Lee Speaks About Music… #47

The End (Blu Ray) – Black Sabbath

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Introduction…

Well I suppose it’s time to say goodbye to one of the greatest rock bands that first made an impression back in 1970 when they released their self titled album Black Sabbath. A few decades have passed us by since then, and the band have gone through a load of different singers since Ozzy Osbourne was fired by them in 1979.

The original 3 members of the band once again reunited with Osbourne in 1997 and started playing quite a lot of live shows. It was in the December of that year that I myself seen them play live in my own town of Birmingham at the NEC Arena. They put on a really great show and were performing the songs live a lot better than they did back in the 70’s to be honest.

Since the band did reform many of their fans were calling out for a new album. Though it was not until a decade and half later in the year 2013 that they finally did get to do another album together, and by then the bands drummer Bill Ward had retired from the band due to his health. Both Ward and Osbourne had also fallen out with each other at this point to, and both have never made amends since.

The bands new album entitled 13 was quite a good album and in the same year the band went on another live tour promoting it, playing songs from the new album along with old classics from the 70’s. Brad Wilk played drums on the studio album, though he never played with the band on the road, and he was replaced by Tommy Clufetos.

By the end of the tour of their new album 13 in November of 2013. The band released Live… Gathered in Their Masses which was a live concert that they played on the other side of the world in Melbourne Australia. It was released in several formats CD/DVD/Blu Ray and a Box Set and I purchased the Blu Ray. Once again I have to say it was another really great live show featuring the same lineup we have here on their latest release The End.

The End In Review…

The End by Black Sabbath was released on the 17th November 2017. I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon and it arrived on the same day. Regarding what format to buy it in was a bit confusing at the time, because none of the formats were advertised very well and you could not really see if you was going to be missing anything by just say getting the DVD only for example. So in the end I just opted to go for the single Blu Ray and got it at a very reasonable price of £14.99.

The End Release Editions…

I have to say having now seen what you get in the way of other releases it came in. I honestly think I made a very wise choice.

For example one of the other choices I could of gone for was the 2 Blu Ray edition which was going for £21.99. Now upon recently discovering what was on the 2nd Blu Ray disc. I can honestly say that I am so glad I never wasted my money in buying it.

This particular edition does come in a nice cardboard gatefold sleeve, rather than the standard Blu Ray box I got mine in. However the so called 2nd disc is not a Blu Ray at all and is in fact a CD. The CD itself contains only contains 5 audio tracks, which are the very same tracks from The Angelic Sessions which happens to be a special feature on the single Blu Ray I purchased. And on that you can see the band in the studio with your own eyes playing the bloody things.

You can actually buy the double CD of this concert for £16.99. But I do not see that as value. Especially with both the Blu Ray and the DVD being cheaper at £14.99 and £12.99 respectively, and you will not only get to hear it, but you get to see it as well, and the actual sound quality is far more superior.

In reality that so called 2 Blu Ray edition for £21.99 should of came with the Double CD of the actual concert and not just some CD with 5 tracks on it.

You could of coarse of went out with the whole hog and brought the Box Set for £49.99.

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The End Box Set.

It contains the Double CD. The Angelic CD. The DVD and the Blu Ray. You even get a slightly different booklet with 12 more pages, a few guitar pics thrown into boot and a wallet to store them in and a badge. WOW! :)))))))))).

Wow it may seem, but just look how they stored the discs in cheap cardboard wallets and why on earth would you want all these discs that contain nothing more than what’s on the DVD & Blu Ray in the first place. The only extras here are the guitar pics, the wallet and the extra 12 pages in the booklet and the badge.

The End Blu Ray Review…

The End is a concert that captures Black Sabbath performing for the very last time, right at the very end of their farewell tour. Which all ended on the 4th February 2017 in their own town of Birmingham in England at the Genting Arena which was formerly known as the NEC Arena when I first saw them back in 1997.

Since the concert was released in various media formats on the 17th November last month. I have come across quite a few mixed reviews about it, which led myself to hold back my own review to check out a few things first, and wait for more reviews from other people to surface.

There appears to be a lot of unhappy fans regarding this release just by reading some reviews, and apparently The End was put out on the cinemas before the official media release in the stores.

Eagle Rock were the team behind the film, and it appears that what was shown on the cinema did also contain some film footage of the members of the band in the way of a documentary, as well as the live concert performed at the Genting Arena in Birmingham.

