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Black Sabbath

Never Say Die DVD

Review by Greg Olma

There is not a lot of video footage from Ozzy Osbourne’s initial tenure with Black Sabbath.  Aside from a 1970 Paris concert, some footage from Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and a few TV appearances, there really is not much out there.  Younger fans don’t have a point of reference because many new bands have a ton of video (just look on Youtube), but bands from the 70s (and even early 80s) could not afford to have their shows filmed.  That is why this DVD is essential.  Sure, the quality is lacking compared to newer DVDs, but you just have to realize that picture quality was not razor sharp in 1979.  In fact, I would venture to say that the fuzziness adds extra charm.  I used to have this on video tape back in the day and I would say that the visuals are better than my old tape. 

As for the performance, this was not Black Sabbath during its prime.  Rumor has it that opening act Van Halen blew them off the stage each night. (I wasn’t there so I’ll leave that judgment to the fans that did attend the tour).  Either way, Osbourne was bloated, and his voice was shot, but the rest of the band sounded great.  Tony Iommi can be seen grinning during parts of the show, so he seemed to be having a good time during the performance. 

If there are any complaints that I have about this release, one is that is it not the full show.  They must have recorded all the songs from the show and edited it down later to make the original video tape.  Maybe the original raw video footage has been lost to time, but something tells me that it is probably languishing in some Warner Brother’s vault with an inch of dust on it.  Based on the fact that this show was from the Never Say Die tour, they didn’t even include the title track, which was part of the set list on that tour.  That all being said, I still love this DVD release and think it is essential to any Black Sabbath collection. 

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2018  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

 
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