Angel & Demon (Shades 202)
Mecca Auditorium Milwaukee, WI – January 22nd, 1982
(79:14) Diary Of A Madman Intro, Over The Mountain, Mr. Crowley, Crazy Train, Revelation Mother Earth, Steal Away The Night, Suicide Solution, Guitar Solo, Drum Solo, Goodbye To Romance, I Don’t Know, No Bone Movies, Believer, Flying High Again, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
As I awaited the re-release of Ozzy Osbourne’s classic first two records I found myself listening non stop to solo Ozzy and Black Sabbath in anticipation. In my early teens Ozzy was a god, I devoured the Blizzard Of Ozz cassette and marveled at his phenomenal new guitar player Randy Rhoads. My first exposure to Live Ozzy was from the King Biscuit Flower Hour that I taped off the radio like I did so many other bands like Black Sabbath and The Outlaws, needless to say I wore the tape out.
Then along came Diary Of A Madman, a record that took it to a whole new level, both musically and visually with songs like Tonight and SATO I was hooked for life, he even played the area in Western Michigan where I lived at the time but there was no way in hell my parents would let me attend (that concert did eventually show up on bootleg form as Still Believer Kalamazoo Mi. on the Shout To The Top Record). The concert featured here is from the Mecca Auditorium in Milwaukee, (incidentally the site of a riot at a Black Sabbath concert after some idiot threw an object at Geezer Butler splitting his forehead open, the band cannot continue and the crowd took over).
Sound wise it is a very good audience recording, very little audience disturbance around the taper and when it occurs it only adds to the mayhem, once the recording settles in all instruments can be clearly heard and are well balanced. The band is in excellent form and can probably be considered the classic line up of Rhoads, Sarzo, Aldridge, and Airey backing up Osbourne. The recording starts with the Diary intro before the band rips into Over The Mountain, the sound during the first part of this song suffers from some phasing, probably due to the taper moving (or being moved) but just before the guitar solo it clears up nicely.
By now the volume of the player should be at a LOUD volume, no tape hiss here of excessive mastering the recording sounds great and atmospheric. The band heads right into Mr Crowley with Randy hitting the solo out of the park and audience go crazy for Crazy Train before settling down for Revelation Mother Earth. The song structure reminds me of the song Black Sabbath, slow to start Ozzy’s vocals are in great shape by now and Don Airey plays a beautiful solo then Randy hits with that huge riff and blistering dramatic solo, this is of course followed by Steal Away.
Ozzy has the crowd in his hand, you can hear them clapping in time with the rollicking music and the song gets a huge ovation upon its completion. Ozzy introduces the next song with “This is the place that makes the best beer I’m told !” Very little reaction from the crowd in reference to the Old Milwaukee brand beer, if you ever drank it you know what I mean. He then introduces Suicide Solution the bands vehicle for individual solo’s and a chance for Ozzy to take a breather. Ozzy demands crowd participation as the band slows it down as they start getting into the instrumental groove that proceeds the solos, Randy and Don exchange “licks”, Rhoads was so fast and clear in his playing, he truly knew how to structure a solo, short and precise there is no over playing that leads into a band jam that separates his solo from the drum solo, again they play in unison similar to Blackmore and Lord did.
After a thundering Aldridge drum solo the Suicide reprise gently leads into Goodbye To Romance with Ozzy demanding the audience to “Clap Your Hands!”. The ballad about his break with Black Sabbath, Randy plays the signature melodic guitar perfectly and mixes with Don keyboards but there is no time to get mellow, the band hits it with I Don’t Know and Ozzy demanding that “Everybody go fucking nuts !”. Tommy Aldridge drums come through perfectly, his fill hit you like a ton of bricks, there is some issues with sound during this song, almost as if the taper is repositioning his mic/recorder or holding it down, you can still clearly hear it is not as crisp and clears up by Randy’s solo.
Ozzy is relentless at this point, he demands the crowd goes crazy and when he gets the desired reaction the band plays No Bone Movies, just a plain rock and roll tune and so easy to see how Randy gave Ozzy musical freedom compared to Black Sabbath, again the band is playing extremely tight, the latter part of the song the music just flows effortlessly…..great stuff.
“Rock and Roll is my religion ! Do you want to be converted ?” is the opening to two tracks from the Diary record, the first is Believer one of the heavier tracks and one you could actually hear Sabbath playing, slower of course and Randy superbly plays one of my favorite solos. The second is Flying High Again, the song that was heavily played on WLAV FM, the local rock station in Grand Rapids.
Again there beginning of the song sounds slightly duller but soon clears up, again Randy plays the signature solo spot on and the crowd roars their approval. The oldies part of the show is next, Ozzy makes the crowd go crazy for the Sabbath stuff and eggs them on until he gets the desired response and Iron Man is the reward but it when the band transitions into Children Of The Grave that things really heat up.
Starting Ozzy asking if they crowd again wants to “Go Fucking Crazy” and wants to see the crowd jumping up and down on their seat the band rips into the 1971 classic. Randy is on fire and Ozzy gives him free reign to interpret the song as he wants, adding small licks here and there, breathing new life into the song, by this time of you are not head banging and playing air guitar you are deaf ! About halfway through Randy’s solo he just lets loose and you can here a guy in the audience cheering him on, outstanding !
A quick break and the band is back for the encore, of course Paranoid finishes the set, the audience, and listener off. Again Randy play the song how he wants and actually sounds like he enjoys playing the song, a fantastic end to a fantastic concert. It is hard to believe how good this band was, special kudos must go to Ozzy, it was just two days before this gig that the infamous bat biting incident took place and by this point was getting regular rabies injection treatments.
The packaging is full color relevant photos from the era and great graphics all packaging in a slim lined jewel case. This is my first release by the Shades label and not only am I impressed with the release I can recommend it easily, a brilliantly played concert in with great packaging. TURN THIS UP LOUD !