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Ozzy Osbourne – Ultimate Sin In Chicago (Zodiac 025)

Ozzy - Ultimate Sin In Chicago

Ultimate Sin In Chicago (Zodiac 025)

UIC Pavilion, Chicago, IL, USA – April 5, 1986

(77:14) Carl Orff “Carmina Burana” Intro, Bark At The Moon, Suicide Solution, Never Know Why, Mr. Crowley, Shot In The Dark, I Don’t Know, Killer Of Giants, Jake E. Lee Solo, Thank God for The Bomb, Flying High Again, Secret Loser, Randy Castillo Solo / Secret Loser Reprise, The Ultimate Sin, Iron Man, Crazy Train

Ozzy’s Ultimate Sin record was released in February of 1986 and would quickly go platinum and would be his highest charting LP to that point. While it featured Ozzy in a glammed up look that was popular at the time, Sin had a lot of things going for it. The second record to feature Jake E. Lee on guitar, who had been playing with Ozzy since Mid 1983 and who by this point was comfortable in his role. The majority of the record was written with long time writer / bass player Bob Daisley who although wrote extensively would not play on the record.  Curiously the record has fallen out of favor with the Osbourne camp and was sadly missing in the last group of re issues, as has Speak Of The Devil. The tour for the record was stellar; it featured Metallica in the support slot for much of the first leg of the tour. I had the privilege of seeing the tour twice, the first time in Battle Creek, Mi. with the mighty Metallica opening, certainly a show that has been a highlight of the hundreds of shows I have seen.

Zodiac has given a new Ozzy show that has not been available in CD form, it features a good to very good audience recording. Clear with some close crowd noise it does have a certain charm to it as Ozzy shows were crazy back then. All instruments can be heard but there is from time to time low frequency distortion and sadly the recording is missing the final encore of Paranoid. The opening of “Carmina” (booey) is perfect and the crowd is antsy with anticipation and proceeds to go crazy when he is lowered to the stage perched upon is Ozzy throne and as he states “Let the madness begin”, the band rips into “Bark At The Moon”. The sound is low and muffled for the first 20 seconds but quickly brightens up. “Bark” finds the band in strong shape, new rhythm section of Randy Castillo (RIP) on drums and Phil Soussan on bass prove to be a very competent duo and Jake is playing his ass off, he is just smoking on the riff and leads. “Suicide Solution” moves up in the set, during the Randy years it was further down and would house his solo, tonight Ozzy starts it with “lets go f***ing crazy” and of course the Chi town crowd do as commanded. John Sinclair’s keyboards can be clearly heard as he is filling out the sound, but Jake needs none of this as he really puts in a lot of nice fills to great effect.

Such was the success of the Ultimate Sin that the band would perform six of its nine songs live, the first of these is “Never Know Why”. It begins with sounds of Jake’s guitar as if he is summoning the dead before the band launches into the main riff, some girl lets out a wailing scream, like I said Ozzy shows were events back in the 80s. Phil’s bass has a nice fat sound that really anchors the tune. “Mr. Crowley” really gets a loud ovation from the crowd, for good reason and it is a smoking version, Jake plays a stunning solo. Randy’s drums are causing much of the distortion, every time he gets going with the double bass drums the recorder cannot handle it. Back to Jake, his nimble fingers are very fluent and while he does not play the Rhoads solo note for note he does it justice while maintaining his own style and the second solo is just phenomenal. By now the female near the taper screams are getting old, she will keep it though. “Shot In The Dark” follows, the big single and source of a stupid video that features a hot chick going to a show only to turn into the female Lord of the sin record cover. Live it used to be a mainstay of Ozzy shows for a couple years after this tour.

We go deep into the record from here on out, beginning with “Killer Of Giants” and a tale of nuclear war is certainly one of the heaviest tracks on the record. Live it retains its punch and the Jake acoustic style intro is spot on while Ozzy asks to see “your cigarette lighters”. The song is like “War Pigs” for a new age but with a much more reflective feel, it also gives Jake a chance to flex his muscles as he gets his solo spot. He flies the length of his fret board effortlessly all the while building until the band kicks in for a couple bars and then he gets into a riff thing that is really good. His solo was non existent on the Bark tour, this more than makes up for it. He goes from maniac playing to the gentle electric acoustic style playing while the band joins him that leads into “Thank God For The Bomb” and after some explosion of a pyrotechnic kind they kick into next gear. The other side of the coin to “Killer of Giants” lyrically and musically, the tune is all Jake, fast riffing tinged with melody.

