Along with their 1974 performance at the California Jam and the glorious 1975 Asbury Park show, Black Sabbath‘s December, 1970, performance in Paris, France is among the group’s most famous bootlegs. Various snippets have made the rounds over the years — mostly video — but the soundboard audio from the show, coupled with the fact that it’s the original lineup in their Paranoid-era, was too good for me to pass up on eBay recently. Maybe it was posting the “N.I.B.” video last week that did it. Maybe it was the wine. Could go either way.
Whatever the case, it was one of those shows I had downloaded forever ago, but definitely of a quality worth owning physically. Even as Ozzy butchers the lyrics to nearly every song — “War Pigs” and “Hand of Doom” are especially brutal — the energy with which he does so practically punches you in the face through the speakers, and Bill Ward holds down “Black Sabbath” like I haven’t heard in any other era of the band. All the material was fresh, immediate, and fortunately, the sound on the War Pigs bootleg is good enough to capture that.
I’m pretty sure it’s a home-print job, inkjet, burner, whatnot, but it’s a silver-backed disc and I paid less than $20 for it, and in this age of sabboots, each of those is rare enough on its own that to have them both at the same time feels like getting away with something. If you’re into Sabbath bootlegs, you probably already have this show one way or another — I’ve never had much interest in collecting bootleg videos, but I know plenty of people who do — but if you don’t, it’s an essential piece to the catalog.
Interestingly (or maybe not), the track list on the back of the CD is wrong, and “Black Sabbath” is not the closer of the show, “Fairies Wear Boots” is. “Black Sabbath” comes after “Iron Man” — written as one word on the CD — though it kicks enough ass it could have just as easily ended the set. “Behind the Wall of Sleep” is another highlight, for Tony Iommi‘s hypnotic solo if not Geezer Butler‘s running bass, which is low on “War Pigs” to the point of needing to be adjusted on the EQ, but well worth the minimal effort of doing so.
There are plenty of other copies out there, and even if it’s a cheap inkjet knockoff that you’re getting, the War Pigs bootleg captures young Sabbath at their most vital and as they never would be again. If you see it, get it.
Tags: Birmingham, Black Sabbath, Gods, UK