The Day of Tony’s Illness (TCDBS-9)
Tuesday, November 18, 1980, Nakano Sun Plaza, Tokyo, Japan
01. SE – Supertzar; 02. War Pigs; 03. Neon Knights; 04. N.I.B.; 05. Children Of The Sea; 06. Sweet Leaf; 07. Drums Solo; 08. Sweet Leaf (Reprise); 09. Lady Evil; 10. Black Sabbath; 11. Heaven And Hell; 12. Iron Man; 13. Announcement in English; 14. SE-Announcement in Japanese
It is well chronicled that the stunning quality of Mr. Peach’s recordings is generally unparalleled, particularly when compared to other audience recordings of the same show. Atmosphere in the audience was captured by Peach equally with startling detail of all aspects of the stage performance, often times down to the tiniest cymbal. What becomes even more dramatic about these recordings is when they knock the socks of a soundboard recording of the same show. That is what we have here, with Tarantura’s The Day of Tony’s Illness being compared side-by-side to no label’s soundboard release of this show in their great Dark Knight title.
This was an abbreviated show because Tony became “sick” during the concert. We know this because of the announcements in both English and Japanese after “Iron Man” stumbled to a finish. Only Tarantura contains those announcements, which are missing from the no-label release that may otherwise leave a listener wondering about the rest of concert because of the set lists during this 1980 tour of Japan.
Indeed, from the very beginning we are treated to a more complete listening experience with the Peach recording. Its track one opens with a hearty and expansive greeting from the Japanese audience before “Supertzar” starts while Dark Knight’s first track begins already into that introductory piece that sounds distant and hazy.
The recording of Appice bludgeoning his snare, toms and bass drum to start “War Pigs” is comparable on the releases, although his ride cymbal and hi-hats are a bit brighter on this track in Dark Knight. But there’s a thin layer of interference dampening the entire no-label recording that is not present on Tarantura. Dio’s voice is more prominent on Tarantura and the vicious soloing by Iommi in this track was matched by Butler’s equally aggressive bass playing that is a bit more audible on Tarantura. To this listener, those differences render the Tarantura release much more powerful in overall sound and listening enjoyment to the no-label recording.
As with all shows on this tour, the band delivered smoking versions of “Neon Nights,” “N.I.B.”, and “Children of the Sea,” which Dio again dedicated to the people of Japan. Dio was in particularly great form and, although the show would end early, so was Iommi up to that end.
The drum solo in the middle of “Sweet Leaf” was recorded by Mr. Peach with amazing detail, particularly on Appice’s mounted and floor toms. After this song another distinction emerges between the Tarantura and no-label recordings. A very enthusiastic Dio praised Vinny for his solo and then asked the audience if they were “alright,” first with a shout and then with a whisper. After the whisper a nut in the audience screamed “f*** yeah!!” a couple times, to which Dio asked “what does that mean?” When someone said “God Bless you,” Dio chuckled, said “cheers mate” and introduced “Lady Evil” which was then performed with another diabolical Iommi solo. That unique interaction between Dio and the audience is missing from the no-label recording because of the soundboard source.
It was during “Heaven and Hell” that something happened to Iommi which resulted in the concert’s close. As we know from Mr. Peach’s recordings of Sabbath’s three concerts in Tokyo on November 16 and 17, “Heaven and Hell” averaged about thirteen minutes in length. In this concert on November 18th it was under ten and-a-half minutes, but the first five minutes were classic Iommi. It was at that point that he vanished from the song, which Dio, Butler and Appice expertly improvised and carried into “IronMan.” As mentioned above, “Iron Man” was how the show concluded, although Iommi did play in it. But missing from this part of the concert were the nasty instrumentals and guitar solos, “Die Young” and “Paranoid” encore. Instead, the audience was told Tony was “ill” and that they should now go home. The audience was raucous, blowing whistles and not understandably unhappy with this development. Tarantura allows us to experience that full reaction in a way the no-label release does not because it abruptly ended after the truncated “IronMan.”
Tarantura packages this entertaining single disc recording in its usual gorgeous glossy gatefold paper sleeve containing a beautiful shot of Dio on the rear. Because of its completeness and stunning sonic dimensions, Tarantura’s The Day of Tony’s Illness must be considered the definitive version of this Black Sabbath concert.