Beer headphones never work

Not as effective as beer goggles.

Not as effective as beer goggles.

Confession: I only know two Blue Öyster Cult songs.

But, I reasoned, that wasn’t enough of an excuse to not see the band live when my husband told me, enthusiastically, that it was playing.

After all, he took me to see Duran Duran a few years ago, standing by patiently as I acted like a love-struck teen.

Besides, BOC wasn’t just playing Sacramento; it was playing the California State Fair.

Most of the seats were still empty when we arrived an hour early on Friday night. The show definitely started early, however, as a 50-something woman behind us—already in boozy party mode—danced in her seat as her husband sat, nonplussed by her wildly waving arms and glassy eyes.

She wasn’t the only one waving her arms. As the sound system pumped up the growing crowd with a bevy of classic-rock tracks—the Who, Led Zeppelin, Joan Jett, et al.—one of our friends pumped his fist in the air, energized with nostalgia.

My husband turned to his friend’s wife with an apologetic grin.

“You probably shouldn’t see this,” he said.

But by the time Blue Öyster Cult took the stage at 8 p.m., we were all antsy, ready to rock out already.

The band, formed in 1967, has been billed as “the thinking man’s heavy metal group.”

Translation: Plenty of epic Dungeons & Dragons-worthy lyrics and lots of prog-rock jams.

Which is cool, if you’re into that sort of thing. Me? Not so much. So it made me particularly happy when band launched into “Burnin’ for You.” The track has an undeniable pop hook—like a slightly more stoned version of a Cheap Trick song—and helped buffer the boredom that set in when the band launched into a string of rambling songs with lyrics about blades and blood and, if I heard correctly, dragons and fire.

Total D&D territory here, and, sadly, there is just not enough beer in the world that would make it better.

Beer headphones just aren’t as effective as beer goggles.

Midway through a jam, I turned around to check on the dancing lady. Asleep, head on her husband’s chest, possibly drooling.

Correction: I actually know three Blue Öyster Cult songs. The band’s “Godzilla” is a fun, kitschy anthem, but, unfortunately, the band decided to split the song into two epic parts bridged by a cheesy bass solo meant to highlight bassist Rudy Sarzo’s stints in Quiet Riot, Whitesnake and Ozzy Osbourne’s band.

That’s right, we had to sit through a five-minute bass medley featuring “Cum on Feel the Noize.”

My friend turned to me, annoyed.

“Since when is this Blue Öyster Cult featuring Rudy Sarzo?”

All was forgiven, however, when the band finally launched into “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper.”

Confession: As a mopey, Romeo & Juliet-obsessed preteen, I totally loved this song. I still kinda do. The song manages to be epic and emotional, yet never tedious.

Update: Even the drunk, drooling lady behind us was awake again, arms waving wildly in the air.