Black Sabbath – L.A. Forum 1971 (Zodiac 431)

L.A. Forum 1971 (Zodiac 431)

The Forum, Inglewood, CA, USA – February 23, 1971

(53:29) Introduction, Paranoid, N.I.B., War Pigs, Black Sabbath, Iron Man, Wicked World, Guitar solo (incl. Orchid), Wicked World (reprise), Fairies Wear Boots, Aftershow Conversation

Not only have The Dogs Of Doom collective unearthed several Led Zeppelin recordings, they are responsible for two Black Sabbath recordings. The first of these recordings features the band’s first appearance at the famed L.A. Forum where they were the opening act for Grand Funk Railroad. Black Sabbath was gaining serious momentum by this point, their second album, Paranoid, was released in the US in January 1971 followed by a two month tour of North America.

Based upon the original information from this recording, Robert Rich went to the Forum with a Craig recorder, a small handheld microphone, and pockets stuffed with C size batteries. The results are a very good recording that is clear and powerful but does, as one would expect, suffers from a bit of distortion. The sound is clear enough and all three instruments and vocals are easily discernible in the mix and other than a few comments from the taper, there is no real interference, the atmosphere inside the Forum is well captured.

Being the opening band they get a shorter set, the recording begins with the taper and his friends quietly chatting and the introduction is simple…”Ladies and Gentlemen Black Sabbath”. Paranoid is the opener followed by a lead break from Tony Iommi and the band break into a heavy version of N.I.B. Surprisingly the Forum crowd gives rather polite applause afterwards and Ozzy introduces War Pigs as being from the Paranoid LP, again to polite applause. Geezer’s bass has a distorted rumbling sound that lends to the heaviness of the performance, some in the audience begin to get into the performance. The instrumental Sabbath is playing with a tight precision that lends to the devastation, this folks, is powerful stuff.

After a focused version of Black Sabbath Ozzy tells the crowd “Let’s try and warm the place up, yeah, get your hands clapping or something” then after Bill starts the drum count in to Iron Man he yells “All right…everybody…clap your hands”, and there are some who follow Ozzy. Tough crowd, those Grand Funk fans. Interesting it’s Wicked World that summons the best response of the evening, the Tony lead jam sequence is focus and fluent, traits that seem to appeal to the audience. Fairies Wear Boots is the final song of the set and it’s a Bill Ward showcase, he has that swing to his style and interjects a lot of fills as well. The recording ends with the announcer telling the audience that it’ll be 15 minutes ‘til Grand Funk followed by the reactions of the taper and his friends to Sabbath’s performance who were obviously pleased with the concert…”Good bye from Robert Rich”.

The packaging is simple full color live and posed photographs of early Black Sabbath on the inserts, a shot of Ozzy is on the CD and the Paranoid cover art is used on the numbered sticker. Always glad to add some primo Black Sabbath to my collection.

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