Black Sabbath – Definitive Boston 1992 (Zodiac 045)
Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA, USA – August 9, 1992
Disc 1 (60:59) FM Broadcast: Radio Intro, E5150, The Mob Rules, Computer God, Children Of The Sea, Time Machine, War Pigs, I, Die Young, Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath
Disc 2 (46:50) Master Of Insanity, After All (The Dead), Drum Solo, Iron Man, Heaven And Hell, Announcer Encore Break, Neon Knights, Paranoid, Heaven And Hell (Reprise), Radio Outro, Laguna Sunrise (Outro)
Disc 3 (60:05) Pre FM Master: E5150, The Mob Rules, Computer God, Children Of The Sea, Time Machine, War Pigs, I, Die Young, Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath
Disc 4 (44:13) Master Of Insanity, After All (The Dead), Drum Solo, Iron Man, Heaven And Hell, Neon Knights, Paranoid, Heaven And Hell (Reprise), Laguna Sunrise (Outro)
The late 80’s were not kind to Black Sabbath, their popularity was at an all time low in terms of record sales and concert attendance numbers, but it was not for a lack of trying or enthusiasm within the band. They had put out three underrated records and had a stable line up with Powell, Martin, Iommi, Murray, and Nichols but outside Europe they were not making ends meet. Things had also slowed for former vocalist Ronnie James Dio, his band was also on a downswing and also suffered from many line up changes and turmoil. This is where Geezer Butler comes into the picture, on August 28, 1990 at a Dio gig in Minneapolis he was invited, and accepted an invitation to jam and the results were not only positive it was a sort of olive branch. A few weeks later on September 8, 1990, Butler again got up for an encore jam, this time with Black Sabbath at the first of a two night stand in London at the famed Hammersmith Odeon. It was not surprising when the two camps got together and the beginnings of what was to become Dehumanizer and the reformation of the line up of Iommi, Butler, Dio and Appice. For the press the band was all smiles and much good will was talked but behind closed doors little had changed but from this unsteady truce came a blistering album that was different musically and lyrically than the other two studio albums with Dio, and one could say is the best Sabbath produced since Born Again. The line up would tour for the record but sadly would go their separate way at its conclusion largely due to the band taking part in the Ozzy retirement shows in November 1992 and Dio’s refusal to play (Rob Halford would sing with Sabbath) would cement the break.
While many shows were recorded from the audience on both audio and video, there was a radio broadcast done in Boston, Massachusetts USA and would be the source for such titles as As Darkness Hits (RockDreams Rock 92039/92040), Black Bloody Black (Kiss The Stone KTS 171), The Dead The Bad The Ugly (Blue Knight Record BKR 09), and Boston 1992 (Live Storm LSCD 52575). These titles were all taken from recordings done of the broadcast and are all similar in sound quality, I have had the Live Storm set since the late 90’s and while it is very good quality, I wish there was something better. Now some twenty years later we can fully enjoy this concert in spectacular sound quality. The first two discs come from the broadcast itself, the sound quality is crisp and clear with a nice bottom end, head and shoulders above the old Live Storm set, it also includes radio DJ commentary from BCN’s Metal Mike. The last two discs are the pre FM tape, crystal clear with excellent balance and the prefect mix of audience noise and sounds like an official release and sounds incredible at loud volumes.
The broadcast was the complete show and is culled from the first leg of the US tour, the band was playing the intimate 2,700 seat Orpheum Theatre, one of the oldest theatres in the States. Its perfect acoustics coupled with intimate atmosphere made for a superb choice for a live broadcast, needless to say the band was certainly in excellent form and deliver a brutally devastating performance full of classics and new songs. The radio broadcast starts with Metal Mike talking about the line up and the vibe inside the theatre, the band utilize E5150 from The Mob Rules as a prelude and take the stage with a storming rendition of The Mob Rules and a vicious Computer God, the latter begins with the sounds of electronic mechanization as Ronnie spews out the lyrics with venom. This is not the Ronnie of old where his soaring vocals would rise above the din but a cold and cynical voice delivers a message of technological dominance. Ronnie tells the audience “Not a lot of talking just a lot of music” as an intro for Children Of The Sea as Tony starts the majestic introductory notes. Ronnie’s vocals again reflects this period, he starts off soft and gentle but as he moves into the “We blind the sky” it starts off soulfully but finishes with a snarl.
