Part 136: Black Sabbath, July 22 1995 (REVIEW!)

Sadly, my concert review for this show no longer exists.  Ye olde floppy discs don’t exist anymore, and the site that once hosted the review (sabbathlive.com) no longest exists.  Therefore I’m forced to re-write this as a Record Store Tale.

RECORD STORE TALES PART 136:  Black Sabbath July 22 1995

July 22, 1995.  Tom, myself, and a few of the boys decided to go see Black Sabbath.  They were playing Lulu’s Roadhouse, the world’s longest bar, with Motorhead opening.  It felt like a step down for both bands, but the place was packed.

We arrived just before Lemmy hit the stage.  They ripped into a scorching set to promote their latest album, the high-octane Sacrifice.   I remember Lemmy introducing the title track:  “Don’t try to dance to this one or you’ll break both your fucking legs!”  At the end of their set, Motorhead promised to return (and they did a year later).

I remember Tom and I being blown away by Motorhead.  I didn’t own any — this show officially was what made me a fan.  I kicked myself for not really paying attention to them earlier, but better late than never eh?

Motorhead remain today one of the best bands I’ve seen.

But I was there to see Black Sabbath.  We moved closer to the front of the stage to be in position.  We chose a spot perfectly between where the two Tony’s would be, right up front.

The crowd was getting a little drunk and restless.  A fight started…well, I hesitate to really call it a fight,  it was over before it started.  We all turned around to see this big huge dude headbutt this little tiny Kurt Cobain looking guy.  Knocked him out cold.  Then the big guy realized everybody was watching and hastily made an exit.

Then, Black Sabbath:  Tony Iommi, Tony Martin, Cozy Powell, Neil Murray, and Geoff Nicholls.  What we didn’t know was that Cozy only had seven more gigs after this one.  Then he would be replaced by another Sabbath vet, Bobby Rondinelli.  And of course little did I know that I’d never see Cozy live again in any band:  He was killed in a car accident 3 years later.

They hit the stage to the classic Martin-era opener, “Children of the Grave”.  Sabbath’s set was sprinkled with tunes from the Ozzy era (“War Pigs”, “Iron Man”, “Paranoid”, “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Black Sabbath”) and the Dio era (“Heaven and Hell”, “Mob Rules”) and many of his own tracks.  They played three from the lacklustre new record, but at least three of the better songs:  an awesomely dramatic “Kiss Of Death”, the explosive “Can’t Get Close Enough”, and the filler song “Get A Grip”.

It was just before “Get A Grip” that the stagediving began.  Tom vacated the stage area right away.  “Get a grip is right!” he said to me.  “I’m out of here.”  Two songs later I followed him.  This drunk girl started grinding me from behind, so I took the first chance to slip away and catch up with Tom.

The one song I really came to see was “The Shining”, one of the best Martin-era tunes, and his first single with the band.  Sabbath delivered.  They also played two from Headless Cross including “When Death Calls”.  Neil Murray played the chiming bass intro to this song that I’d never heard before.  It was the only unfamiliar song.  I resolved to get Headless Cross as soon as possible.  (It took two months for Orange Monkey Music in Waterloo to get it from Europe.)

Vague memories:

Tony Martin was a so-so frontman.  Much of the time, he would spread his arms Christ-like and shake his thinning hair.  He talked a lot and I remember he had small, beady but friendly looking eyes.  He did the best he could.  He sang his ass off, although he had lost a fair chunk of his range.

I remember Iommi ditched his SG for an unfamiliar red guitar during the overdriven “Can’t Get Close Enough”.

I could barely see Cozy, which is my biggest regret.

I was pleased that Sabbath played a well-rounded set with new stuff.

Little did I know that the end was near.  Not only was Cozy soon to be out, but promoters cancelled much of the end of the tour.  Sabbath headed over to Japan, threw “Changes” into the set (OMG!) but were done by the end of the year.  For the first time in a long time, Sabbath were put on ice while Tony (Iommi) worked on a solo album with Glenn Hughes.

Meanwhile, the lawyers were conspiring to create a new/old Sabbath lineup.  By 1997, Ozzy was back, and the band now featuring founding members Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and new drummer Mike Bordin of Faith No More.

I’m glad  to have seen Sabbath with Martin.  He did five albums, and I like three of them.  I think he did the best he could under difficult circumstances.  He’s a talented guy, so it’s great to have seen this lineup especially since Cozy would be gone so soon!

