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Black Sabbath – Past Live Ever (Tarantura TCDBS-1-1, 2)

 Past Live Ever (Tarantura TCDBS-1-1, 2)

Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ – August 5th, 1975

Disc 1 (41:09): Supertzar Intro, Killing Yourself To Live, Hole In The Sky, Snowblind, Symptom Of The Universe, War Pigs, Megalomania

Disc 2 (58:51): Sabbra Cadabra, Jam, Guitar Solo, Jam II, Guitar Solo II, Sometimes I’m Happy, Drum Solo, Supernaut, Drum Solo II, Iron Man, Instrumental Jam including Orchid>Rock and roll Doctor>Guitar Solo, Black Sabbath, Spiral Architect, Children Of The Grave, Paranoid

King Biscuit Flower Hour’s recording of Black Sabbath’s show at the Astbury Park Convention Hall in 1975 must be considered one of the Holy Grails for collectors, for sound quality, performance, and set list. Recorded just days after the release of their sixth studio record, Sabotage, the band has incorporated three new tracks into the set. From looking over collectors audio lists it looks like a 30 minute show was compiled but do not know the songs that were broadcasted. The general publics first chance to get a taste was the official 2002 release Past Lives, a attempt at re mastering the Live At Last and selections from this KBFH show and the Paris 1970 recording. Apparently some enterprising person got ahold of the full concert and it soon began making the rounds of trade circles and the bootleg markets.

Other releases include Heaven & Earth Bondage Music 269/270 and Let Slip The Pigs of War No Label (not the full show), Tarantura has used the excellent full soundboard recording for this release. I do not own any of the silver releases of this show but compared it to my cd-r copy obtained from a reputable torrent site and found release is just slightly louder and fuller sounding but not overdone, as sometimes is the case with Tarantura, but with a recording like this with no real flaws nothing really needs to be done. The recording starts with a brief intro before the band comes crashing in with Killing Yourself To Live from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record, played with finesse and confidence it is great to hear in soundboard quality. I used to listen to the version from the Live At Last record in its early stages and while it was good to hear, it really shines in this recording. Ozzy introduces the next track, Hole In The Sky, from the new record and we are treated to the first Ozzism of the night when he asks the crowd Are you High? after crowd roars that they are Ozzy responds with Well so am I.

Who would have guessed from his performance, his vocals for the most part are spot on. Hole In the sky is a great song for the concert stage with an incredible Iommi riff that gets the head banging started. You can hear Bill Ward count in the intro to next track, Snowblind from the Vol. 4 record. Ozzy introduces Symptom Of The Universe as being from their new record and is a smoking version, played slightly faster than the original version and Iommi smokes through his solo at the end of the track and for a split second you think that the mellow extended Woman child of love’s creation part. War Pigs is next and gets the crowd moving, their clapping is evident during the Generals gathered in their masses part. Already five years old by this point War Pigs sounds as heavy hear as when it was recorded and is played with intensity. Up next is the 10 plus minute track Megalomania, a personal favorite from the Sabotage record and a highlight of this show. Ozzy nails the lyrics of insanity and madness with conviction, and there are a lot of them. You can hear faint keyboards on this track by Gerald Woodruffe who also played on the record.

Sabbra Cadabra starts the second disc off and is the last track before the long jam part of the recording. Originally released in 1973 and is a lyrical rarity. A song about a woman with mystifying eyes , wonder if it was written about Geezer’s wife or a groupie. Next up the band members flex their creative skills during a number of solos and jams, nothing out of the ordinary but includes a brief workout of the Supernaut riff, one of the heavier ones created by Iommi, It is a shame it is just a fragment. Bill Wards drum solo ends with the beginning of Iron Man, a short version of the song, just the first five minutes. Just when you get into the part where Geezer tears up the bass, Ozzy introduces Tony for his solo that eventually leads up to Black Sabbath. His solo includes a beautifully played version of Orchid from the Master of Reality record. While primarily known for his riffs, Tony Iommi is a fantastically rounded played who play melodic instrumental to blues licks without missing a beat.

Rock and Roll Doctor is pretty much the main riff played with out vocals a full year before its official release. A fast flurry of notes is next, played at break neck speed this Tony and his best best before downshifting gears for the opening strains of Black Sabbath. The biggest powder chord ever laid down the track embodies what the band is about and is played with intensity. I was reading Garry Sharpe-Youngs excellent book Never Say Die and Eric Singer said Tony Iommi worked with him to get the drums just right and was very particular about how the band played his signature tune. Spiral Architect is a track that was played for a few tours and resurrected for a few shows of the Reunion comeback in the late 90’s. One of the most beautiful tracks from the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath record with its surreal lyrics about drugs and there effect it is a pleasure to hear it live in this fantastic sound quality. although played a little faster than its original it translates well to the stage.

Children of the Grave rounds off the main set but does not lays the crowd to waste, that is the last tracks responsibility. You can clearly hear firecrackers being blown off before the thundering Paranoid grounds the audience into dust. After this tour Sabbath would never really be the same, the pressures of fame and drugs would break the band apart, first in 1977 and finally in 1979. The packaging is the usual Tarantura style gatefold with color and black and white photographs of both studio and concert settings, a small advertisement for the concert is on the back. The cds have pictures also, disc one Ozzy and disc 2 has Tony Iommi and both have the caption “Original Soundboard recording”. Tarantura’s metal releases so far have been great, giving us unheard jems like their Iron Maiden 1981 and Judas Priest 1978 shows I cannot say enough how nice it is to see a label producing great titles to the collecting community. If you do not own a copy of this show or are a collector wanting a beautifully packaged version of this show do yourself a favor and find a copy of this. Why Black Sabbath has not officially released this show is beyond me, the performance is staggering and must be heard at loud volumes. A Must Have

