Past Live Ever (Tarantura TCDBS-1-1, 2)
Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ – August 5th, 1975
Disc 1 (41:09): Supertzar Intro, Killing Yourself To Live, Hole In The Sky, Snowblind, Symptom Of The Universe, War Pigs, Megalomania
Disc 2 (58:51): Sabbra Cadabra, Jam, Guitar Solo, Jam II, Guitar Solo II, Sometimes I’m Happy, Drum Solo, Supernaut, Drum Solo II, Iron Man, Instrumental Jam including Orchid>Rock and roll Doctor>Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath, Spiral Architect, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
King Biscuit Flower Hour’s recording of Black Sabbath’s show at the Astbury Park Convention Hall in 1975 must be considered one of the Holy Grails for collectors, for sound quality, performance, and set list. Recorded just days after the release of their sixth studio record, Sabotage, the band has incorporated three new tracks into the set. From looking over collectors audio lists it looks like a 30 minute show was compiled but do not know the songs that were broadcasted. The general publics first chance to get a taste was the official 2002 release Past Lives, a attempt at re mastering the Live At Last and selections from this KBFH show and the Paris 1970 recording. Apparently some enterprising person got ahold of the full concert and it soon began making the rounds of trade circles and the bootleg markets.
Other releases include Heaven & Earth Bondage Music 269/270 and Let Slip The Pigs of War No Label (not the full show), Tarantura has used the excellent full soundboard recording for this release. I do not own any of the silver releases of this show but compared it to my cd-r copy obtained from a reputable torrent site and found release is just slightly louder and fuller sounding but not overdone, as sometimes is the case with Tarantura, but with a recording like this with no real flaws nothing really needs to be done. The recording starts with a brief intro before the band comes crashing in with Killing Yourself To Live from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record, played with finesse and confidence it is great to hear in soundboard quality. I used to listen to the version from the Live At Last record in its early stages and while it was good to hear, it really shines in this recording. Ozzy introduces the next track, Hole In The Sky, from the new record and we are treated to the first Ozzism of the night when he asks the crowd Are you High? after crowd roars that they are Ozzy responds with Well so am I.
Who would have guessed from his performance, his vocals for the most part are spot on. Hole In the sky is a great song for the concert stage with an incredible Iommi riff that gets the head banging started. You can hear Bill Ward count in the intro to next track, Snowblind from the Vol. 4 record. Ozzy introduces Symptom Of The Universe as being from their new record and is a smoking version, played slightly faster than the original version and Iommi smokes through his solo at the end of the track and for a split second you think that the mellow extended Woman child of love’s creation part. War Pigs is next and gets the crowd moving, their clapping is evident during the Generals gathered in their masses part. Already five years old by this point War Pigs sounds as heavy hear as when it was recorded and is played with intensity. Up next is the 10 plus minute track Megalomania, a personal favorite from the Sabotage record and a highlight of this show. Ozzy nails the lyrics of insanity and madness with conviction, and there are a lot of them. You can hear faint keyboards on this track by Gerald Woodruffe who also played on the record.
Sabbra Cadabra starts the second disc off and is the last track before the long jam part of the recording. Originally released in 1973 and is a lyrical rarity. A song about a woman with mystifying eyes , wonder if it was written about Geezer’s wife or a groupie. Next up the band members flex their creative skills during a number of solos and jams, nothing out of the ordinary but includes a brief workout of the Supernaut riff, one of the heavier ones created by Iommi, It is a shame it is just a fragment. Bill Wards drum solo ends with the beginning of Iron Man, a short version of the song, just the first five minutes. Just when you get into the part where Geezer tears up the bass, Ozzy introduces Tony for his solo that eventually leads up to Black Sabbath. His solo includes a beautifully played version of Orchid from the Master of Reality record. While primarily known for his riffs, Tony Iommi is a fantastically rounded played who play melodic instrumental to blues licks without missing a beat.
Rock and Roll Doctor is pretty much the main riff played with out vocals a full year before its official release. A fast flurry of notes is next, played at break neck speed this Tony and his best best before downshifting gears for the opening strains of Black Sabbath. The biggest powder chord ever laid down the track embodies what the band is about and is played with intensity. I was reading Garry Sharpe-Youngs excellent book Never Say Die and Eric Singer said Tony Iommi worked with him to get the drums just right and was very particular about how the band played his signature tune. Spiral Architect is a track that was played for a few tours and resurrected for a few shows of the Reunion comeback in the late 90’s. One of the most beautiful tracks from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record with its surreal lyrics about drugs and there effect it is a pleasure to hear it live in this fantastic sound quality. although played a little faster than its original it translates well to the stage.
Children of the Grave rounds off the main set but does not lays the crowd to waste, that is the last tracks responsibility. You can clearly hear firecrackers being blown off before the thundering Paranoid grounds the audience into dust. After this tour Sabbath would never really be the same, the pressures of fame and drugs would break the band apart, first in 1977 and finally in 1979. The packaging is the usual Tarantura style gatefold with color and black and white photographs of both studio and concert settings, a small advertisement for the concert is on the back. The cds have pictures also, disc one Ozzy and disc 2 has Tony Iommi and both have the caption “Original Soundboard recording”. Tarantura’s metal releases so far have been great, giving us unheard jems like their Iron Maiden 1981 and Judas Priest 1978 shows I cannot say enough how nice it is to see a label producing great titles to the collecting community. If you do not own a copy of this show or are a collector wanting a beautifully packaged version of this show do yourself a favor and find a copy of this. Why Black Sabbath has not officially released this show is beyond me, the performance is staggering and must be heard at loud volumes. A Must HaveIf you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)