Palladium 1981 1st Show (Zodiac 254)
Palladium, New York, NY, USA – May 2, 1981
(65:06) Carmina Burana, I Don’t Know, Crazy Train, Believer, Mr. Crowley, Flying High Again, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Drum Solo, No Bone Movies, Suicide Solution, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
In Rudy Sarzo’s excellent Off The Rails book, his first hand remembrance of his time playing in Ozzy Osbourne’s band, he recalls going sight seeing with Randy Rhoads during their off time in New York City just prior to the bands two concerts in early May 1981. He talks of taking a glass bottom helicopter ride over Manhattan and seeing iconic landmarks like the Empire State Building, Central Park, Yankee Stadium and the famous venue, Madison Square Garden, a place Randy had dreamt of one day playing. Sarzo also notes how New York audiences are something special and that the two shows in one day were two of the best concerts they played on that tour. This new release from Zodiac documents the first of the two shows performed on May 2, 1981.
The first show has several know sources, most importantly is the video that has several snippets seen on the 30 Years After The Blizzard DVD that came with the Blizzard Of Ozz 30th Anniversary Deluxe Box Set. It looked to be shot by the crew from probably the soundboard area and is excellent and rare footage. It is from the first show as an audience video of the first 20 minutes of the second show circulates and Ozzy is wearing a white shirt, so it’s easy to attribute the 30 Years source to the first gig. There are two audience recordings of the first show, the one featured here is, like the Nassau Coliseum (Zodiac 251) release, sourced from the recently excavated KRW-CO 1st gen recording that circulated on the web. There is a second audience source, one that is very good but completely flat and lacks dynamics, this recording was released as Complete Palladium (Langley-215), a Pro CDR title that featured recordings of early and late shows.
This recording is rough and at best lands in the fair to good category. The vocals are well in the mix, the drums are fairly audible as is the guitar with the bass being mostly lost in the mix. Distortion is present in both the lower and top end sometimes making the instruments difficult to discern, what the recording does do, is capture the electricity of the event so while the music is average you get the feeling of being trapped in a crazy New York crowd!
The performance is excellent, the set list is typical for this era, classics from the first record with a couple new songs from Diary as well as the Sabbath classics to end the show. Amid the distortion you can here the band firing on all cylinders, and Ozzy is excited to be back in New York City, during the Carmina intro he tells the audience “I’m back with a fucking vengeance…are you ready to Rock and roll?…it’s been a long time New York but I’m back” and he gets a huge ovation as the audience is pumped to the max. There are a couple of rare things on this recording, first off we get a 1981 American tour version of No Bone Movies, a song rarely played and it should be noted that there is a splice with the Langley recording inserted for the end of the drum solo to the first 10 seconds of Movies, the edit is seamless. The second thing is that due to time constraints of playing two shows in one day, Randy did not do a solo spot in Suicide Solution.
The packaging is similar to the Nassau release, gray wash covers with the photo of Ozzy pulling Randy’s hair re used for the back sleeve. The CD has a picture on it and there is the collectable sticker. The recording is rough and does not, for me, warrant repeated listening’s, in fact I have listened only twice and cannot see myself listening to it again, one for the obsessive collector only.