Hyde Park 2014 The Last Ever Gig (Zodiac 071)
Hyde Park, London, UK – July 4, 2014
Disc 1 (39:36) War Pigs, Into The Void, Snowblind, Age Of Reason, Black Sabbath
Disc 2 (55:32) Behind The Wall Of Sleep, Bassically / N.I.B., Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad / Drum Solo, Iron Man, God Is Dead?, Children Of The Grave, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Paranoid
In June of 2013 Black Sabbath released their first studio record with Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s Never Say Die, sure we had a couple songs on 1999’s Reunion live set, but this was the real deal. The record would not be a complete reunion of the original band as drummer Bill Ward would not play on the record, he says it was a dispute over money, the others say Bill was not in shape to do the record. Past all the drama the record was a success reaching the top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic, and for me the album was a very solid release and I was extremely satisfied with the results. The tour was relatively short as Guitarist Tony Iommi is battling cancer, but the band did manage to hit Australia, South America, and Europe with the largest amount of dates being in the United States. I was lucky enough to catch one of these concerts and loved it, the band played great and the set list was awesome.
The cumulative date of the tour would find the band playing an open air gig at London’s famed Hyde Park, the site of many famous concerts in Rock and Roll history. The band would play on a bill that included opening slots by Motorhead and Soundgarden and attracted a respectable audience of 55,000 punter. Rumors ran rampant that this was to be the band’s final concert, something the band did not address until after the concert where Tony Iommi clearly stated that it was not. The source used for this release is a very distant audience recording, you can clearly hear the music off in the distance but unfortunately you also get alot of audience noise, casual conversations and the like. When the audience screams for the actual music is over powers the music nicely. It is an outside gig so you do get the occasion swirling effect. There was a sizeable VIP section at this gig so one can reasonable assume this came from the general admission area at the rear.
The song selection was basic, they play a shorter set than they had played on the regular tour, omitting one or two of the newer songs as well as the rarities. The band’s playing, as to be expected, is impeccably great, and Ozzy’s voice is in fine shape. Without going into a lengthy review lets get to the meat and potatoes, this recording is a rough listen, the audience interference just never goes away and while I made it through the whole concert, when I see the title on the shelf, I never think about putting it on for a listen. If this concert does turn out to be the band’s live farewell, this title would take on historical significance but for now I must categorize it as being for seasoned collectors and hard core fans. If you want a great release from this tour Celebration Gathering (Zodiac 55) is what you want, the recordings are great and you get a much longer set to boot.
The packaging is typically wonderful Zodiac, Master Of Reality style fonts with art work beautifully adorned with live shots of the gig as well as a small shot of the event poster. The Cd’s have pictures on them, both the same featuring the cover shot of Ozzy, all in all a great looking package. I knew going in that the audio was not all that great, this confirms it, not one for the casual collector or fans.
Thanks once again for the honest and valuable review. A recent title also very much worth obtaining is Shades’ “Live at O2” from Sabbath’s phenomenal December 10, 2013 show in London. It is an excellent recording of an equally excellent show. One can only hope that they continue on, given how rejuvenated and powerful they sound.