Category Archives: Concert Review

the End tour – Melbourne Concert Review

Cgfqow3UUAEM4w7Black Sabbath is a totally unique band. Think about what comes from guitar, bass, drums and one of the most distinctive vocalists of the rock era. When Black Sabbath stops later this year, a piece of rock history will be over.

“Is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end”. For Melbourne it was the last Black Sabbath show ever but for Black Sabbath they still have a long way to go. There are shows still to come for Europe and the Americas.

Melbourne fans came out in the thousands to farewell the founders of metal. Before Black Sabbath there was no such thing as metal. The term was made for them. To watch them is like watching an inventor explain his device.

And so it was for 1 hour and 40 minutes until our last glimpse at Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi together took place in Melbourne, Australia.

The setlist was interesting. The newest song Dirty Women was 40 years old. Nine of the 14 songs came from the first two albums Black Sabbath and Paranoid, both released in 1970. There was nothing from the recent 13.

Black Sabbath represented a moment in time and tonight was a look back in time. It was a time when artists took risks, were themselves, spoke a message. Sabbath surfaced just after Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin and well after The Beatles, The Stones and The Who. When you think of who preceded them, they didn’t follow, instead they challenged and carved a new rock route.

Watching Sabbath’s final moments was important because it reminds everyone that greatness doesn’t come from copying, it comes from creating. From the very moment you heard the opening sounds of the very first song there was no mistaking who this band was.

Black Sabbath albums are some of the greatest artistic works of our time. We have lost so many great acts in recent times, like Bowie and Lemmy, already this year. We are at a stage in live music where we are lucky that some of the creators of the renaissance of the rock era are still here to perform … but it won’t last forever. This is a band that won’t be replaced by the next big thing.

There is definitely something surreal witnessing what we know is the final stage of one of the greatest rock bands in history.

Black Sabbath set list, Melbourne, April 19, 2016

Main Set
Black Sabbath (from Black Sabbath, 1970)
Fairies Wear Boots (from Paranoid, 1970)
After Forever (from Master of Reality, 1971)
Snowblind (from Volume 4, 1974)
Into The Void (from Master of Reality, 1971)
War Pigs (from Paranoid, 1970)
Behind The Wall of Sleep (from Black Sabbath, 1970)
N.I.B. (from Black Sabbath, 1970)
Hand of Doom (from Paranoid, 1970)
Rat Salad (from Paranoid, 1970)
Iron Man (from Paranoid, 1970)
Dirty Women (from Technical Ecstasy, 1976)
Children of the Grave (from Master of Reality, 1971)
Paranoid (from Paranoid, 1970)
Article courtsey of Paul Cashmere, Noise11

Photo: courtesy of Ross Halfin

the End tour – Adelaide Concert review


the end tour – Adelaide Concert

After 47 years of writing, recording, and touring it has all come down to this – The End. Starting this tour in Omaha, Nebraska, Ozzy Osbourne and Co. have traversed the planet, and last night (April 17) they brought their epic live show to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.

Thousands gathered outside the AEC front doors, waiting eagerly to charge in. They wanted nothing more than to experience the band that so many of the middle-aged crowd had likely idolised for the majority of their lives. This being the last time that Black Sabbath – in this form, anyway – would be appearing in little old Adelaide, it had all the makings of a historic event.

Hailing from Long Beach, California, support act Rival Sons had a high standard to live up to, and they certainly did so. Receiving much louder entrance applause than they had expected, the four piece (five including the gloriously-bearded touring keyboard player) fired into Electric Man, the opening track from 2014s Great Western Valkyrie, and sparked the crowd to life. Searing vocals from Jay Buchanan and tight backing from the band allowed the band to create an electrifying blend of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company that and wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place in the 1970s.

By the time they’d rolled into Pressure and Time, the crowd was well and truly warmed up and with the closing trio of Where I’ve Been, Open My Eyes, and Keep On Swinging, Rival Sons had performed beyond expectations.

Darkness then covered the masses, and the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne sprinted from backstage to greet the crowd warmly. Riff-machine Tony Iommi, groove-master Geezer Butler, and replacement-drummer Tommy Clufetos, swiftly took to the stage to a deafening roar.

They opened with the tune that started it all – Black Sabbath. A dark, pulverising, track, it gave the fans exactly what they wanted. It was clear that the group, through all of the line-up changes, hiatuses, and solo careers, were still at the top of their game even though they’re well and truly past their prime.

Playing tracks from their self-titled debut, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, and Technical Ecstasy, the heavy metal pioneers seemed to enjoy themselves more than the audience did – which is saying quite a lot.

12983993_10153602148601818_7390017116069612916_oWhat Ozzy might now lack in maneuverability, he makes up for in wit and enthusiasm, and there were very few instances of the voice troubles that apparently plagued their Perth show. Iommi and Butler were as cool, calm, and collected as ever, performing their rolls, and occasionally having a slight chuckle at Osbourne’s antics and crowd engagement. “I remember coming here in 2003 – wait – no, it was 1971,” he remarked, showing no signs of his infamous reality-TV former self. Original drummer Bill Ward’s replacement, Clufetos, performed admirably, never trying to outdo his older bandmates. His extended drum solo was flawless, but it felt a little forced; almost as to say “sorry Bill wasn’t here, but look, this guy is REALLY good too.” The lack of Bill Ward was the only negative of the night.
Crowd pleasers War Pigs, Iron Man, and Children of the Grave were performed impeccably, resulting in the crowd pouring all of their love back onto the band. Paranoid closed out what was undeniably a memorable night. If this is truly is the end, the world will sorely miss this monumental group, cause they’re still pretty damn impressive.

