It’s getting ever more expensive to attend a live concert nowadays. The cost of a pair of tickets alone can run a person well over a hundred dollars. Factor in the cost of gas, food, souvenirs, and potentially even lodging, and a person can spend quite a bit on just one concert. The cost of tickets alone is about to go up even more in 2014 for residents of one state thanks to a new tax law that will go into effect in 2014. Taking all of this into account, it becomes increasingly wise to just pick up a live recording of one’s favorite band, musician, or musical group. The question is which live releases are well worth the one-time cost for audiences that would rather save some money while enjoying a great concert? One recommendation is Black Sabbath’s new live Blu-ray and DVD, Black Sabbath Live..Gathered in their Masses. The first live recording from the band in many years, this live concert recording is one of the best live recordings of 2013. It is so worthwhile first and foremost because of its set list. The show’s set list more than lives up to the oft-used term, career-spanning. Just as important to note in this concert is the band’s very performance. While one band member is noticeably absent, he is replaced quite effectively by another individual. And his frenetic energy combined with that of the remaining original members exudes something almost magical. Last but not least important to consider in this concert is the audio and video mix. Both the audio and video are expertly mixed. The camera crews take viewers up close with the band throughout the near two-hour concert. It only adds to that magical sense, completing the overall presentation and making this new recording one that fans both of Black Sabbath and hard rock in general will enjoy time and again.
The term “career-defining” is far too often tossed around for live performances. Far too many of those recordings are in fact anything but career defining. In the case of Black Sabbath though, that term is more than deserved. The band includes nearly every one of the hits that have continued to make it the paramount band that it has remained for decades despite being inactive just as long. ‘War Pig’s’ opens the show as are the equally beloved ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Black Sabbath.’ It’s all bookended by another massive hit in ‘Paranoid.’ Those that are hoping for something more recent get that, too in the form of ‘Methademic’, ‘End of the Beginning’ and ‘God Is Dead?’ These songs comprise just part of the band’s extensive set list. There are plenty more songs included in this show that play into its success. Audiences will each have their favorites when they pick up the new recording for themselves on Blu-ray and DVD.
The set list chosen for this concert is part of the heart of the concert’s success. Just as important to the success of the recording is the band’s onstage presence. It’s incredible to think how many years had passed since Ozzy, Geezer, and Tony had performed together under the Black Sabbath moniker. Drummer Bill Ward was not on hand. Allegedly there are some hurt feelings between him and his now former band mates for some reason. That’s not what’s important here, though. Tommy Clufetos, who records and tours with Ozzy’s own band, handles drum duties on this concert. And he more than handles his appointed duties, too. He plays with the same intensity of a young John Bonham. That’s evident both in the case of his work with the rest of the band and on his solos. The rest of the band seems to feed off of Clufetos’ energy, too. That energy is evident throughout the band’s performance, too. The band may be years older, but they definitely got their audience just as energetic and excited. Home viewers will feel it, too. And that’s just one more aspect of this recording that makes it one of the year’s best.
The set list and stage presence of Ozzy and company are both extremely important in the overall enjoyment of Black Sabbath’s new live recording. There is still one more factor to consider in examining this recording. That factor is the recording’s combined audio and video mix. The audio and video mix of any live recording is its foundation. Far too often, people take this factor for granted. But there are those recordings that suffer in these areas because of someone that is either inexperienced or simply doesn’t care to do their job the right way. Luckily for Black Sabbath fans, that isn’t the case here. The video and audio were both expertly mixed. Even as large as the venue was, the audio is crisp and clear. The same can be said for the video mix. It works with the set list and the band’s overall stage show to make Black Sabbath Live…Gathered in Their Masses a recording that is just as worth the money as going to see Black Sabbath live if not more so. It is available now in stores and online.
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