Unlike some of the other live albums released recently, this is not a new album but rather a reissue, recorded on June 21st, 2002, at the Navy Pier / Skyline Stage in Chicago (the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, hence the title). Joining Buck Dharma and Eric Bloom was founder member Allen Lanier on keyboards, guitar, and vocals, plus Bobby Rondinelli (drums, percussion) and Danny Miranda (bass, vocals). Although Danny left the band for a period, he re-joined in 2017 after the departure of Kasim Sulton and is still there today. Half of the songs on this set can also be found on the ‘Rock of Ages’ set but given there were no studio albums in between the two perhaps that is not surprising.
This set captures a band at the top of their game, having loads of fun and delivering exactly what the crowd wants, and I for one am especially pleased to see “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll”, an absolute staple of the band’s. Hard to think that on this recording, nearly 20 years ago, it was already 20 years old (and is often cited as the inspiration for the artwork on Kiss’s ‘Destroyer’). That and Buck’s instrumental “Buck’s Boogie” are the only songs from ‘On Your Feet Or On Your Knees’ included in this set, which just shows the wealth of material they had available. Interestingly, although ‘Curse of the Hidden Mirror’ was released just the year before, this album does not contain any of those songs, which may have something to do with the sales that album achieved. Both this and ‘Rock Of Ages’ show a band in fine form, and both feature great sound and production, and it is hard to choose between the two. I may just prefer the other album because of the setlist, but for any fan both are essential.
8/10 Kev Rowland