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Black Sabbath – Megalomaniac Architect (Bondage Music BON214/215)

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Megalomaniac Architect (Bondage Music BON214/215)

Hammersmith Odeon London, England January 13 1976
Disc 2 tracks 4-12 Civic Arena Pittsburgh Pennsylvania February 1, 1974

Disc 1 (70:04) Intro Supertzar, Killing Yourself To Live, Hole In The Sky, Snowblind, War Pigs, Symptom Of The Universe, War Pigs, Megalomania, Sabbra Cadabra, Jam-Guitar Solo, Unknown Song Jam, Drum Solo, Supernaut, Iron Man

Disc 2 (75:03) Black Sabbath, Spiral Architect, Embryo-Children Of The Grave, Killing Yourself To Live, Snowblind, War Pigs, A National Acrobat, Cornucopia, Sabbra Cadabra-Jam-Guitar Solo, Unknown song-Jam-Drum solo, Supernaut-Guitar Solo, Sabbra Cadabra (reprise)

The main show from this set is a rescheduled date from November 1975 and is the last concert Sabbath did to promote the Sabotage album. The recording itself is a good, clear but distant audience recording but there is virtually no hiss present so it can be turned up for maximum enjoyment. There is some crowd noise evident, mainly clapping and due to the limitations of the equipment used it does, at times, push the music to the back ground. The recording is clear enough that all the instruments can be heard
with the vocals being more up front, the recording is not complete as the final encore of Paranoid is missing. The performance itself is very good, obviously the band is at the end of the tour but pull it together to give the London crowd a tight, professional performance.

The set list is well designed for this tour and gives a comprehensive look into the bands catalog up to this point, all of their albums are represented with the focus being from the last two records. The show begins with the band checking their instruments as the Supertzar intro is being played then launching into the opening salvo of Killing Yourself To Live and Hole In The Sky. The songs work well in tandem with each other and gets the crowd clapping wildly. The crowd give their approval again for 
Symptom Of The Universe as the newer material is well received (and well played).

The somber Megalomania sounds slow and with the distant recording has an Erie quality that fits with the songs lyrics of torment and greed, classic Sabbath, it is during this song that you can detect keyboards in the mix, the come from the addition of Gerald “Jezz” Woodruffe to the touring line up although he was positioned out of the crowd view.  Sabbath shows during this period would have spots in the set for improvisation and individual solos, the band use the song Sabbra Cadabra for this. After the band plays the opening half of the song they drift into a Supernaut jam that leads into Tony Iommi’s guitar solo.

The rest of the band does not leave the stage but interject musical ideas that go from blues to psychedelic to Jazz that leads to the unknown song that is commonly referred to as Sometimes I’m Happy, a blues styled song performed by the whole band. The drum solo and Supernaut reprise finish the improvisational part of the show and that leads into the opening drums of Iron Man, the crowd follows Ozzy’s shout of ”HEY” with their own shouts and clapping. The song itself sound slow and tired and shows the effects of the end of a long tour.

The second disc starts with an Iommi solo that is a flurry of notes before he levels the crowd with the opening chords of Black Sabbath. The crowd cheers their approval for the song, the slow nature of the song works to great effect that gives and extra feeling of dread and the unexpected.  Definitely the highlight of the 1975 tour and subsequent recordings is the track Spiral Architect, it is Sabbath at their progressive best, yes progressive !

The Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record for this reviewer is the bands masterpiece so it is a pleasure to hear songs from the record in a live setting. spiral Architect is majestic in its heaviness and beauty, Mr. Woodruffe’s presence on this song is spot on and at its conclusion the crowd give their approval. A very spirited Children Of The Grave finishes the recording, interesting is to hear bits of keyboards into this heavy, rollicking song, the song is incomplete and fades before the conclusion.

Always looking to give value for the buck Bondage wisely chose to put some filler to round off the rest of the disc, and we are fortunate they chose to include a fragment from the previous tour. The concert from the Civic Arena is the bands second concert of the US tour in support of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, the recording used for this release is a good audience recording, closer to the stage than the London show also featured on this set, it is again clear but with better balance and all instruments and vocals are clearly heard. There is little crowd interference mainly just clapping but does not interfere with the re cording or my enjoyment of it.

The recording starts with Ozzy telling the audience they are not used to seeing people sit around and to get up and get loose before the band launches into a spirited Killing Yourself To Live, the band is energetic and ready to lay waste to the audience. The bands ode to cocaine is greeted by cheers from the audience as is War Pigs, complete with the sirens at the beginning giving an almost haunting effect to the recording.

A National Acrobat is the highlight of this tape, another heavy track from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record, musically and lyrically written by Geezer Butler showcase the more mature mid seventies Black Sabbath. The song works well in a live setting but was short lived in the set list, thank got for the taper who captured a great version for us to enjoy. It is followed by Cornucopia from Vol. 4, bleak in nature with its plodding guitar riff Ozzy is in fine form and continually tells the audience “Lets Go” and they do ! The recording finishes with Sabbra Cadabra, again the bands vehicle for improvisation and soloing.

Again Ozzy tells the audience to get on their feet and get moving, You can tell the band is in great form and happy to be playing for American audiences. You can clearly hear some kind of keyboard during the Lovely Lady chorus although I could find no reference to who was playing it. Again the unknown song is
the Sometimes I’m Happy interlude. 

The packaging is full color inserts in a slim line jewel case, standard for Bondage releases, the pictures are relevant to the era. While the recordings may not be up to snuff for the casual collector they are very listenable and enjoyable and for the more hard core collectors and the addition of the Pittsburgh material make this set easy to recommend to Sabbath / Ozzy / Hard Rock / Metal collectors.

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Black Sabbath - Megalomaniac Architect (Bondage Music BON214/215), 2.5 out of 5 based on 1 rating

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  1. Avatar of Argenteum Astrum
    June 3, 2011, 12:56 pm

    I wish to listen both of these shows in much improvement quality; the London 1976 show is so tweaked that sometimes my ears couldn’t go with amount of cymbals; I do believe maybe Godfather will be able to press it someday…

    Beside of this I am still curious of what’s the pointing to EQ tapes so much? AARGH

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