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20 comments

  1. Motorhead! Woo! Cool line-up of Sabbath to see, too. That’s a night you’ll never forget!

    Man, Lulu’s, I remember that place. Saw all kinds of bands there, myself. Everything from Tom Cochrane (with Emm Gryner), to Lawrence Gowan (but you can call him Larry). Best shows were James Brown (damn!) and seeing B.B. King two nights in a row, front and center. Oh baby. But Lulu’s was also a sad place, a desperate meat market for divorced 30-40-somethings, in varying degrees of inebriation. The women would be all tarted up with those big poofs of hair on their foreheads (I called it The Wilma), and WAY too much make-up and perfume so that the stench of desperation was overpowering. And the guys, well, the guys were past caring and most didn’t even try to look good for their night out. I remember the guys who just happened to have the table closest to the ladies washroom door so they could scope out all the chicks as they went past. Real classy! Sadsadsad.

    Anyway! Sabbath. Woo! From that set-list, you caught a GREAT show! And Motorhead, to boot. Yeah baby, that was a rawkin’ night!

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  2. You’re right man, I’ll never forget it it. I was into Sabbath big time in the mid-90’s. They just kept going and going an album a year, reliable. It was good to finally see them.

    Lulu’s was pretty bad though…I should post about the time I saw Alice Cooper there.

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  3. That’s cool u saw Cozy….man he was thee hired gun of some albums,check out the two records he did with the MSG band(self titled and One NIght At The Budokan).
    Some excellent drumming there,at one time he was up for thenBlue Murder gig as well but they went with C Appice.
    Cool lineup….cool write up….
    Thanks for sharing guys……

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  4. How can you piss on the legacy of the mighty Lulu’s… Ever since it was transformed into some abysmal yuppie concoction of strip-malls/eateries we have not been able to truly bring in the mid level acts… Where’s Max Webster gonna play now? April Wine? Jerry Lee Lewis? Saga? Ted Nugent? Kansas (with Steve Morse)? The Band (without Robbie Robertson)? Jethro Tull? Chuck Berry? Bo Diddley? James Brown? BB King? Edgar and Johnny Winter, Black Crowes and Black Fucking Sabbath? I know it was a meat market for some, but hey that was part of it’s charm… I have a beer pitcher from there and every time I use it to rinse the shampoo out of my kids hair during their baths I think of the Georgia Satellites… I do remember that Sabbath show… It was like the band was fronted by a hobbit… One that could sing however… Thanks for the time travel Mike…

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    1. Oh we’re not questioning the quality of the acts that went through that building. But man, almost every memory I have of the crowds in that place had more than its fair share of desperation. Besides, WE”RE pissing on it? YOU stole a beer pitcher! Hahahaha. Fair play, man, fairplay. S’all good. But I think Lulu’s went under for many reasons. Not the least of which was that, while they were bringing in cool acts like you listed above, the crowds just weren’t there any more. As for other venues, now that it’s gone, what about the Aud? I know John Lee Hooker played there.

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        1. I don’t know if they ever gave him reasons? I should see if I can find old newspaper articles about it.

          Incidentally I do have the newspaper regarding this Sabbath show, but I can’t dig it out right now.

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      1. Whatever you do – don’t find out! If you do I guarantee It’ll end up having being Kiss playing under an assumed name, or AC/DC playing an entire set of Chuck berry covers – whereas if you don’t it will just have been Toronto Tom & the Timewasters.

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  5. Mike:

    I was at this show… very glad to find this review man! Your story brings back several details from the show that I had forgotten, especially Lemmy’s opening lines about “don’t try to dance to this one.” I also remember the big ruckus fight that broke out. I was up on the elevated stage area by the bar for most of the show, not in the pit (you’re fucking crazy). I arrived super early for this gig by accident (too keen to see Motorhead). But the bar was open and my then girlfriend (actually an open-minded Deadhead) and I starting having some beers in the huge bar all alone. It was weird. It was also a legendary place. My parents had seen Willie Nelson and Ray Charles there, among many others, during the late 70s. Remember, there were not many large in door places that fit the bill between ML Gardens, the Aud, and small bars back then, so it was a go-to place for mid-range crowds. Anyway, we were so early that to my disbelief Lemmy and one other guy came out to shoot a game of pool! I discretely mentioned it to my friend, but I’ve never been one to invade. Wished I had because to the experienced eye they were shitty pool players and I could have won some beers! They played a couple games and split and then the bar started to fill almost immediately (must have been when you came). Next time we saw Lemmy and the band they were walking out on stage. I remember the crowd livening up and them being really loud with that unmistakable bludgeoning Motorhead sound–fucking awesome show! I’m a huge Sabbath fan, but Motorhead stole that show.

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    1. Ryan, thanks so much for this comment man. Glad somebody remembers it the same way that I did! It’s a real shame what’s happened with Lulu’s, it was a good venue for its time, and if I got really hammered I could have walked home. (That never happened but on the Sabbath night I lost track of my buds in the crowd and I wondered if I’d be walking later on.)

      That’s cool about Lemmy playing pool. You hear stuff about him like that. In the Lemmy movie he plays a lot of those video lottery games just hanging out.

      I’m hoping one of my friends will guest write another review for me — a show I missed — which would be the legendary Max Webster reunion shows.

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