Live Evil, released in December 1982 (see 1982 in music) and in January 1983 in the UK, is the first "official" live album by British heavy metal band Black Sabbath, the previously released Live at Last (1980) not having been sanctioned by the band. It was recorded with Ronnie James Dio singing and is a document of the Mob Rules World Tour, that ran from 15 November 1981 to 13 August 1982. The 2007 limited-edition release Live at Hammersmith Odeon is from this same tour.
The sleeve states that Live Evil was recorded in Seattle, San Antonio and Dallas, but doesn't give the venues or recording dates for the individual songs. (Black Sabbath played Seattle on 23–24 April 1982, Dallas on 12 May, and San Antonio on 13 May 1982.) To further confuse matters, during a radio broadcast of his band Dio, recorded live in 1983 in Fresno, CA, Ronnie James Dio says, "Just in case you didn't know, the album Live Evil that we [Dio and drummer Vinny Appice] did with Black Sabbath here last time was recorded at Fresno.' It is not unreasonable to assume that many of the shows were recorded with a view to the live album (see the aforementioned Live at Hammersmith Odeon) but whether any of the tracks recorded at Fresno, where Sabbath played 18 April 1982, made the final cut is unknown at present.
Already having tense relations with the other band members, Dio and Appice abruptly left the group sometime in October 1982, during the mixing of the album, amidst rumors that they had sneaked into the studio late at night to mix the drums and vocals higher. All parties have since denied that this occurred and laid the blame on the engineer, who was 'telling tales'. In what Dio has called retaliation for his and Appice's departure from the group, on the back of the album, Dio is listed as "Ronnie Dio" instead of his stage-name of "Ronnie James Dio," and Appice is listed as a special guest rather than a member of the band. Production credits were ultimately for Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler and whilst the band sound well-mixed, the crowd is all but inaudible. It is interesting that when the "Neon Knights" single was released in 1980, it was Iommi and Dio who had produced the live version of "Children Of the Sea" which was the B-side.
One of the most popular tracks on the album is a near 20-minute long medley that includes "Heaven and Hell" (with its extended breakdown section and additional lyrics), "The Sign of the Southern Cross", a guitar solo, and finishing off the ending of "Heaven and Hell".
The 5th track, "Voodoo" features an ad libitum part from Dio, enhancing the song with additional lyrics not to be found on the studio version.
Early in the "Heaven and Hell" medley Dio tells the audience "Not only are we filming this one...", but the footage have yet to become commercially available. The show in Dallas was filmed and some footage can be found on YouTube. This material is different from the footage on the Black & Blue video, laserdisc and ultimately the DVD pulled before general release, which was recorded on the Heaven and Hell tour on 17 October 1980.
The album cover shows a group of beings that each represent specific Black Sabbath songs. They are:
The album cover art was created by Stan Watts.
The cassette release had, as its first side, sides 1 and 3 of the vinyl release, with side two of the cassette being vinyl sides 2 and 4. It seems this was not a mistake, rather a money-saving exercise, since the running-times of the two sides of the tape were more-or-less equal in this configuration.
The first UK CD release omitted "War Pigs" (or "Warpigs" as it was titled in the explanation for its cutting, printed on the rear of the tray-insert), so as to fit onto a single CD. The 1996 UK remaster restored this track but cut much of the stage banter, so as to again fit onto a single CD: this reduced the 'live' feel of the recordings.
In the US Warner Brothers released a 2CD set, which matched the running-order of the vinyl. Each of these WB CDs came in its own jewel-case, complete with artwork, rather than a 2CD jewel-case.
|United States||December 1982||Warner Bros. Records|
|United Kingdom||18 January 1983||Vertigo Records|
|Canada||???||Warner Bros. Records|
|United Kingdom||1996||Castle Communications|
|United Kingdom||2004||Sanctuary Records|
|United States||October 2008||Rhino Records|