To be honest I am not a cinema person so I never got to see it. I did also buy this release for the concert alone, and was not aware that any documentary had been made. But that would of made a great extra bonus feature for the Blu Ray, and I would liked to have seen that myself. So I can see why some of the fans are a bit upset.

There also seems to a lot of mixed reviews regarding the actual footage of the concert that was released. Many saying it was badly out of sync and they was not happy with the slowed down film footage you get every now and then.

Having watched the whole concert on Blu Ray a few times to be honest and I cannot see what on earth all the fuss is about. To be honest on the opening track which is the bands self titled song “Black Sabbath“. Ozzy does sing the opening verse of the song a bit too fast. But this has nothing what so ever to do with the film being out of sync, and is a case of Ozzy being out of time and nothing more. It’s also the only real mistake he does make as well.

Regarding the slowed down camera shots. This is something you get with a lot of concerts, and it’s done more for visual effect. OK for some it may be annoying but they do not do it throughout the whole of the concert and its more so in the first half. I do not really think it spoils the concert here at all. Honestly some of the people winging over this release need to get a life :))))).

The only real fault I did find on the Blu Ray was that on uploading the disc it just starts playing the concert straight away rather than present with you with a menu. By pressing the menu button on the remote control of your player it does take you to the menu so that you can make your choice of audio and see the extra bonus material and so on.

The Blu Ray.

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The main menu presents you with 4 options to choose from and plays some scenes of all the band members from the concert footage accompanied by the bands music. It’s just a shame that the disc never loaded to this screen first and you have to access it by using the remote control to get to it.

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By clicking on Songs from the main menu it presents you with the screen above which shows you all the songs that the band played at the concert. You can simply select what song you want to play.

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The Angelic Sessions is the bonus feature on the disc and here you can see the 5 songs the band played in the rehearsal studio.

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The final option from the main menu is the Audio Setup. Here you have the choice of LPCM Stereo which is set by default or the 5.1 mix which is the DTS Master Audio. Both formats come in a super high quality of 24/96K.

The 5.1 Mix.

To be honest concerts of bands like Black Sabbath are not the type of bands that will utilise the surround system for a 5.1 mix, and in general the rear speakers are more used for the noise from the audience to give you the feel and atmosphere of actually being there.

But of course it also impossible to capture the whole atmosphere of a live show on a recording and nothing beats actually being there on that score.

But no doubt a 5.1 surround mix can get closer to this feeling than any stereo recording could ever possibly get near to, and to be honest I was quite surprised how well they used the rear speakers not just for the audience but also the drums and the odd bit of Tony Iommi’s guitar to really good effect.

Ross Gregory was the guy behind the 5.1 mix and he’s done a really good job of it I have to say and overall sound of the concert is quite superb. They have also utilised the .1 sub woofer channel very well too, and it’s worth having your sub turned a notch or two more to get even more of a greater drive from your system.

The Picture Quality.

The whole of the visuals shot by the video cameras at the concert was directed by Dick Carruthers. Being a guy myself who has 100’s of music concerts on DVD and Blu Ray I can tell you that Carruthers is one of the best in the business. His work for other bands such as Led Zeppelin, OasisThe Rolling Stones and many more is phenomenal to say the least.

Reading some of the critical reviews regarding the way this concert was shot with all the angles and people saying that the quality of the picture of the Blu Ray was no better than the DVD. I can honestly say they must of watched it with shit covering their eyes (LOL).

The show looks totally awesome in full HD and I can tell you straight that no fucking DVD is ever gonna get nowhere near the pristine picture quality of the Blu Ray. It’s purely immaculate.

Musicians & Credits…

An Eagle Rock film production for Eagle Rock Entertainment LTD. Directed by Dick Carruthers. Produced by Jeremy Aziz. Director of photography Eugene O’ Connor. Edited by Tim Walcott. Supervising producer for ERF: Peter Worsley. Production manager for ERF: Melissa Morton Hicks. Audio mixed by Tony Iommi. Greg Price. Mike Exeter. Audio recording Greg Price. Additional Audio Engineering James Boblack. 5.1 Mixes WID Ross Gregory. Business Management Colin Newman.

Ozzy Osbourne: Vocals.
Tony Iommi: Guitar.
Geezer Butler: Bass.
Tommy Clufetos: Drums.
Adam Wakeman: Keyboards/Guitar.

