14th Street, as part of another tour in which it will try to approximate its home-country success. In Britain, Slade is the unquestioned number one among the younger bands. In this country, audiences and the record-buying-public are respectful enough, but there's no hysteria, nothing really special in their response.

At Saturday's early show, Slade bounded on to the stage and tore through a 70 minute set full of it's characteristically straight-ahead, basic rock 'n' roll music. Bu it never really coalesced into anymore than a pretty good concert. Noddy Holder, the lead singer, seems addicted to hectoring attempts to get his audiences clapping and singing along; the effect is more daunting than enlivening. If anybody could figure out the formula for guaranteed success in both Britain and America, the riches of the rock world would be his.

Blue Oyster Cult or, more accurately, oyster opened the show with a slightly self-conscious evocation of diabolical rebellion that still managed to produce some effectively, driving, brooding music-making.

On Your Feet Material: Chris Baker We're within a month of the 40th Anniversary BOC show, and today [6 October ] is the 39th anniversary of my exposure to the band. Tue, Oct 6, 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? Another phrase I recall from that piece: 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. This ex-altar boy had been waiting all his life for something that sounded like this, and just hadn't known it!

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: I said, "I'm not just into them, man, I'm in them 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?

You know how it makes me feel? I can no longer remember how many days it took before the ringing left my ears 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: Which wasn't true, of course, but the point is that I believed it was: 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 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. 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. Ralph This gig was confirmed as an Extensions of Man concert promotion here: I wonder what sort of crowd turned up expecting to see some "Singers"?

Here's a report from the 14 Oct issue of The Morning Call: Tension started on a low key and climbed toward a musical climax as the High Keys came, played their music and left. The air was filled with silent anticipation and burning expectations. The lights dimmed suddenly and the crowd came to life. Concert goers were on their feet to demand with their voices and clapping hands, the stars of the bill. Blue Oyster Cult jammed the stage, and dealt a blow to the senses with electrifying, supersounds supplied by four electric guitars, an electric organ and a full drum ensemble.

In no time, the audience was completely in the hands of the Cult. No one who "turns on" to good, hard, contemporary rock should have missed this concert. The concert highlight was a "difficult" kind of drum solo. Three group members sectioned off on the drums and played separate parts. Eric brought the show to a spectacular climax when he strode across the stage in black leather pants, high silver boots and a slinky, shiny, silver shirt. On a given beat, he whipped up the drums and commanded the crowd to "make some noise in this place.

Group members are all-pro. Five musicians make the rock sounds of Blue Oyster Cult - Donald Roeser, lead guitar and vocals; Eric Bloom, lead rhythm guitar and lead vocals; Alan Linear, rhythm guitar and keyboard, Joe Bouchard, bass and vocals and Albert Bouchard, drums and vocals.

They put out a heavy sound, but how can it be classified? Sometimes we do it but our stuff is mainly contemporary rock. It's a great group with an explosive sound, but how did they end up with such a name? Lead guitarist Donald Roeser agreed. The group is rising slowly but surely with a unique rock sound which you'll be able to hear if you missed them this time or want to see them again. You'll get your second chance Oct. It's a double bill which falls in "don't miss" category.

That's interesting - " Oct. Looks like some further investigation is needed Ralph I only know of this gig thanks to the above ad from the 24 Sept edition of the Ann Arbor Sun Greg This show did indeed happen on October 11, at the Minneapolis Auditorium. BOC opened for Fleetwood Mac. From a review in the October 19, Minnesota Daily. Fleetwood Mac has been a part of the music scene in England since the British blues trend of Originating as a hard rock-blues amalgam, the band has expanded and diversified in the course of a lengthy, spotty career.

The quintet has never enjoyed immense success commercially and, because of a number of personnel changes, has come close to breaking up several times. The evolution of its musical style has brought the group to its current and most successful point - and even thisis not overwhelmingly popular: The band's small following is surprising, because Fleetwood Mac was hitting its note last night and doing a fine job of lifting the audience with evocative blues, interesting musical experiments and flat-out rock and roll.

