This is certainly the most essential Black Sabbath video release on bootleg to date. The quality of the beautiful digipack, complete with informative liner notes to the picture disc and the nicely programmed menu/navigation on the DVD. Top notch.
The title centers around 2 key video documents that are precious in that 1970's Black Sabbath video are simply scarce. Retro-Tone has provided the best conversion of the very early Paris 1970 show to lead things off and this remastered source is taken from what is referred to as the "BETA Max HQ" transfer tape. This is what was served up on the Bit Torrent sites on the internet in early 2007. What is impressive on this new DVD is the efforts to digitally clean and brighten this video - thankfully with much success! The graininess and "dark" setting is stripped away so that we can enjoy a more lively and colorful experience. Very nicely done.
The September 19, 1970 performance was originally filmed on 16mm for the Belgian TV program "Pop Shop" according to the liner notes, and caught the band on their Euro Tour to promote the new Paranoid LP. This was re-broadcast on British TV by Yorkshire and Tyne Tees Television and was aired in two-30 minute segments on separate Friday evenings a week apart. Most collectors will instantly recognize this footage as it was included on a couple of official releases such as "The Black Sabbath Story Volume One" and even Ozzy Osbournes latest "Don't Blame Me". Here it is in wonderful quality in both video and audio.
The other primary feature on the DVD is my favorite Sabbath video yet, their 25 minute 1975 appearance the Don Kirshner's Rock Concert TV show. It captures the band at their peak during the tail end of the late Summer 1975 Sabotage Tour and presents them exactly as I remember the one show I was able to see during this same period. They are on fire here and is absolutely essential as well. I should state that the audio during the opening "Killing Yourself To Live" sounds a little rougher than my downloaded version but there is no tinkering with this one - it's otherwise presented pretty much as it was served up on the net earlier this year. For as long as it's been out there, this video is constantly referenced as being from the Long Beach Arena in California - in the liner notes of this package, Retro-Tone references Dave Tangye's book, "How Black Was My Sabbath" from March of 2004 that cites it's really from the Santa Monica Civic Center. How this researched fact didn't get translated immediately on the Torrent sites is rather interesting, as you get all the fanatics chiming in on this stuff. But here is some seemingly substantiated information to go along with the DVD release.
The bonus video of "Never Say Die" from the BBC's Top Of The Pops in 1975 is a nice inclusion but not the best quality. Take it as it is, a bonus. Now, can we PLEASE locate the entire April 6, 1974 California Jam Broadcast Master tape?....please?