Nassau Coliseum 1981 (Zodiac 251)
Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, NY, USA – August 14, 1981
(63:47) Carmina Burana, I Don’t Know, Crazy Train, Believer, Mr. Crowley, Flying High Again, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Drum Solo, Suicide Solution, Guitar Solo, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
The folks at the Zodiac label have recently released a couple recordings documenting the 2nd leg of Ozzy Osbourne’s Blizzard Of Ozz North American tour in the summer of 1981. The buzz around the band during this time frame was electric, being a young Hard Rock aficionado, the OZZ Man ruled supreme with his outlandish persona and his band featuring the incredible guitarist Randy Rhoads. I was hooked and had both the Blizzard Of Ozz on cassette as well as a live recordings of one of the King Biscuit Flower Hour recordings. The 2nd leg of the tour would feature the up and coming Def Leppard in the opening slot, the young British band was riding a wave of popularity at my High School as the High N Dry record was quite popular.
This new release documents the bands stop in Uniondale, Long Island in the summer of 1981 and since they were in a large market, the Joe Perry Project was added to the bill. The recording featured on this release is a very good audience recording source from KRW-CO 1st Gen source shared freely on the web. It is clear, very well balanced with all instruments and vocals being clearly heard in the mix. It is slightly distant but there is virtually no hiss and just a small amount of distortion and sounds great at loud volumes, there are a few comments from the audience and the atmosphere is well captured. The set list is standard for this period, the playing is typically superb.
Carmina Burana is the standard Ozzy prelude music, I Don’t Know is the official opening number, Randy’s iconic riff is sharp as a razor as the band is met with a loud ovation, Ozzy says “C’mon’ and the audience instantly starts clapping and sing along with the chorus. Crazy Train raises the energy level up, it is nice to sit back and just marvel at Randy’s playing, he was always spot on but he is really on for this concert. Ozzy plugs the forthcoming Diary Of A Madman as he introduces Believer and encourages the audience to clap along. This is a typically raucous New York audience, you hear an M-80 go off just after the keyboard intro and the audience just cheers. Such was Randy’s talent he had no issues repeating his iconic solos night after night, here he’s playing a bit faster and adding notes as he wishes while not overplaying a thing, during his second solo Lindsey Bridgewater can do nothing but add a bit of simple color as the blond Axe hero flies overhead….superb version of the classic.
Another new song Flying High Again is next, one of the better live versions and the band sound very in sync with each other, an important factor for the song. The next couple songs are always set highlights for me, beginning with the English Gothic on Revelation (Mother Earth). Obviously developed from Randy’s classical music influences, again Bridgewater does an adequate job of playing the complex notes of the original, it’s like he gets done and Randy enters as if to push him out of the way as he rips into the heavy riff then literally tears your head off with his solo and I had to pick my jaw off the floor! Of course the band go right into Steal Away, it does as if the taper slightly changes his position as the bass is distorting just a bit. The song fades for a tape flip at the 3:34 mark just as the song is winding down, only a few seconds are missing of Ozzy introducing Tommy, when it fades back it is at the very beginning of his solo. What a solo, Tommy Aldridge is a fricking monster with his thundering drumming hammering the audience the entire performance!
Suicide Solution follows and as usual is a set highlight as it is the vehicle for Randy’s solo, like his playing the entire concert, he seems to add an extra punch of intensity to his icon solo, one that for me is as iconic as Van Halen’s Eruption. Ozzy tells the audience they are finishing with some Sabbath material and demands the cheer, they do not meet his expectations so he tells them to “kick the guy next to you in the balls”, needless to say they get it right! Iron Man has some cool little flourishes from Randy who leaves his stamp all over the classic. Children Of The Grave quickly follows fast and furious, again Randy’s solo is just killer, starting slow and then just lets it rip as the audience is in hysteria. Paranoid finishes the concert as the audience screams their heads off, the Madman has certainly whipped them into a frenzy.
The packaging has color inserts housed in a jewel case featuring a gray wash of an out take of the Blizzard Of Ozz cover, Ozzy holding the cross, the rear insert has the same effect of the famous picture of the band at Disneyworld inline for Space Mountain. The interior pictures feature a posed shot and a great live shot of Ozzy pulling Randy’s hair! Oh let’s not forget the numbered sticker as well. Great recording and performance make for a title worth seeking out.
Thanks for the review.