The five members played a number of old and new songs during their minute set, including a couple of space tunes from their forthcoming album, old rockers such as "Black Magic Woman," and some slow blues, such as Duster Bennett's "Jumping at Shadows. Preceding Fleetwood Mac was Blue Oyster Cult, a group whose advertisements recommend that its "music should be played in a hock shop on the day before Doomsday.

Marshall Fine is a Minneapolis free-lance writer I must say - I have yet to see any evidence of those "Doomsday" ads I saw some pics from this gig posted on Facebook - check out this link: At the time we figured Aerosmith were just another Boston band, and I decided that night they were another poor-man's-Stones outfit -- and never changed my mind.

The Hoople, on the other hand, had a big impression on me and I was an even bigger fan of Ian Hunter when he went solo. I don't remember who the opening band or bands were. Two good friends were there with me Greg Olsen and Peter Blakis. I will ask them both if they recall anything about the gig. Greg has a nearly photographic memory, and can sing the whole song if you give him a line from lots of rock songs.

I do remember Peter complimenting the the person at the sound and lights mixer about how crisp the percussion sounds were and how good the overall sound was. So many bands back then nearly blew your ears out with loud distorted noise. Deborah Arentz I was just 14 and this was my first rock concert of many.

I remember well that Cactus and Spirit were the opening bands. I had moved to Maryland in November , so it had to be after then. I vividly remember being with my brothers in the locker rooms when they worked out the ending of one of their songs. I was impressed despite having grown up with them playing in our barn as the Regal Tones. I was totally blown away by Iggy Pop, not for his music, but by his performance. He seemed like he was from another planet.

It was my first and only time I saw Iggy, and he was quite a sight walking through the gym with the audience just sitting on the floor staring up at him. Any information you can dig up on this would be appreciated. My brothers don't seem to remember this gig, probably because it was such a small and for them forgettable experience. You do list all the big gigs where I was able to see them, but because of Iggy, this one is the most memorable one for me.

Ralph I had previously heard of the existance of this gig but had had no luck in pinning a date on it until I read the following in " The Dictators Story " by John Holmstrom and Mark Rosenthal: This November gig was also confirmed here: One thing - you mentioned that Iggy headlined this gig - I don't know why, but I'd always assumed Iggy opened for BOC - for example - check this advert out for a Port Chester gig three months later: So can you definitely confirm for me that Iggy did in fact headline the MD gig you saw?

By the way - was this your first time seeing BOC then? Incidentally - David Ramage, who once shared a band-house with BOC in the early days, has posted a couple of backstage photos from this gig on his "lightpainter" Flickr page here: The crowd was definitely into BOC, but much less boisterous with Iggy. Like much of the crowd, I stood there with my mouth open wondering what Iggy would do next.

I would say that mid to late November may be about right, since I moved to Maryland very early that month and it was probably my first trip around the Capital Beltway. I didn't know anyone in the area so I went alone. The pictures you mention seem spot-on to how I remember it including the clothes that Albert, Joe, and Iggy were wearing. Even the background with used florescent bulbs in the trash seem right.

I wouldn't have had any record of it and never saw a poster since my brothers just called me up, told me where they would be, and I showed up at the back door where someone would check my ID and let me in. This was probably my first official BOC gig - I had seen BOC rehearsing several times around that timeframe so it never seemed like a big deal, but the difference between a rehearsal and a full-up concert was impressive.

When they played the Capital Center a couple time in the following couple years with laser light shows, it was easy to see how they developed such a following. I never saw the Soft White Underbelly play, but Albert had brought home tapes every once in awhile so I knew what they were doing. The oldest memories of my brothers playing were when they were in high school playing in the Regal Tones especially at my dad's farm in our converted barn.

Albert and Joe frequently reminisce about those barn dances as being the start of their careers, but after they had gone off to college, my high school band played one dance at the barn, and so many kids showed up that my dad said no more. I doubt that my high school band was better than the Regal Tones, but the kids in town had heard from their older siblings about going to the Bouchard dances, so we easily had a bigger crowd than they did.

