Bark At The Tokyo (Zodiac 064)
Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan – July 6, 1984
(51:04) I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Over The Mountain, Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel, Bark At The Moon, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Band Introductions, Suicide Solution incl. Guitar Solo, Flying High Again, Iron Man
The latest Ozzy release from Zodiac features an incomplete soundboard recording from the Japanese leg of the Bark at The Moon tour. For me it is notable due to the fact the band would be a three piece unit as keyboard extraordinare Don Airey was forced to leave the tour due to the death of his mother. This is the first silver release of this show from this source, there has been a CD-R release of the audience recording of this date called Bark At The Audience (No Label). Collectors know that there have been a couple of releases from this tour, Definitive Barks (No Label) documents the June 29 show in Tokyo and Jake Bark (Calm & Storm 034) documents the July 7 Tokyo show.
The soundboard featured here is incomplete, it is missing Centre Of Eternity, the Tommy Aldridge drum solo, Crazy Train and Paranoid. The sound is excellent, well balanced but very bare boned, the audience is virtually non existent thus the atmosphere is somewhat lacking. The performance is great, musically the band is a tight unit and although they are down a member they play without reserve. The recording begins with the final seconds of the Carmina Burana opener and the band hits with I Don’t Know and Ozzy demands “Clap your F***ing hands” and “I Wanna Drive You Crazy”. It is interesting to hear Jake’s tone in such clarity, he seems to have an effect he is using during certain parts that offer a bit of keyboard like sound to the mix. One of the highlights of the tape is Jake’s intro to Mr. Crowley, he plays the familiar keyboard intro on guitar, while the audience source on Jake Bark is very good I have always wanted to hear it with greater detail, now we can.
“Do we have any rock n roll rebels? Well lets go Over The Mountain” Hell yeah! A very rare 1984 version of Over The Mountain is played, Jake is simply smoking on this song. He nails the solo and together with Tommy Aldridge’s incredible drumming make for an incredible version of the classic. Two tracks from the Bark At The Moon record follow, Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel is the first. Ozzy turns a great vocal for the song, at the time he was living them, there was no such thing as bad media coverage but this song shows the pressure did weigh on him. Jake lays waste to the place with his solo, Ozzy’s use of vocal effects on the chorus in cool to hear also. The title track follows, frenzied riff comes from the blistering finger tips of Jake, curious to hear as Ozzy does not do the Bark At The Moon chorus but leaves it for the audience to do.
Another highlight of this set is Revelation (Mother Earth), usually a Gothic keyboard tour de force, this stripped down version is most interesting and a pleasure to hear in this quality. Jake shows his versatility by adding some arpeggios to fill in the open space to great effect. The band do not play the keyboard section but move into the heavy segment and bring the song to a heavy yet blistering conclusion, they flow right into the fast and rollicking Steal Away (The Night). Ozzy takes a minute to introduce the band and acknowledges Don Airey’s absence, Jake gets a loud ovation as Ozzy speaks his name and Suicide Solution. The song is the vehicle for a band jam and guitar solo, Ozzy does get a bit of audience participation prior to the band jam. The band jam is a slight variation to the one Randy Rhoads used, the lack of keyboards certainly makes for a different listening experience, it does allow Jake to free form to great effect and he lights up his frets and the final notes he plays sound like a demonic fog rising from the fog laden mores, brilliant! He moves back into the Suicide Solution reprise and the whole band jams the hell out of the finally. As the song ends the tape cut that eliminates Centre Of Eternity is present so the next thing we here is Ozzy asking for a round of applause for Tommy as his drum solo is sadly not present also.
The last two songs on the recording start with Flying High Again, Ozzy’s vocals sound a bit weak, perhaps he is missing the keys as they usually backed up his vocals during the chorus. Jake plays the solo virtually note for note ala Randy and the whole song is a musical triumph. The familiar drum intro for Iron Man quickly follows, Ozzy attempts another crowd interaction segment but it does not appear to get off the ground, he then uses a heavy vocal effect for the “I Am Iron Man” that is quite interesting. Tommy drums the living hell out of this song coupled with Jake’s superb playing make for an exciting rendition of the song, the song fades and the recording is over. Too bad the remainder of the concert is not present as it is, up to this point, a highly enjoyable performance.
The packaging features Bark At The Moon graphics and Ozzy in the Werewolf regalia pictures from the era, there is also a sticker included and is housed in a jewel case. I would have liked to seen the audience source included in this set, even though it is merely average in quality it would have been a nice addition. Nonetheless this is an excellent release, I love Ozzy 1980-86 and this release is highly recommended, great job by Zodiac.
Thanks for the detailed review. This did deserve a silver release, having previously been a bonus CDR. Myself, I’m pleased they did *not* add the audience source, as the price would have been bumped up for a sub-standard recording.