Black Sabbath

Live at Hammersmith Odeon

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As evidenced by their so-so 1983 live set, Live Evil, a Dio-era Black Sabbath live performance was never truly captured on vinyl -- as the aforementioned album was allegedly the victim of far too much knob-twiddling during the mixing stage. As a result, many longtime fans will attest that this lone live document was an album that lacked the spark of Sabbath's live shows circa 1980 through 1982. But the good folks at Rhino Handmade have come to the rescue, with the release of 2007's limited-edition Live at Hammersmith Odeon. Recorded in December 1981 (in support of the underrated release, Mob Rules), the lineup of Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice are on fire throughout -- as they launch through a set that is split almost 50-50 between Ozzy-era classics and soon-to-be Dio-era classics. Tops on the list here are fine readings of "Neon Nights," "The Mob Rules," "N.I.B.," "Voodoo," and "Children of the Grave," as well as such rarely played Mob Rules nuggets as "Country Girl" and "Slippin' Away" (one tiny complaint is that two of the finest tracks from Dio-Sab, "Turn Up the Night" and "Sign of the Southern Cross" -- both of which were performed on this tour -- are absent, undoubtedly due to time constraints). With only 5,000 copies printed, fans should act fast, as this is quite possibly the best live Sabbath release to surface yet -- from both a sonic and performance standpoint.

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