The lone track from Diary is “Flying High Again” and is a quick reprise from the Sin songs, the audience responds loudly to the song with cheers and whistles as it is a crowd favorite. Amid shouts for “Steal Away”, Ozzy introduces “Secret Loser” and drummer Randy Castillo who will get a solo spot in the song. The song is a real rocker as opposed to “Never Know Why” and thankfully no cheesy chorus. Randy is hammering his set for the whole song, dropping in fills everywhere, this showcases his hard hitting style well during his solo, he is no Tommy Aldridge but a showman in his own right and if memory serves me right he would drum from the outside of his drum set, circling and playing to great effect. Some “Iron Man” like bass drum leads gets the crowd clapping as someone screams “where’s Jake”, he will not have to wait long as the guitarist plays the heavy first chords of “The Ultimate Sin”. The song is continuing with the theme of war with all three of the songs being the heaviest on the record. Jake has a great guitar tone for the song that seems to resonate from his strings and the riff is augmented by Castillo’s drumming.  The song fades into “a couple of Sabbath songs”, well this is kinda correct, we get “Iron Man” that will flow into “Crazy Train” but the final Sabbath song is cut from this release. Ozzy works the crowd into a frenzy with “Iron Man”, getting them to go crazy just before Jake goes into the songs riff, again his guitar has a metallic resonance to it that is great. He does some great lead work during some of the slow riff parts, such a versatile player; he is the true star of this set for me.  I am a sucker for the Randy to Jake period of the Ozzy band and this is a very enjoyable show to hear.

The packaging features a bunch of posed shots from the Ultimate Sin period, Ozzy in his silver dress outfit costume and black finger nails. It’s all housed in a jewel case and as with the majority of the Zodiac titles I have bought so far it is really a great addition to my collection. For a casual fan wanting to hear something from this tour in excellent sound quality go get Ultimate Blitz (Langley Deluxe 020) that features two shows from the UK leg from excellent audience recordings, for the seasoned collector wanting a smoking show, do not hesitate buying this title.  Another solid title from Zodiac.

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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  1. I was at this show and can also confirm that there was no encore. The acoustics in UIC are awful, so I had a hard time making out what Ozzy announced, but I believe he said Jake was “sick.” I’ve read elsewhere that he took a fall during the show and injured himself (that may explain the “where’s Jake?” heard on this recording). Metallica was the opener for this and were absolutely incredible. I was less impressed by Ozzy, I’m sorry to say. The show seemed very short, and HEAVY on Ultimate Sin material. I was a huge Sabbath and early Ozzy fan and recall my 14-year old self feeling rather disappointed. Ozzy was going through a very glam-ish phase at this point (many metal bands had succumbed to this trend by ’86) and his music lost its muscle, imo. Compare Ultimate Sin to Master of Puppets today and there’s simply no question which one holds up best. The contrast was even more apparent live, with Metallica members appearing in jeans and t-shirts (like us!) versus Ozzy, who was clad in what I would describe as a sequined muumuu and permed hair. It wasn’t that he was terrible (there were a few highlights), but it hardly lived up to the legend that had built at that time. I would much rather see him 10 years later (or earlier) than in 1986.

  2. Woodish, thanks for the heads up and I plan on ordering the Priest for sure. Seems like zodiac has a nice line on some amazing un released recordings, great for the metal collecting community.

  3. Relayer, regarding Judas Priest ” Unleashed in New York” Outstanding Sound Quality and Performance throughout ( Zodiac has done it again !!) Wish the set list was a little longer but what is there is killer. Halford hit’s some high notes during Victim of Changes and Beyond the Realms of Death that will have you scratching your head and wondering if it’s humanly possible. The real MVP of performance is Les Binks on drums who is all over the place on this recording. A much better drummer then the heavy handed Dave Holland( who would soon replace Binks ) theirs even a little drum solo towards the end of “Starbreaker”. Great stuff and a no brainer if your a fan of hard rock/heavy metal. Also check out Scorpions “Costa Mesa 1984 ( Zodiac ) another sterling soundboard

  4. Absolutely, let me savor it over the weekend and will get back to you

  5. Woodish, are you talking about the NYC 79 Priest release ? if so throw some comments about performance and sound quality.

  6. Relayer, Thanks for the headsup regarding Ozzy “Ultimate Blitz”on Langley label. Always a pleasure to hear Jake play, cranking as we speak, Arrived in mail today along with new Priest on Zodiac. Got some good weed, good tunes, gonna be a nice weekend :)

  7. Wow, I thought it was eliminated due to CD length. Cannot tell he was under the weather at all, maybe tried hangin in with Ozzy and the demon alcohol got the better of him.

  8. Actually, they didn’t play “Paranoid” this night as Jake E. Lee was took sick ;-)

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