Definitive Providence 1975 (Zodiac 344)
Civic Center, Providence, RI, USA – August 8, 1975
Disc 1 (42:56) Supertzar, Killing Yourself To Live, Hole In The Sky, Snowblind, Symptom Of The Universe, War Pigs, Megalomania
Disc 2 (56:20) Sabbra Cadabra, Jam, Sometimes I’m Happy, Drum Solo, Supernaut, Iron Man, Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath, Spiral Architect, Embryo / Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
I remember fondly the Dan Lampinski Archive downloads when they were first being released, each week a new recording would be torrented and the torrent sites would be abuzz with excitement. While one would assumed that the major acts, Queen, Pink Floyd, Yes…etc would soon be making their rounds in the collectors community, I was quite surprised that his 1975 Black Sabbath recording was never released on silver disc, even after the lesser quality February 21, 1974 Providence tape was released by the No Label folks. It took a few years but at long last, it’s finally here.
Dan Lampinski taped hundreds of shows in the 1970’s using three different equipment set ups, by 1975 his rig consisted of a Sony TC-152SD Tape Recorder, Sony ECM-99 Stereo Microphone, and Maxell cassettes. He also knew someone who could provide very good seats, and when you throw all these factors into the mix the result is an archive of mostly high quality audience recordings that rival the best of the 70’s taping Royalty, names like Millard, Hopkins, Maloney, Freezer, and Moore.
His recording of Black Sabbath is excellent, albeit slightly distant sounding, although he may have had his recording levels slightly lowered due to the volume onslaught Sabbath employed. Nonetheless, the vocals and instruments are clearly defined with a nice range of frequencies, certainly one of the best audience recordings from the tour. Dan also taped the opening act, KISS, who were touring in support of Dressed To Kill and played three concerts with Sabbath in early August, this recording was released as part of KISS The Lost Tapes (The Godfather Box G.R Box 12).
It had been two years since the last Black Sabbath album, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. The band had been embattled with former manager Patrick Meehan and there was much stress involved with the writing and recording of Sabotage. This venom would manifest itself on the closing track of the record, The Writ. Like Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage would feature a slightly progressive sound yet not as completed as its predecessor making it easier to translate to the stage. The recording begins with the instrumental opening song Supertzar as the band’s arrival onstage is announced “OK folks, will you welcome Black Sabbath”. Killing Yourself To Live was the opener on this tour, the enthused audience clap along. It is obvious the band is in killer form as evident by Tony Iommi’s lead playing, he nails the leads brilliantly.
Ozzy introduced Hole In The Sky to no fanfare, the Sabotage record had just been released a week prior to this gig and one can assume the audience was not familiar with the new material, this is confirmed by the round of applause for Snowblind. The addition of Gerald “Jezz” Woodruffe on keyboards helps to flesh out the band’s live sound, especially on the textured ending of Snowblind. The band hammer through another new song, the explosive Symptom Of The Universe, while the tempo is fast and heavy, the song has a swing to it, a deep groove and one attributes this to the Sabbath rhythm section.
Megalomania is one of two deep tracks from this tour, epic in length at ten minutes it was the longest song, sans medleys, that the band would play live. Geezer had said this song is intertwined with The Writ, the bands legal woes were certainly weighing heavily on them and reflected in their music. Live, the song certainly compliments the studio version, heavy as hell and lyrically complex, the chorus of “Why don’t you get out of my life…why doesn’t everybody leave me alone” are sung over a sorrowful Iommi riff. The audience is certainly into the song and clap along at a few points.
Like the previous tour Sabbra Cadabra is the prelude for the big band jam, after playing a straight forward version of the song they get into a funky jam with Geezer playing a wah pedal and other effects, Bill playing a simple beat and Tony soloing over the top. A bluesy Sometimes I’m Happy follows, the song would feature bluesy riffs and nonsensical lyrics, early versions evoking the song Changes. Bill’s drum solo is a monster, one forgets what a superb drummer he was, along with Ian Paice, one who certainly does not get his due. Supernaut had long been a part of these jams back as early as 1973 when it was in the Wicked World jam section, curiously never played in stand alone form yet very powerful. Bill does a quick drum fill to end the medley portion and leads the group into Iron Man.
Tony’s solo features the same movements as the previous years, the haunting style including Embryo followed by a bit of fast riffage and lightning fast leads that take us into Black Sabbath. This is followed with a wonderful version of the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath deep track Spiral Architect. This song is full on Prog goodness, the lyrics come from Geezer having writing block until a beautiful sunrise evoked the lyrical images to him, Woodruffe’s keys add that extra bit to flesh out the song proper…great stuff indeed. A smokin version of Children Of The Grave ends the set proper, fast and aggressive with that thundering bass, of course the encore is Paranoid…”What do you wanna hear?”, bringing an end to an excellent performance.
The packaging you ask? Full color inserts adorned with posed and live shots from the era, the cover picture is similar to what was used on a compilation album entitled Attention! Black Sabbath Vol. 2. The CD’s have the shot of Ozzy and Tony from Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert TV show… and don’t forget your sticker. A great looking package certainly worthy of such excellent subject matter. Recommended!If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)