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.)
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!