Black Sabbath – Dayton 1972 50th Anniversary Edition (Zodiac 526)

Dayton 1972 50th Anniversary Edition (Zodiac 526)

Hara Arena, Dayton, OH, USA – July 15, 1972

(58:28) Tomorrow’s Dream, Sweet Leaf, Snowblind, War Pigs, Under The Sun, Iron Man, Wicked World, Guitar Solo (incl. Orchid), Wicked World (reprise), Wheels Of Confusion, Embryo / Children Of The Grave, Paranoid

Well this is a most interesting release if I might say, one rather unexpected. To my knowledge this is the first silver release of Black Sabbath’s excellent Dayton 1972 recording culled from very early in the touring cycle for Vol. 4. There has been a previous CD-R title of this this recording, Dayton 1972 Definitive Master (No Label 2014) that was done some time ago, but for some reason a silver title has eluded this recording for what should be considered an essential Black Sabbath recording. First off a bit of history, the tour to support Vol. 4 began with a two month North American jaunt which most likely started July 7, 1972 in Wildwood, NJ and ended at the Hollywood Bowl on September 15. There were two dates scheduled after the Bowl that were cancelled due to Tony Iommi certainly suffering from exhaustion. Curiously, the Vol. 4 record would be released after the tour was over, September 25, so some of the music played would be foreign to the audience, based upon the few recordings from this tour, the crowds were bonkers for the band.

This title is reported to be from a 1st Gen tape with mastering by Graf Zeppelin, a common selling point in many new titles, the recording falls into the very good range, the mix favors the vocals, guitar, and drums with Geezer’s bass being just a tad low in the mix. There is a touch of tape hiss and a bit of distortion, both of which should be almost expected. It sounds like it was recorded pretty close to the action, there is a bit of crowd noise which only adds to the atmosphere in the recording and event. The recording has a nice frequency range and sounds good when played loud, which is where it should be played and the taper paused the recording between the songs to conserve tape so the banter is mostly cut. For fans and scholars of Black Sabbath recordings, many years ago there used to be an excellent website, sabbathlive, that was run by Rob Dwyer. This site was an incredible resource that has never been filled, thankfully some of his notes have survived, I managed to find this on a download of this Dayton recording: 

Very good, but somewhat flawed audience recording. There are some cuts between songs (presumably done by the taper during the show) and during the intro for “Iron Man”. Earlier copies of this show that I owned were very muted and muddy sounding. But after hearing a digital clone of the master tape, I am revising my previous judgment of the Dayton ’72 show (which was ‘good at best’). There is much more treble in the original recording than I had been able to hear in the higher generation dubs. In fact, the only instrument that seemed a bit low in the mix was the bass. Ozzy’s vocals are clear, Tony’s guitar rings through and Bill’s drums are all right there in the mix.

Sabbath is playing well here at the beginning of their U.S. tour to promote VOLUME 4. Dayton ’72 contains the earliest recorded live versions of “Under The Sun” and “Wheels Of Confusion” currently in circulation. “Under The Sun” is performed here at a brisker tempo than the studio version. Iommi’s live arrangement of his multi-tracked guitar solo is well executed, leaving us all to wonder WHY they didn’t play this song at more shows? Also, Dayton ’72 features the ONLY complete live version of “Wheels Of Confusion” out there, as opposed to the cut version which is on the Hollywood Bowl 9/15/72 tape. 

The recording begins with the second track from Vol. 4, Tomorrow’s Dream much to the delight of the audience, Ozz gives a good evening before the tape pause and afterwards the band plow into Sweet Leaf, there is a girl near the tape who’s screams give an idea of the excitement in the audience. The drums are very defined in the mix and we can enjoy Bill Ward’s excellent drumming which is expansive during Snowblind, Ozzy gets the audience to clap along during the fast section of the song. The band are well rehearsed with a very tight version of War Pigs. 

Under The Sun is brutal, as Rob Dwyer states, the tempo of the song is faster but it works perfectly, the band lock in under that massive Iommi riff, again Bill’s style of drumming makes this song swing and groove. There is some tape issues at the beginning of Iron Man as Ozzy is getting the audience clapping along to Bill’s intro drum beat that clears long before Tony hits the monster chord, This happens again at the 1:48 and 1:52 as well. The audience is energetic throughout, clapping along and generally digging the concert. Wicked World is killer and sounds very heavy when the band get into the heavy riff where Tony and Geezer lock in. Of course the song is a vehicle for improvisational jamming from the band, a bit of a blow. Tony gets into a furious burst which evolves into the haunting Orchid which is really beautiful. Tony goes from full on blistering to mellow to Jazz and back again effortlessly, it’s incredible listening to his dexterity and flexibility. 

“Tony Iommi on lead guitar thank you very much…We’d like to carry on with a number off our new album again, it’s a number entitled Wheels Of Confusion” to moderate applause and a brief tape pause as it seems to take a minute to get together. The opening song from Vol. 4 is a showcase song for the band as it has almost a Jazz fusion feel version the heavy tones of much of the record. It also has interesting time changes to it as the band are certainly getting into the beginning of the Prog era which certainly culminates on their next album Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Tony plays Embryo while the audience clap excitedly for Children Of The Grave, once the band kick in and Ozzy tells everybody get high as they storm along full force, band and audience. This fever pitch is tenfold as the band return for the standard encore of Paranoid, fast and furious, ending a monster performance. 

The Zodiac art work is a play off Vol. 4 album cover which is expected, the rest is a combination of posed and live shots, the cover insert opens up into that great shot of the band on a bench with Ozz holding a rubber chicken, shenanigans were certainly abound. This is an excellent release for Sabbath and Metal fans. 

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