Review Of The Week – Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition

A while back I had read on Blabbermouth how Ozzy would be rereleasing Blizzard Of Oz and Diary Of A Madman, and my first thought was here we go again! Would this rerelease contain Trujillo and Borden? Or Daisley and Kerslake? The other thing to come to mind was an old VH1 special where Ozzy bashes Kiss and Gene Simmons, when they’ve had the dignity to only rerelease their albums once, while this is the fourth release on CD of these two albums.

I’m happy to say that Ozzy and his team have gone out of their way to make this release special. I purchased the 30th Anniversary Collectors Edition, it contains the following items:

Blizzard Of Ozz (expanded edition)
Diary Of A Madman (2 CD- Legacy Edition)
Blizzard Of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman (Vinyl Edition)
DVD – Thirty Years After The Blizzard
100 Page Coffee Book
Poster and replica of Ozzy’s cross

The tracks are remastered with Daisley and Kerslake being featured on both studio albums. This boxed set also features the first vinyl I’ve purchased in twenty years. The vinyl looks exactly like the original vinyls that came out in the 80s on Jet Records. The Diary Of A Madman CD is exactly the same as the original album, while Blizzard of Ozz contains the tracks “You Looking At Me, Looking At You”, and a 2010 remix of “Goodbye To Romance” which only features Ozzy and RANDY RHOADS. The one thing that is confusing is the live CD, it is listed as Ozzy Live on the back of the boxed set, and when I pop it into my system, iTunes detects it as Diary Of A Madman CD 2.

That aside, the real gems here are the live CD and DVD. Listening and watching both of these brought me right back to when I bought the Tribute album on vinyl as a kid. I remember getting home, going over to my neighbor’s house and reading him the notes, and checking out the pictures with him. Playing the album was mind blowing. I was too young to see Randy live (I was 9 when he died), and hearing him play so many classic songs live was just amazing.

RUDY SARZO’s book Off The Rails makes reference to the show that was used on the Tribute album, and alludes to the fact that one other show was recorded for WESTWOOD ONE. I am assuming that this is the show included in the boxed set. On a side note the track “No Bone Movies” that appears on Tribute actually comes from this other show. Randy’s playing is just amazing on the new CD. Although some of the licks are the same on these tracks, most are not. How many bands do you see nowadays that do this? Normally they’re playing everything identically the same no matter when you see them on tour. If you’re not familiar with his playing, he doesn’t get to the point where his playing is over the top, he’s tastefully accenting the songs.

What really blew me away was the DVD. It is great to see people like LEMMY talk about Randy and OZZY, ROB HALFORD. But what about STEVE VAI who mention something to the effect of Blizzard Of Ozz being the first album in a long time to offer something new guitarwise. The live footage is what makes this all worth wild, seeing Randy play live makes it all worth wild. Of course we’ve all seen bits and pieces of the band on AFTERHOURS. This footage is on YouTube and was heavily featured in the “Crazy Train” video that came out along with the Tribute album. Seeing him live at the Palladium in New York, in San Antonio during the Diary Of A Madman Tour is just way beyond cool. He shreds so effortlessly, and conveys emotion through his playing in a way that we haven’t felt and heard before on the studio albums, or in countless pictures that we’ve seen over the years. It almost makes his loss even greater.

Rounding out the live band is the aforementioned SARZO on bass and ever so influential TOMMY ALDRIDGE. All you have to do is compare his playing on the live tracks to KERSLAKE’s on the studio albums to see what I’m referring to (can you say double bass).

I would recommend this boxed set to any die hard OZZY or RANDY RHOADS fans. The live components alone make this boxed set worth its wild. Throw in the coffee book which features a lot of obscure pictures from that era, the poster, the cross (will anyone actually wear this?), and some classic vinyls and CDs, and you’ve got one of the best boxed sets that has been released in the past few years.

Grade: A+