Perhaps it’s something to do with having black in the title of the bands’ names but like Blackfoot in 1982, the mighty Black Sabbath also recorded a live album in the same year. Like the former, Black Sabbath were riding high on the wave of two very successful studio albums, “Heaven and Hell” and “The Mob Rules.” It could be argued that with great albums such as these and a further legacy of great albums with the previous lead singer, it is only logical that they put out a live album.
“Live Evil” is everything I would expect from a live Black Sabbath album. It’s a fine marriage of the great songs they were playing at the time from the last two albums and their classic older hits. I can easily imagine myself sitting in the audience, my anticipation ready to explode through the roof with the introduction of “E5150” and then having it actually do so when the band explodes into “Neon Knights.” What a great song to open the show with. Then lead vocalist Ronnie James Dio shows right away that he can handle the Ozzy era songs in the way he sings “N.I.B.” I am very tempted to actually take Lucifer’s hand when I hear him sing the line. Then comes my favourite Dio era Sabbath song and possibly my second favourite over all, “Children of the Sea.” Maybe with this one, it was a good idea that I wasn’t in the audience at some arena but listening at home. There I could jump around to the song totally unheeded.
Following “Voodoo” from “The Mob Rules” album, which is also nicely done, the band launch three of the best known Sabbath classics, “Black Sabbath,” “War Pigs” and “Iron Man,” the middle song being my all time favourite Sabbath jam. There is no need to repeat myself as to how well Dio handles the Ozzy songs, so I’ll comment about the musicianship, especially the guitar playing of one Tony Iommi. He simply cooks, not only on these three songs but the entire album. We are also treated to a drum solo from Vinnie Appice following “War Pigs” although I have heard mixed comments about this. All I know is that it sounds okay to me. However, going back to Tony, it’s “Heaven and Hell” where he really cooks. The song is twelve minutes long and most of that is him just laying down some cool guitar work. If I had been in the audience, I would be definitely holding my cigarette lighter high in the air.
“Heaven and Hell” serves as a great climax to the show. The final songs, “Sign of Southern Cross” combined with the remainder of “Heaven and Hell” lead things out nicely. However, if Black Sabbath left the stage at this point, I would have been one of the many thousands screaming for their return. Of course, as the album shows, they played the all too familiar “Paranoid” and end things with “Children of the Grave.” While, I would have been booing when the main lights came back on, I would have still left with a very contented feeling that I had witnessed a piece of history.
2. Neon Knights
4. Children of the Sea
6. Black Sabbath
7. War Pigs
8. Iron Man
9. The Mob Rules
10. Heaven and Hell
11. Sign of the Southern Cross/Heaven and Hell
13. Children of the Grave
Ronnie James Dio- vocals
Tommy Iommi- guitar
Geezer Butler- bass
Vinnie Appice- drums
Like some of the live albums I covered in 1982, at the time, this was the closest I had come to seeing them live. Fortunately, in the case of Black Sabbath, that would change a year later, so be prepared for when I visit that album. But if you haven’t seen them live, then “Live Evil” is the best alternative to it.
Next post: Ozzy Osbourne- Diary of a Madman
To buy Rock And Roll Children, go to http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RockAndRollChildren.html
Also available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Froogle and on sale at Foyles Book Shop in London