The Crazy Gang (Power Gate – 149)
Auditorium Theatre Rochester, NY – April 29, 1981
(78:08) Radio Spot, Interview With Ozzy, Carl Orff “Carmina Burana”, I Don’t Know, Crazy Train, Believer, Mr. Crowley, Flying High Again, Revelation (Mother Earth), Steal Away (The Night), Tommy Aldridge Drum Solo, No Bone Movies, Suicide Solution, Randy Rhoads Guitar Solo, Iron Man, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid
This release from Power Gate showcases the Blizzard of Ozz in Rochester New York over a two day span that would culminate with the concert featured here. The day before (April 28) Ozzy did the radio interview included in this set and the band performed four songs for local television and became what is know as After Hours, essential viewing since there is very little video of this incarnation of Ozzy’s band.
The cd starts with a local radio add for the concert that is very nice and an eight minute radio interview where Ozzy talks about the split with Sabbath and his band, they even mention the After Hours taping. Very nice addition. The concert is billed as a Radio Broadcast Recording, the levels are low so you have to turn it up loud to get the full effect (no real problem there) but you discover that the mastering used was heavy handed and the metallic sound can be heard during some of the quieter passages.
Since I have not heard this tape before I do not know what they mastered for but am guessing tape hiss as the recording sounds a little flat like the top end was clipped off. Plus side is all instruments are clearly heard with only the drum sound being slightly distorted sounding when Tommy is using both bass drums, the sound is well balanced and the concert is well played and very enjoyable.
The band is in good shape and the recording captures them in the first month of concerts, the line up of Rhoads, Sarzo, Aldridge, and keyboard Lindsey Bridgewater are gelling well together and hit the gorund running with I Don’t Know, a great opening song that is immediately followed buy Crazy Train, not yet the signature song it would become.
Ozzy announces a track from the forth coming Diary Of A Madman record and we are treated to Believer and at the start Ozzy tells the audience to Suck his dick and you begin to wonder if this concert was live on the radio or recorded for possible future use, you could understand cursing but vulgarity on the radio in the early 80’s would have been damaging. Never the less the song is as always killer as is the next song Mr Crowley, the crowd can be heard cheering during the keyboard into and the song sounds particularly heaving in this recording.
Randy hits his memorable solo spot on as is his playing throughout the concert. The introductions are quick, Ozzy introduces the next song as “Flying High so smoke that weed” and the band launches in the yet unreleased song, it is during this song the metallic noise is clearly heard. Again the highlight of the set for me is the one two punch of Revelation and Steal Away, the former with heavy feel that turns into a blistering masterpiece due to Randy’s playing, it should be noted that the keyboards are much more simplistic and not nearly as effective as Don Airey’s would be.
As Revelation’s bleakness gives way to the good time feeling of Steal Away the band is hitting their stride, you can here the crowd cheering their approval. As always Suicide Solution of the vehicle for Randy’s solo spot, He keeps it short and sweet and not overplayed but a lesson on structure while playing very fast…..perfect. As usual the band finishes the set with the Sabbath trio of Iron Man>Children Of The Grave and Paranoid, you can hear feedback at points, in Rudy Sarzo’s excellent book, Off The Rails” he says that during the show they had issues with the transmitting aerials that surrounded the venue and they were forced to use cords instead of his wireless system and during Paranoid he tripped and played flat on his back.
It should be noted that Randy played the Sabbath material pretty much straight forward as he reportedly had dislike for the songs, the changes he made during the next tour would give him more freedom and make for more interesting listening but again he rips a great solo during Children Of The Grave. Paranoid has some minor noise, small pops briefly. It is hard to make a call on the mastering of this release since I have not heard the tape before hand, there are moments when the metallic sound is louder than others then at times you do no even hear it.
As a historical document it hits on all marks, great show with a radio add and interview, but sound wise there are other releases from this tour with much better sound quality, Chelmsford 80 is an excellent audience and the Cleveland 81 soundboard are both great choices for the casual collector. The packaging is nice, the cover has a great picture from the diary tour from the side stage but the other photos are relevant to the 81 Blizzard tour, the inside cover has a great shot of the band in front of Cinderella’s castle at Disneyland in Florida.