Ozzy Osbourne - vocals; Tony Iommi - guitar; Bill Ward - drums; Terry "Geezer" Butler - bass
This Black Sabbath concert at Pittsburg's Civic Arena captures the heavy metal Brits at a pivotal period. They had already released seven albums since their 1969 inception, and were in the studio recording their eighth album, Never Say Die!, the same month as this performance. With Ozzy having rejoined the band in January after a several month hiatus, Sabbath sounds energetic and more than capable of delivering a noteworthy show full of their signature raw energy, screaming guitar and howling lyrics.
As a hard rock band with an album-oriented sound, they were in the shadow of internal conflict, as musical directions were shifting with Iommi and Ozzy at odds over the future sound of Black Sabbath - Ozzy sticking fast to bleak, piercing heavy rock and Iommi striving to implement new elements like horns and keyboard technique. Nine months after this show, Ozzy would leave the band to embark on a solo career and Black Sabbath would take on a new vocalist and a different approach to their albums. Here, however, the band presents their signature Ozzy-infiltrated, raw heavy metal sound - much to the delight of a full-house Pittsburgh crowd.
The recording, which captures quite a bit of audience noise, really lends itself to a live Black Sabbath experience. They start things off with the ferocious slow tempo, ominous guitar and visceral vocals of "Snowblind." Next, the appreciative audience yells and whistles while Ozzy next delivers a 10-year anniversary speech to the crowd. Other highlights include a 10-minute "Rock and Roll Doctor" featuring an extended drum solo by Ward. A shrieking rendition of "Iron Man" and the set-closing "Paranoid" showcase their bleak intensity within the framework of a hit composition. Here they are - Black Sabbath in all their savage glory, laying it all out for a raucous Pittsburg crowd - captured for the terror and delight of all.