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Ozzy Osbourne – Bethlehem 1984 (Zodiac 434)

Bethlehem 1984 (Zodiac 434) 

Stabler Arena, Bethlehem, PA, USA – January 17, 1984 

(71:26) Carmina Burana, I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel, Bark At The Moon, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Band Introductions, Suicide Solution, Center Of Eternity, Drum Solo, Flying High Again, Iron Man, Crazy Train, Paranoid

There were a few Ozzy recordings that began to show up on a well known tracker over the past 10 months that were fresh transfers of the master cassettes of taper luvsufo via the KRW-CO collective. These recordings were Binghamton, NY April 13, 1982. Bethlehem, PA April 18, 1986 and the recording featured on this new release from Zodiac, Bethlehem, NY January 17, 1984. All three of these recordings are very good to excellent although the 1984 recording is the only one to be released on compact disc. 

While the original torrents do not identify the gear luvsufo used, it was certainly quality gear as previously stated, the sound of this recording is near excellent. First, all instruments and vocals are clear in the mix with near perfect balance, if anything the sound favors the middle to upper frequency range. There is just a touch of distortion that sound like it’s coming from the top end yet virtually no tape hiss. The taper was close to the action and there is enough audience to give you that crazy atmosphere without being overpowering, this recording demands to be played loud for maximum effect. 

This show is a week into the Bark At The Moon North American tour and features Carmine Appice who would leave the tour a month after this concert. Jake E Lee was the guitarist and original Blizzard Of Ozz bassist Bob Daisley and keyboard extraordinaire Don Airey rounded out Ozzy’s band. Ozzy played a standard setlist through this tour, I Don’t Know and Mr Crowley are the opening tracks from Ozzy first record followed by two from Bark At The Moon, Rock ‘N’ Roll Rebel and the title track, Jake is a phenomenal player and he is riff happy in I Don’t Know and its werewolf son Bark At The Moon. I like his leads too, on the Rhoads material he plays them similar to the originals while interjecting his style and on his stuff he lets loose. Carmine’s drumming is interesting during Revelation (Mother Earth), he plays more of a straight beat and adds a lot of fills that while interesting, give the first half of the song a different feel. That’s what I like about Carmine, he plays the song how he feels, that why he is there as his active drums fills add to the rollicking chaos of Steal Away (The Night). 

Jake gets his solo spot as part of a band jam during Suicide Solution, I enjoy Jake’s playing and while I enjoy this jam, would have loved to hear Jake circa 1984 have a true solo spot similar to Randy’s on the Diary tour. There is a cut due to tape flip so the end of Suicide goes into Ozzy introducing Carmine and Journey To The Center Of Eternity. Love the intro to this song, the recording perfectly picks up the tolling bell and monk like chant moaning intro followed by Don’s church organ, so atmospheric. Center Of Eternity, aka Forever is one of my favorites from the excellent Bark At The Moon wax. The song also gives a chance for Carmine Appice to show his skills, he knows how to work the audience and his drumming and pacing of his solo is excellent and quite enjoyable, big fan of Carmine especially his stuff with Cactus in the early 70’s, just phenomenal. The post drum solo reprise leads into an excellent version of the Diary classic Flying High Again. 

No Ozzy concert would be complete without a nod to his past beginning with Iron Man, the Sabbath classic was a constant during the early to mid 80’s and in previous years it was linked with Children Of The Grave, the heavy into the fast. Starting in 1984 Iron Man would be fused with Blizzard Of Ozz classic Crazy Train, the heavy into fast has not been compromised. Crazy Train brings out the loonies and Ozzy expects full audience participation, they do their best helping with the chorus. The final encore is the stalwart Sabbath classic, Paranoid and comes with one condition, the audience goes crazy. Well my friends the audience, and listener, are up for the task. Jake plays the hell out of Paranoid, he plays the main riff similar to the US Festival and his solo is manic and exciting. Ozz has time for a bit of crowd participation in shouting “Hey” when prompted, they put some balls into it and get as loud as they can paying homage to the Madman. Ozzy says goodnight and the recording ends…an excellent concert. Nice to see a new Ozzy silver title coming out that is not an upgrade or rehash, seems like all the interesting Ozzy titles of late have been on CD-R. 

The artwork is similar to the other Zodiac Bark titles, they take full use of the Ozzy werewolf photos as well as shots of a full moon plus the official Bark font. The WereOzz and the band are on the CD and Carmine gets a solo shot on the numbered sticker. I am a sucker for 1980-1984 Ozzy so this title was going to be a no brainer, the great sound make it even more attractive. Now if they could just release the 1982 Binghamton show. 

If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)

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