Neither my bandmates nor I made a career in music. Ralph Helpfully, Dictator Scott Kempner has at least let me know who headlined Scott Kempner No idea what the specific date was.

I have no flyers or memorabilia of this gig. I do remember that before the show, backstage, Iggy was chain smoking angel dust. The Stooges were the middle act. I had already seen them about fifteen times or so. That night, after all the angel dust, Iggy went out there on stage, and was so out of it he kept challenging a black guy in the audience to a fight.

He kept saying, "Come on, soul man", over and over. I think he did it in just about every song. Having seen the BOC dozens of times, there is nothing special I recall about their set that night. As would become the norm for us, the audience tolerated us, and i am sure no one who was there went to their local record store the next day to look for our record which was still several months away from release.

This was way before there was any club scene in the US, and the only gigs available to us was as opening act to just about every fucking band who was out there in the 70s. It would take a lot less time to name the bands we didn't open for then the ones we did. It's all there was, although there were some college gigs. Joey was still a drummer in a glam band. There was no precedent for the Dictators, and we were basically cast adrift out there, making no headway, selling no records, and going from meaningless opening slot to meaningless opening slot.

The list of bands we opened for included very few i had any interest in. The first one was RUSH. They were on their second record I believe did they have a record called Fly By Night, or something like that. I know pretty much nothing about that band. We got kicked off after the third night. Stu Boy's last gig and last drive with the band.

David Ramage BOC definitely headlined this show. Here's a report from the 6 November edition of the "The Morning News" [Wilmington, Delaware] indicating that two shows were planned: Shows are at 7. Tickets are available at Bag and Baggage. The 7 Nov edition of the "Philadelphia Daily News" gave the following preview: Tower Theater Hocus-Pocus by Peter Baum In these days of rock-as-big-business, promoters no longer give us many chances of enjoying two, let alone three, outstanding acts at one show.

But exceptions do sometimes occur, and this Friday's Tower Theater concert with Focus, Blue Oyster Cult, and the Spencer Davis Group is one of those infrequent match-ups that brings back memories of some of the great bills once offered at the Fillmore.

Focus is a quartet of Dutchmen that boasts not only a rising star in guitarist Jan Akkerman, but also rock's finest yodeler in Thijs Van Leer who is also more than competent on keyboards. Van Leer's special talent was showcased in Focus' big hit "Hocus Pocus," an admitted "Hard rock joke.

The subsequent "Moving Waves" and "Focus III" albums were filled with serious, classically oriented instrumentals, some of which most notably "Sylvia" and "Focus II" are truly gorgeous compositions. But now, after some less than spectacular solo efforts, Davis and his band have regrouped with results that may make us less likely to think of the band only in terms of their early achievements.

The key to the group is Eddie Hardin, one of the better unknown keyboard men around; The band's new release, "Gluggo," has been warmly received and the Spencer Davis group could just be the surprise hit of the year. But the real killer in the line up is none other than Long Island's own Blue Oyster Cult, a group that combines "heavy metal" raunch with a somewhat satanic mystique to excellent advantage.

Comprised of Allen Lanier keyboards , Eric Bloom vocals, "stun" guitar , Joe Bouchard bass, vocals , Albert Bouchard drums, vocals and an exceptional guitarist known as Buck Dharma, the band has been deservedly hailed by critics as one of the very best American groups in recent years.

While hardly any "lighter" than the better known "heavy" groups, Blue Oyster Cult's excellent and comparatively esoteric material sets them well ahead of their more famous rivals. Both BOC albums contain amazing songs with titles like "O. There is a foreboding sense of urgency in these songs that comes across even better in the band's fascinating, if somewhat schizoid, stage act.

Reportedly the group's self-proclaimed goal is to be "programmed on a music machine to be played on the last day of earth. Showtimes at the Tower are 7: Phone for ticket information.

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