“Here’s a track that we ventured into the film world once again for this one” is the introduction for Time Machine from the Wayne’s World sound track, sounding much heavier live the song is driven by a steady yet thundering Geezer bass line, he even gets a quick solo spot to boot. War Pigs is introduced as being about the sad shape our world is in, a similar introduction Ronnie would use years latter when introducing Falling Of The Edge Of The World when this same line up re formed under the Heaven And Hell moniker. A vicious I follows, a personal favorite from Dehumanizer, the band manage to work in a short sing along in which the audience has no problems screaming back at the group. Die Young is played with any musical prelude, the band put their heads down and simply bash it out, the song is simply elegant and as always Ronnie gives a wonderful vocal presentation, you can hear backing vocals also, I am assuming this is Geoff Nichols backing him. Certainly an unsung hero during the 80’s and 90’s era Sabbath, Geoff Nichols playing is superb as always. The song evolves into Tony’s guitar solo that was used in past versions as Die Young’s intro, he shows his dexterity and goes through some movements so to speak, starting with the dreamlike nature before delving into some old school leads that moves into a shuffle. He breaks into a bit of Sometimes I’m Happy and some Volume 4 sounding riff before going into Sabbath Bloody Sabbath along with Vinnie and Geezer chiming in for good measure. His last major reference is Orchid, so beautifully haunting sounding and is the perfect piece of music to transition into Black Sabbath.
“We should take you with us every night” is the opening of the second disc, Ronnie signing the praises of the audience who have been ecstatic in their appreciation of the band. Master Of Insanity is pure Geezer Butler and was written by him during the late 80’s when he was not a member of Sabbath, the intro riff is incredible, one of the most intricate ones from the band. The song is linked with a heavy as hell After All (The Dead), slow ponderous and old school Sabbath sound at its best, it is no wonder that this line up chose to use it as their concert opener for the Heaven And Hell reformation. The song is also a vehicle for Vinnie’s drum solo, finally released from the monstrous Sabbatarian riffs he drums like he is shot out of a cannon all the while the audience enthusiastically cheers him on.
Heaven And Hell is the culmination of the set, Ronnie thanks the adoring audience and the band proceed to play a wonderful 10 minute version of the song, there is some great guitar and vocal interplay between Ronnie and Tony in the middle section that is followed by the audience participation, the audience follows along to perfection, they cheer as Ronnie sings “There’s a big black shape looking up at me”, they will all certainly burn in the musical fire that is Black Sabbath. The fast ending section is perfection, the band is so tight and intense you cannot help the get up off your ass and bang your head in musical joy. Metal Mike does a bit of play by play and to fill the air time prior to the encores. He talks of the temperature inside the venue and the Sabbath fans “going crazy” and also gives a plug for the new Sabbath record. The encore section is a fast and furious duo of Neon Knights and the obligatory Paranoid complete with its Heaven And Hell reprise. I listen to this with much enjoyment but also a bit if sadness as I will not be able to hear much of this material live again, thankfully I have the memories, beginning with Sabbath’s October 24, 1992 date and my first time seeing Black Sabbath live.
All four discs are packaged in a fat boy jewel case with Dehumanizer graphics amid techno bits, nice dark and bleak looking. A wonderful release by the folks at Zodiac, the careful mastering of their sources and presentation is superb and in a very short time have established themselves as the leaders in hard rock and metal releases for the collecting community. This release, like the others I own from Zodiac, have relevant content and are far more than re hashes of what has been out prior but a significant upgrade, for those questioning this title, wonder no more this is the definitive version of the Boston 1992 soundboard.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)