Onto The Show…

Well just by looking at set list of the concert in the songs list in the picture I posted above, it very much seems that Black Sabbath decided to go out with most of the material from their first 4 albums. To which I feel was a bit of a shame, especially as I love the material they did on Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage just as well.

The band do play an instrumental medley of “Supernaut“. “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” and “Megalomania” whilst Ozzy goes off the stage, but that’s hardly good enough I am afraid, and to miss out songs such as “Looking For Today” and “Hole In The Sky” is sacrilege :))))).

The only other song that did not come from the first 4 albums they play is “Dirty Women” from their 6th album Technical Ecstasy. I do like that one as well and Tony Iommi does a superb job on the solo and it’s one of the high points of the show.

It’s also a bit odd that the band never chose to play anything off their last album 13. But perhaps they thought they covered that with the live release of Live… Gathered in Their Masses from 2013. Perhaps they wanted to make sure that some of their lesser known songs that never got that much live attention in past from their first 4 albums, got done on this final show in favour of some of their other classics.

Speaking of classics the band kick off the show with one with the self titled song “Black Sabbath” which gets followed by another with “Fairies Wear Boots“. Later on we get “War Pigs” and the show ends off with “Iron Man” “Dirty Women“. “Children Of The Grave” and of course no show would be complete without “Paranoid” to which they also tend to end the show on.

Overall the band do a grand job on all of the songs and once again you get to see Ozzy effing and blinding all over the stage and tipping buckets of water over himself :))))). The only time you get to see Rick Wakeman’s son Adam is when Ozzy introduces him as the man you never get to see when he’s introducing the band to you.

The Special Feature…

The special bonus feature they have titled The Angelic Sessions. It captures the band in the Angelic Studios a few days after the live show, and is the last time they played live together even if it was in a studio.

They most likely recorded these other old classics for the future release of the DVD and it’s extras feature. I was pleased that none of the 5 songs here was not ones they played at the concert, so it made this much more interesting and worth watching.

There are a few classics in the 5 songs they do here too, and it was great to see them do “Changes” with just the 3 of them and see Tony playing the piano. Geezer playing the orchestration on a synth and Ozzy singing along to it all.

Summary…

The Blu Ray edition of The End by Black Sabbath is great value for the money especially down to the fact that it’s priced at a couple of quid cheaper than double CD. I do not see the need to buy the CD when you can see and hear the concert with your own eyes in both superb higher quality with the it’s picture and sound. I would even recommend the DVD over the CD as well on that score.

No doubt some people maybe a bit fussy over the slowed down camera shots you get every now and then, which is mainly through the first half of the show. But that’s done by Dick Carruthers direction for visual effects and I honestly do not mind it myself. You do not get those effects on their last concert in 2013 with Live… Gathered in Their Masses. But for me personally they are both great concerts, but I do also feel that The End contains a better set list even if it is mainly focused on the bands first 4 albums.

Although I have not seen the documentary that was shown on the cinema. I do feel that it should of been put on the Blu Ray and it would of made a great extra feature. I have no idea why it was omitted unless they are holding it back for a later release or even for it to be shown on television at some time in the future.

Conclusion…

To conclude my review of The End by Black Sabbath. I would say that even despite there being no documentary and the fact that the band never played some of the material from the albums Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Sabotage which I would of loved to have seen. The Blu Ray still represents great value for the money and is well worth it’s price point.

I would also say that with the bands 50th Anniversary coming up next year. This may not be the end, but if it is I am so glad they choose to end it all were they started 49 years ago in my home town of Birmingham.

Yeah I Saw It, I Saw It, I Tell You No Lies…

The Set List is as follows:

01. Black Sabbath.
02. Fairies Wear Boots.
03. Under The Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes.
04. After Forever.
05. Into the Void.
06. Snowblind.
07. War Pigs.
08. Behind the Wall of Sleep.
09. (Basically Geezer Butler Bass Solo) N.I.B.
10. Hand of Doom.
11. Supernaut / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Megalomania / Rat Salad / Drum Solo (Instrumental Medley).
12. Iron Man .
13. Dirty Women.
14. Children of the Grave.
15. Paranoid.

Lee’s overall Complete Blu Ray Value Rating…

The Picture Quality Rating Score. 10/10

The 5.1 Mix Rating Score. 7/10.

The Bonus Material Rating Score. 5/10

The Overall Blu Ray Rating Score. 8/10.

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