Texas Madman (Shades 266)
County Coliseum El Paco, TX – February 23rd, 1982
(73:50) Diary Of A Madman Intro, Over The Mountain, Mr. Crowley, Crazy Train, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Suicide Solution, Guitar Solo, Drum Solo, Goodbye To Romance, I Don’t Know, Believer, Flying High Again, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
By 1982 Ozzy Osbourne the work he had done to establish himself as a solo artist in his own right was finally paying off. He had a tight hotshot band consisting of guitarist extraordinaire Randy Rhoads augmented by rhythm section bassist Rudy Sarzo, drummer Tommy Aldridge, and keyboardist Don Airey. They say no publicity is bad publicity and Ozzy had plenty of it, biting the heads off birds and bats and urinating on the famed Texas landmark The Alamo.
People were flocking to his shows and there was a lot of excitement generated by the recently released Diary Of A Madman record. The band played all the big cities on Texas during the middle of February, this recording finds the band playing El Paso and despite the bad publicity and death threats after the Alamo urinating incident according to Rudy Sarzo’s Off The Rails book Ozzy was greeted as a hero since that part of Texas was once a part of Mexico and there was a large populous of Hispanics in attendance this evening.
The audience recording is very good slightly distant, clear and well balanced recording and as with the Milwaukee, WI Angel and Demon release some phasing is present at times, there is very little audience noise around the taper and is a very enjoyable listening experience. The set list is the same through out the tour and revolves around the Blizzard Of Ozz record with a few Diary tracks thrown in for good measure. The band takes the stage with the one two punch of Over The Mountain and Mr. Crowley, they are playing extremely well by this point of the tour, probably invigorated by the warmer climate, the sound is a little cloudy for Over The Mountain but clears halfway through the show and by the time the band is playing Crazy Train the sound is quite good.
Again a personal highlight for this reviewer is the Revelation (Mother Earth) and Steal Away combination, the former showcases Randy’s talent for mixing classic structures with rock beautifully . “We’re gonna do a song now about getting drunk” is Ozzy’s intro for the bands solo showcase Suicide Solution. Ozzy must be in a stoner mood as he makes repeated remarks about getting high that recites the audience to respond, during the middle slower part Don Airey plays some great spacey sounding keyboards over the top of Randy playing to great effect until the band gets the solo spot, Rhoads simply flies up and down the fret board so effortlessly and while he follows a similar patterns night to night he always interjects something just a little different.
I always like the instrumental part between the guitar and drum solos, the band stretch out and the addition of Don Airey over former keyboards Lindsay Bridgewater is night and day, Airey is such a phenomenal player his presence is all over these recordings from this era. There is a cut in the tape just as the band starts Goodbye To Romance and the song starts again with Ozzy just starting the first lyrics. After the childlike beauty of Goodbye to Romance the band levels the audience with a very aggressive I Don’t Know, there is minor distortion almost the sound is too much for the recorder but it only adds to the nature of the song, very in your face with Aldridge’s drumming hitting you in the gut.
The band plays a great Believer, Rudy’s Fender bass hits the low notes well and makes for the heavy nature of the tune and the band flies, literally, during Flying High Again but it is the audience participation warm up for the Sabbath numbers that puts the crowd over the edge, they follow the band as they turn in a HEAVY Iron Man that seams to just crush them and Children Of The Grave tramples what is left. Great stuff. The encore is the obligatory Paranoid that wrings the last bit of energy from the audience and listener, a great well played concert.
The packaging is simple yet effective, full color shots that mainly focus on Randy Rhoads and Ozzy and cool graphics to boot. Again a nicely produced release from Shades of a concert worth hearing and having in your collection, Randy Rhoads died way to young but after listening to many of the official and unofficial recordings his legacy will live on to be enjoyed.