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. Hi Chambeau, no, ‘Sometimes I’m Happy’ was just a concert track, evolving from an onstage jam. Worth noting that before the official ‘Past Lives’ was released in its final form the album was going to be called ‘Live ’75’, as evidenced in the music press, and would have undoubtedly been this KBFH recording. Instead, as so often with the Sabbath archive, something interesting was replaced by something flawed, namely a copy of ‘Live At Last’ as CD1 and, as CD2, a pseudo-concert comprised of tracks from Paris 1970 and Asbury 1975. Who would not rather have had the 2CD of Asbury and a separate, official release for Paris 1970? That being so, thanks to Bondage and Tarantura for their efforts. :)

  2. It hit my mail box early this week and I finally managed to ending up listening to the whole thing this morning. Absolutely great stuff. Tarantura did a marvelous job and the band’s performance is awesome. Super-fine addition to my collection. BTW, where “Sometimes I’m Happy” comes from? Do I need to re-visit my BS CDs?

  3. This concert has a personal connection to me because it happened about 15 minutes away from my home in 1975. I was only 10 years old at the time, but distinctly recall hearing news about the show, and knowing that’s all I’d hear at the time because my parents wisely wouldn’t allow me into such an environment. Asbury Park took a nose dive around that time, too, falling from its once beautiful status as an oceanside resort for families into a crime ridden, dirty city that I avoided as a teenager. But Tarantura have helped me to learn what happened at the Convention Hall on that August night in 1975, and the quality of this recording can aptly be described as massive. “Killing Yourself to Live” and “Hole in the Sky” are absolutely superb ways to begin the listening experience, with wild versions of “Snowblind” and “Symptom of the Universe” continuing the madness. I can only imagine the insanity inside the venue, which was/is not very big. Each member of the band was in top form, and I have not been able to listen to anything else since luckily scoring a copy of this great title. I continue to raise my glass to Tarantura, which is on a white hot streak right now that I believe will continue well into the future.

  4. A great choice by Tarantura of a classic Sabbath show. I’ve had this for years on CDR and also tried to track down a copy of the Bondage without any luck. Tarantura has done a great job with the packaging and mastering of this fine release. I love it when Ozzy asks the audience if they are high and then follows it with well so am I. Gotta love classic oz.

  5. Glad I could share relayer. I had been looking for a copy of the Bondage title for a couple of years but it was long sold out. I happened on a two cd silver disc release from Europe titled “Accidental OverDose” on the Home(r) Entertainment Network,(they use a picture of Homer Simpson as their logo), a year or so ago which appears to be a direct knockoff of the Bondage title as it also includes the same muffled three instrumental tracks as a bonus which are rumoured to be jams from Tony Iommi’s pre Sabbath band Earth. It comes in a very nice quad foldout digipack with the picture of a Nurses Station at a doctors office on the cover. It may still be easy to find and the sound quality is fantastic. Also if anyone wants to hear this incredible show it is streaming complete on Wolfgangs Vault for free once you sign up……..

  6. Thank you classiccrawler for the info. I used the Black Sabbath Live website for reference and was disappointed that he was taking a break and the mountain of information he has compiled was not available for viewing. I’m glad to see someone had it. Makes you wonder what else is lurking in the KBFH vaults deemed “unusable”. For those interested Deep Purple is remastering the Feb 27 1976 show from the master tapes and it should be released sometime mid year.

  7. Regarding the origins of this tape here is an excerpt from comments regarding this show from the now, sadly, shutdown “Black Sabbath Live Project” Website:

    “King Biscuit recorded Black Sabbath at Asbury Park Convention Hall right on the boardwalk in Asbury Park, NJ on August 5th, 1975. The band were only a few weeks into their U.S. tour to support SABOTAGE, which wasn’t released until about 2 weeks later.

    5 tracks from this show have been circulating for years in good to very good quality at best. These are sourced from various radio broadcasts (King Biscuit Flower Hour, Supergroups In Concert), both from radio broadcast vinyl and fan recordings from the broadcasts themselves. While these songs sounded fairly decent, they don’t hold a candle to lower generation versions that appeared in trading circles just recently.

    The complete version of this show surfaced sometime in 2001. The word on the street back then was that a “complete, unmixed soundboard” that was leaked out of the King Biscuit vaults. In fact, this is probably actually from the original multi-track recordings, so the term “soundboard” really isn’t accurate. These tapes were re-mixed and edited for the FM broadcasts, but only 5 songs aired.

    Here’s the true story behind how the Asbury Park tapes leaked. A highly respected Sabbath collector contacted King Biscuit to inquire about the full release of their 1975 show, which was thought to be from Philadelphia by most people at the time. King Biscuit had been taking requests for future releases, so this was a completely legitimate request. Their initial response was that the show “wasn’t good enough”. But once the KB engineers had a listen to the tapes, they quickly discovered how wrong their assessment was. One of them even asked the collector to identify a song for them. It turned out to be “Spiral Architect”! Also, the tapes were identified as being from the Asbury Park show, NOT Philadelphia as previously thought. [Note: However, the engineer did claim the date was still 8/6/75, although the Asbury Park show has been proven to have been a day earlier. Sabbath performed in Philadelphia on 7/31/75.]

    The King Biscuit kindly sent the collector a complimentary copy of the show, since there were now plans to release it officially. But when he tried to follow up on this release a few months later, the King Biscuit employee no longer worked there and the release was apparently nixed. And it was from this ‘advance promo’ that the current slew of Asbury Park bootlegs originated from.”

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