Definitive Barks (No Label)
Koseinenkin Kaikan, Tokyo Japan – June 29, 1984
Disc 1 (79:04) Mixing Desk Recording – Disc 2 (79:31) Audience Recording
Carl Orff “Carmina Burana, I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel, Bark At The Moon, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Member Introduction, Suicide Solution inc. Guitar Solo, Keyboard Solo, Centre Of Eternity, Drum Solo, Flying High Again, Iron Man, Crazy Train, Paranoid
For the follow up studio record to Diary Of A Madman Ozzy had, once again, a new band. He drafted Guitar player Jake E Lee who did stints in such bands as Ratt and Rough Cutt (narrowly beating out future Dokken guitarist George Lynch for the Ozzy job) to join drummer Tommy Aldridge and Keyboard extraordinare Don Airey.
To get the project moving he brought back Bob Daisley to do the bass chores and help with the writing. The result was the Bark At The Moon record released in December 1983, a world tour was to follow but not before changes were made again, this Tommy Aldridge was out and legendary sticks man Carmine Appice took over the drum stool. Mid tour Carmine was sacked and Aldridge was back in and would finish the tour, his last with Ozzy.
This release has the band during the Japanese tour in the summer of 1984, just under a month before the band would play at the massive Donnington Festival in support of AC/DC. The set features both an excellent sound board direct from the mixing desk, superbly mixed with all instruments being well balanced but is what people refer to as bare bones, the audience is far in the background and barley heard, in fact if it were not for the second disc you would presume it to be a rather low key affair. The audience recording is very good, slightly distant but clear and very enjoyable and gives the feeling of being in the heart of the crowd. There is shouting and clapping but does not interfere and overall has great vibe and ambiance as the crowd is rowdy and rambunctious and ready to go …..CRAZY !
The band is in suburb form and give a tight and professional performance, The crowd is with them from the get go, after the Carmina intro the band hit the stage with a fast and furious I Don’t Know, the audience is in a singing mood and help Ozzy with the chorus, hard to hear on the SB but sounds great on the audience recording, the sound improves greatly during the song and is consistent throughout the set.
The band waste no time and follow with Mr. Crowley, Jake E Lee is a great guitar player, he has no problems playing the songs Randy Rhoads made poplar maintaining the familiar theme but adding his own flair to them and the song is perfect vehicle to do so, he plain smokes on the outro solo (just as Randy had).
The band play two songs from the new record, the first being a autobiographical anthem Rock ‘N’ Rebel. The song feature some nice fast riffing that was a Jake trademark, again the crowd handles the backing vocals, he rips up the fret board and garners cheers from the audience. Again there is little fan fare between songs, there must be a curfew as the band seems to be all business and the version of Bark At The Moon is played to the delight of the crowd, it is great to hear members of the audience scream “BARK AT THE MOON”, they are fanatical about the Ozzman.
The crowd gets to catch their breath as the band go into the solemn Revelation (Mother Earth), It is easy to picture the scene during the slow prelude as Don Airey plays his beautiful solo before the heavy part, the crowd just starts clapping and you can envision Ozzy leading them on, Jake nails the riff…the solo..the entire thing with his superb playing. Of course the go right into Steal Away and the fans are rested and ready to go and by this time are the like the sixth member of the band.
Ozzy takes a minute to introduce each member of his band, Jake gets loud applause, and they play a signature Ozzy classic Suicide Solution. Of course it features a solo spot for Jake but not before Ozzy does some major crowd…..calisthenics should we say. He has them clap and shout and clap and shout….a true master of his craft. Jake’s solo is short and consists of him playing leads over the rhythm section, I would have loved to hear a longer solo, his playing is unique and interesting and although it is short it satisfies none the less.
Up next is my favorite song from the record Journey To The Centre Of Eternity (called Forever on the European pressings), I love to keyboard intro superbly played by Don Airey, again the song features Jake’s strengths which is lightning fast riffs. From memory I believe the song was written about John Lennon’s untimely death, fans know what a huge influence The Beatles had on Ozzy. The song finishes with a drum solo by Tommy. At times the crowd is clapping so loud it drowns him out !
The crowd loves Tommy and respond to his solo and Ozzy’s “OOOWW….OOOWW” with passion. Iron Man is played, the truncated version of course, and has a great demonic sound vocal effect for the “I Am Iron Man” line at the beginning. The song has a nice slow tempo and sounds really heavy but just where they usually break into Children Of The Grave Ozzy shouts out for Crazy Train and Jake lays waste with a killer solo. Again the crowd is right there for Ozzy signature tune, the clap and sing and by now the whole thing is like a party of old friends.
The band returns for the encore of Paranoid and again it is Jake who really shines. I love his interpretation of the song from when I first heard him play it live during the radio broadcast of the US Festival the year before, at the time I would tape radio concerts like that one and the King Biscuit Flower Hour and listen over and over and this one is no different, in fact it is better and he just rips during the solo. Refer to the audience recording for the outro, they are like rabid dogs are they shout and clap “OZZY…OZZY…OZZY” until the houselights come up and announcements can be heard over the PA.
The packaging is simple fill color interests housed in a slim line jewel case, a no frills effective release of an excellent show from the classic Age of Ozzy. It is nice to have the sound board and audience recording in one place, they are so different it makes it all the more enjoyable and a wonderful document. Two thumbs up.