A review by Eric Goldberg


I was one of the lucky few who saw Sabbath at Great Woods in Mansfield, MA on July 13, 1995. Great Woods is one of those outdoor amphitheater type venues with covered seats and a "lawn" section with no roof. There are two rows of three sections each under the roof. My point in giving this information is that only part of the first three sections were filled. The few people who had purchased lawn tickets were actually allowed to go down to the front and sit in the seats because so few tickets were sold.

I had a number of reactions to the fact that so few tickets were sold. First I was saddened to see that Tony Martin, who I was just beginning to appreciate (I know I missed the boat, but hindsight is 20/20), was unable to lead the band to their rightful place. Second was that the mighty have fallen, and the world is changing too quickly for a Sabbath that may have been becoming a shadow of their former selves. Finally, I've got some great f-ing seats and not too many jerks around to ruin my concert experience.

This was by no means my first Sabbath concert. In fact, since Mob Rules I had seen them every time they came to my area (eastern MA) without fail except for Cross Purposes. (Fortunately they put out the live version of that tour so I can at least say I saw it in one way.)

First up was Tiamat. Somewhere between gothic rock and death metal, with a bit too much melodrama and volume and not enough character, soul, or passion for my taste.

Next up was Motorhead. I had been a fan of Motorhead since the early 80's first cutting my teeth on Iron Fist and Another Perfect Day before going back and getting their previous discs. (When I say discs, I really mean those big black 12" vinyl things that those of us over a certain age still cherish.) While I managed to still love Motorhead when Fast Eddie was replaced by Brian Robertson, they lost my love when they added a fourth member: I just didn't see the need for them to do it, and I thought it hurt their sound. That said, they still put on a blistering show.

Finally: Black Sabbath. I admit that at this point, I hadn't bought any of their studio efforts since Tyr (Dehumanizer, Cross Purposes, and Forbidden), so some of the material was new to me. But it was still a fantastic show. My opinion of Tony Martin ay this point was that he could pull off the Ozzy stuff better than he could the Dio stuff, and that he had great range, but not enough power at all levels of his range. I have since stopped comparing him to Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio, and have come to appreciate him as the fine singer that he is. If only I had appreciated him as much back then, it likely would have brought my enjoyment of this show to a new level. However, I did enjoy his loose and relaxed stage presence, and I thought it was contagious to the rest of the band who all seemed to enjoy playing together for us.

Tony Iommi was loose and smiling. It seemed to me that the small size of the crowd was not a let-down to him, but an opportunity to be loose and experimental. It was a similar set to other reviews I've read, but his playing was relaxed and energetic at the same time. He didn't prowl the stage like a caged animal, but rather walked like a man freed from a cage and really paid attention to the crowd and the other musicians.

While I hope the band continues the wild success they have regained since the many reunion tours with Bill and Ozzy, on some level, I hope I get to see them again playing to a small crowd. Only the serious fans were there, and they listened to and appreciated the band without screaming during songs like you tend to get at Ozzfest. It is an experience I will always treasure.

Posted by: Joe Siegler Author Profile Page at July 13, 2010 11:59 AM