From: Marty Cassady

Hi Joe...

I saw Black Sabbath in February 1977 at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia (Salem is a smaller town next to Roanoke.) I can't find my old ticket stub -- I'm sure it's somewhere deep in my stash of rock memorabilia -- but I'm 90% sure the date was 2-27-77 (something about the 2's and 7's.)

I was 15 at the time and this was my first "serious" rock show, and the first one I'd ever been to where pot was openly smoked and basically tolerated by the local police. The show was similar to the '77 Cincinnati show reviewed by Sunlion; it was intensely loud, and the Salem arena only has seats on the sides and just a flat concrete wall on the ends, so the echo made everything much louder (every note of the drum solo was heard twice -- must have been great for all the folks on psychedelics.) The setlist you posted for the Technical Ecstasy tour sounds about right -- I remember that there was no encore, but the set was quite long. Target and Bob Seger opened, as in Cincinnati. Seger did a good show and was enthusiastically received. The only thing I remember about Target was that they said "Hello, West Virginia!" and were rather loudly corrected by the crowd. When Sabbath came out my friends & I were sitting along the side, and the stage had a curtain frame around the front which made it impossible to see Ozzy, who was on the side to the audience's right (Tony Iommi was at stage center.) So after a song or two we went and stood on the floor, right in the middle maybe 60 feet from the stage. I bought a concert program which had all sorts of pictures and interviews in it -- I can't find that either, of course. My friends all liked Bob Seger more than Sabbath, but their taste was questionable to begin with (they all had way too many Fleetwood Mac albums for their own good.)

In the ensuing 25 years or so I've moved on to a lot of different music -- punk, underground/indie rock, experimental music, avant-garde jazz -- but I still love Sabbath. I heard Henry Rollins describe a state of total ecstasy as "when I'm listening to the first 4 Black Sabbath albums in my head simultaneously." He got it about right.

Posted by: Joe Siegler Author Profile Page at November 30, 2009 4:23 PM