"Live at Last" is the first live album released by British heavy metal act Black Sabbath. Released through NEMS Enterprises in July 1980 after Ozzy Osbourne had left the band (or rather had been kicked out) but with recordings from the 1973 tour this live album release was not received well by, the then new incarnation, of Black Sabbath with Dio on vocals. However for the fans of Ozzy Osbourne era Black Sabbath it was a long overdue opportunity to listen to some live recordings by the band.
The song selection is pretty natural when you consider that Black Sabbath were touring in support of "Volume four (1972)" and most songs come from this album (three out of nine and an excerpt of "Supernaut" in the "Wicked World" jam section). The debut album is represented by "Wicked World" (which was only featured on the US release of the debut), "Paranoid (1970)" by "War Pigs", "Master of Reality (1971)" by "Sweet Leaf", "Embryo/Children of the Grave" and an excerpt of "Into the Void". In addition to that there´s also a song ("Killing Yourself to Live") from the then yet unreleased 5th full-length studio album by Black Sabbath which would be titled "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973)". The version of "Wicked World" is 18:59 minutes long and includes loads of improvised guitar soloing by Tony Iommi, a drum solo by Bill Ward and quite surprisingly (at least to me who´s never seen them live) a jazz rock section. Maybe another desperate attempt by Tony Iommi to show the critics that there was more to Black Sabbath than just heavy riffs? In this case the attempt is actually quite successful to my ears and a nice variation in the set.
The performance is good and even though Ozzy Osbourne doesn´t always hit the right notes he´s as enthusiastic as ever and the phrase: "We Love You" is more than once during the set communicated to the audience. I wouldn´t call the overall performance by the band excellent or wildly inspired though and the rather bad sound quality doesn´t really help on my impression either. It might be stretching it a bit but the production could be catagorized as a good bootleg sound quality.
"Live at Last" is not an essential listening experience neither for fans nor for the casual listener IMO. But it is a pretty good yet raw and unpolished live album and especially for fans of Ozzy Osbourne era Black Sabbath there are much to enjoy here. 3 stars (60%) are deserved.