Cry Wolf Stockholm 1983 (Zodiac 527)
Draken, Stockholm, Sweden – December 6, 1983
(72:19) Carl Off “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 (incl. Guitar Solo), Center Of Eternity, Drum Solo, Flying High Again, Iron Man, Crazy Train, Paranoid
Always nice to see a new Bark At The Moon era concert making the rounds in the collectors market. I was more than pleased with the Bethlehem 1984 (Zodiac 434) Zodiac released last year, great packaging and excellent sound. For this new release the folks at Zodiac present the excellent audience recording from Stockholm December 6, 1983. This is a mostly well balanced, clear and detailed recording that is a bit thin, sounding typical for audience recordings from this period. There was a previous bootleg title released as a double vinyl LP, Cry Wolf (Schizo Records LSSW-198-312 0456) back in 1983, I bought a copy of this LP a few years back at a local record store.
The Zodiac label has used an excellent transfer of this LP and has added some mastering to help give it a bit of bottom and better treble. This is where this label went wrong as none of the added boosts have improved the already excellent recording, to my ears they have made it a more difficult listen specifically in the additional treble. The cymbals and the very highs are much worse and at times the increase causes distortion in the top end. Having done a side by side with the vinyl it is my opinion that the additional mastering is not justified or needed. All that was needed is a good transfer, a bit of click and pop removal and possibly a sound level balance, that’s it. For me to truly enjoy, I find that turning down the treble makes for an easier, less grating and fatiguing listen.
The performance is excellent and features the initial touring line up of Ozzy, Jake E Lee on guitar, Bob Daisley on bass, Don Airey on keys, and former Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and Beck Bogert, and Appice drummer extraordinaire Carmine Appice on drums. The recording is complete and captures the moment the lights go down and the fans begin chanting “Ozzy…Ozzy” while the Carmina Burana intro is started. The band hit the stage with I Don’t Know, I absolutely love Bob Daisley’s bass playing, it is nice and clear in this recording, Jake is just a tad low in the mix and the keys are high in the mix for the first few songs which gives an interesting listen. Don adds notes that back up Ozzy’s vocals which I find really interesting. Jake plays a great solo in Mr. Crowley, love his playing and his takes on the classic Randy material.
“A couple of new tunes off my new album…” is Ozzy’s intro for Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel and Bark At The Moon. The band play really high energy versions of these songs, Carmine adds a lot of flair and bombast to these numbers without overdoing it. Jake is stellar, his riffing is heavy and his leads are simply furious, Bob lays down killer bass as usual. A double dose of Bark material is followed by a double dose of Blizzard material with Revelation and Steal Away, this tour would be the swan song for these two numbers, absolute favorites of mine. Ozzy introduces Jake E Lee first then the rest of the band and finally introducing Suicide Solution, the standard song for a bit of an instrumental band jam. While Jake never gets a proper solo spot, his playing during the band jam is really good, lots of different style from fast to bluesy plus a bit of Hendrix style dive bombs thrown in. I find the band jam a really enjoyable portion and strong sequence.
Ozzy introduces Center Of Eternity under its European name Forever which is cool to hear, the pitch sounds as if the recording is running just a tad fast, almost speed metal. Carmine gets a solo spot and it’s great. This man is the real deal and brings it with a powerful showcase of his percussive skills. I had the pleasure of meeting him in Detroit years back at a Cactus concert, got the whole band to sign my ticket stub, was definitely a highlight of the night. Flying High Again is cool, Jake’s plays an interesting take on the riff I quite like, Iron Man follows and gets the audience into it, they chant in a way only the European fans can, vocalizing the guitar riff. Ever the master front man is encouraging the fans to chant and clap, he does love us all. The song segues into Crazy Train and for a minute it looses a bit of momentum but this is quickly fixed and the band get into the song turning in a great version to end the set. The sole encore is Paranoid ending a very enjoyable concert.
The packaging is up to the typical Zodiac standards, this time they use mostly promotional shots of Ozzy the wolf plus a couple live shots of the whole band. Carmine gets featured on the numbered sticker which is really cool. Great performance with sub par mastering is the tale of this title, while certainly not any improvement in sound I love this era of Ozzy and am glad to have a CD title of this concert in my collection.