The Spectrum, Philadelphia, PA, USA – September 18, 1986
Disc 1 (50:00) Opening, Carl Orff “Carmina Burana”, Bark At The Moon, Suicide Solution, Mr. Crowley, Shot On The Dark, I Don’t Know, Killer Of Giants, Guitar Solo, Thank God For The Bomb, Flying High Again
Disc 2 (31:32) Member Introduction, Secret Loser, Randy Castillo Solo – Secret Loser, Iron Man, Crazy Train, Paranoid
The latest Ozzy release from the folks at Zodiac features a superb concert from the last American Leg of the tour in support of The Ultimate Sin record. Metallica was not the opener for this leg, Queensryche had taken over the support duties and I remember being excited to see them when the tour came to Toledo just over a week after this concert was taped. I saw quite a few killer concerts at the Sport Arena in 86, the return of Alice Cooper and the insane Judas Priest / Krokus concert that was one of the best shows I have ever seen. What made these concerts so special just the vibe in the arena, when I first put on disc 1 of this new release I felt transported back in time. First off let’s get a little info on the recording, it is a very good audience recording that borders on excellent. All instruments and vocals are clearly defined saved for the bass that is buried in the mix, the recording also favors the middle and high frequencies with the bass drum adding the bottom end. There is a decent after amount of audience noise but it works in the recordings favor as it adds to the insanity of the listening experience, and for those who remember seeing Ozzy during this timeframe know he was playing to capacity audiences of rabid metal fans.
The recording begins with chants of “OZZY…OZZY…” and an announcer coming on and saying “ALL RIGHT YOU BUNCH OF FUCKING ROCK AND ROLL ANIMALS…” and the crowd goes insane to the point where the hair was standing up on the back of my neck. The feeling I get is what it was like inside the Sports Arena back then, Frisbee’s flying around, firecrackers being let off, people openly partying everywhere in the dank sweathouse building. The crowd continues to go nuts during the Carmina opening and for good reason, our Rock and Roll King was being lower to the stage on a fitting “throne”, the band launches into a blistering Bark At The Moon with the audience doing the choruses to great effect. Suicide Solution is next, the keyboards are clear in the mix and not for the better, they follow the guitar and to my ears sound rather out of place, the song is a straight forward version. During the intro to Mr Crowley you can clearly hear an audience member ask “Guys wanna get high ?….yeah far out”, as they partake the band plays a typically excellent version of the Rhoads classic, Jake adds a bit of his own distinct style while maintaining the melodic playing that Randy interjected into the song.
The band would play four songs from the Ultimate Sin record, the first was the first single, Shot In The Dark. Who could forget the cheesy video with the girl transforming into the Demoness on the record cover. Live the song fairs well, Ozzy is in great shape vocally making for a great version of the song. I Don’t Know begins with some on stage pyrotechnics, again like Suicide Solution, the keys are annoying and add nothing to the music but there are no worries one has to just focus on Jake’s excellent playing. The song serves as a prelude to the excellent Sin suite of Killer Of Giants > Guitar Solo > Thank God For The Bomb, with similar lyrical content, directly speaking to the world leaders still embedded in the Cold War the two songs work very well together. The mellow intro to Killer Of Giants and the slow dirge of the main riff beckons like a strange funeral march, the song leads into Jake’s solo and he lets loose. A real joy to listen to, the solo features a showcase of his style, from insanely fast leads to the melancholy as well as a band jam, similar to what Randy would do but completely Jake. His solo leads directly into Thank God For The Bomb, unlike the slow and ponderous Killer, this song is high energy metal, with a message and works extremely well live, complete with quite a few “bombs” to boot. “Alright Philadelphia clap your hands…is everybody high ?” is the prelude to Flying High Again, the song has an almost laid back vibe to it that is a bit different to previous tours, but it really works.
The second disc begins with Ozzy introducing the band, kind of weird keyboard player John Sinclair gets a small but nice round of applause and he’s not even onstage. The last of the new songs is next, take out the keys and Secret Loser is a smoking slab of metal with a great riff and chorus, Jake plays a killer solo and the song features a Randy Castillo drum solo, great, great drummer who had no trouble following the previous powerhouse of the drum kit, Tommy Aldridge. Randy was an incredible young and talented percussionist whose presence in hard rock / metal is certainly missed. A nod to Sabbath follows in the form of Iron Man, Ozzy gets into the obligatory audience participation briefly and the audience sings along with him for the majority of the song. The song is linked with Crazy Train, Jake plays a nice solo during the transition and the song is a good set ender. The chants of Ozzy start immediately and there is one encore, the obligatory Paranoid, Ozzy feeds of the audiences energy, telling them many times to go “fucking crazy…do what you want…go fucking berserk ” , from what it sounds like this audience did not need Ozzy’s permission as it is a wild Philly crowd. I really love the Jake versions of Paranoid, he had a distinct way of playing the riff I really dig. We get our first real taste of Phil Soussan’s playing as Ozzy leads the crowd through a “Hey” chant. The song ends but the crowd wants more, sadly the concert is finished but the audience keeps going for well over a minute and half until the taper hits the stop button.
Great concert by a band that would shortly be no more, Ozzy would again switch out members getting hot shot yet unknown Zakk Wylde on guitar while Jake would go on to form Badlands with former Sabbath singer Ray Gillen and we can remember for a while the Ozzy / Sabbath thing was almost like a soap opera.
Packaging is great mostly live shots of Ozzy and the band, the one on the inside cover is hilarious with Ozzy’s hair all poofed up in typical 80’s glam fashion. The CD’s have pictures on them, both the same, a live shot of Ozzy and there is the highly collectable numbered sticker. Great presentation and the musical content is superb making for a nice, and recommended release.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)