Article courtesy of Rip It Up

Photos courtesy of Sanjaka


the End tour – Perth Concert review

getimagecontent_1_1bh3d4p-1bh3d6dOpening with the aptly titled Black Sabbath, the song’s slow beat and droning guitar alongside pacing lyrics acted like a mission statement.

“Let’s go crazy tonight!” Ozzy Osbourne barked mid-song, and Tony Iommi’s guitar twisted into a muted frenzy with Geezer Butler turning up the grit on his bass.

Some call and response between Osbourne and the audience was rewarded with sludge metal megahit Into The Void, and various audience members couldn’t contain their enthusiasm, with some seated punters upright and head banging so hard they had a real chance of leaving with a concussion – all in the name of air guitar and air drumming dedication.

A band introduction on the first night of the tour saw the effects of long-haul flights kick in for the legendary wordsmith. “I’m still jetlagged from the flight so please excuse me,” Osbourne admitted through a constantly breaking voice. He could barely talk, but singing was a different matter.

At 67 years of age, it’s hard to fault his stage presence or (for the most part) vocal ability, with the singer able to hold a steady note for days. Although, after hearing “I can’t hear you! I still can’t hear you!” every second song, one might think his stage banter is less about theatrics and more a medical condition.

War Pigs also suffered a false start: “Sorry about that folks, it’s our first night in Australia.” But it was only one of few faults from the band.

Osbourne might steal the spotlight and be the most widely known member but it wasn’t just a one man show, with the band’s other three members (and the session musos hidden side of stage by curtains) proving their worth over and over again, from Butler’s sweeping, mesmerising intro to N.I.B. and more, drummer Tommy Clufetos pounding the absolute shit out of the drums in every song (almost stealing the entire show with a drum solo while the main man took a mid-set break), and Iommi making complex guitar work look like child’s play; all three powerhouse elements coming together nicely during various jams throughout the set.

Apart from their shredding ability, there was nothing more metal than a punter in a wheelchair crowd surfing to Iron Man, and that was indeed one of the show’s highlights.

getimagecontent_1_1bh3d61-1bh3d6eThe pace and structure of each song was truly what kept things interesting; a songwriting trait that helped them pioneer a genre and still holds up today, hits like Hand Of Doom and Children Of The Grave a prime example of that.

Before anyone had a chance to soak in a memorable and historic hour-and-a-half, the end of the beginning of the end had arrived with encore Paranoid (featuring crowd surfing wheelchair punter again) and Black Sabbath had played their final ever Perth show. The show was a bittersweet goodbye to an iconic band that had given punters so much over the past five decades.

The end Tour – San Jose concert review

12654186_185081898523367_2397961654819358675_nOzzy Osbourne stalked the stage with manic delight. Tony Iommi burned through one face-melting guitar lead after another. And Geezer Butler’s basslines were as heavy as heavy can be.

It was a thing of thundering beauty, made all that more poignant by the knowledge that there won’t be many more opportunities to experience it again.

It was the beginning of a long goodbye for local fans, as the legendary heavy metal band Black Sabbath brought its farewell tour to the SAP Center in San Jose on Tuesday. The other shoe is scheduled to drop when Ozzy and crew return to the Bay Area to perform on Sept. 15 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

The British band managed to underscore all the reasons why it will be so dearly missed during Tuesday’s show. Indeed, Sabbath sounded so strong that, at times, it seemed like an absolutely ludicrous idea for these guys to even be thinking about hanging it up. Yet, if the goal is to go out on top — in peak fighting form — then Sabbath is right on track.

Following the opening set by Rival Sons, the main attraction took the stage and slowly uncurled its namesake song, the epic title track to the 1970 debut “Black Sabbath.” Osbourne’s vocals, which have ranged greatly in quality over the years, sounded comparatively strong on this night — powerful, confident and (mostly) clear. The 67-year-old former reality TV star also showed a goodly amount of energy, running about and clapping his hands.

The group then charged through “Fairies Wear Boots,” from the 1970 quadruple-platinum effort “Paranoid.” Iommi starred in this song, like he did in so many others. The supremely talented guitarist, who has battled cancer in recent years, was a regular volcano of riffs, firing off leads so hot they should’ve come with warning labels.

The sold-out crowd, numbering some 13,000 strong, reacted with great enthusiasm to the heavy metal onslaught. The fans, many of whom were old enough to possibly remember buying “Paranoid” on eight-track tape, sang along at top volume and pumped their firsts in air for much of the approximately two-hour show.

Ca1gRDFUsAAWSsiThe set list drew almost exclusively from the band’s first three albums. Unfortunately, Sabbath only played one track (“Snowblind”) from what is, by far, its best album — 1972’s “Vol. 4” — and it entirely skipped over 1973’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” Hearing the title track to the later, after all, should be required at all Sabbath shows.

Sabbath did find time for “Dirty Women,” a tune that stands as one of the few reasons for listening to the band’s seventh studio album, 1976’s “Technical Ecstasy.” It also remembered “God Is Dead?” from “13,” the band’s 19th — and supposedly final — album.

Supporting Iommi, Osbourne and Ward — three founding members of the band — was Tommy Clufetos, a powerhouse drummer who has worked with Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie and others. Clufetos was handling the beats and rhythms originally made famous by Bill Ward, who left the fold in 2013.

The band closed the main set with an epic run through “Children of the Grave,” which featured more fireworks from Iommi, and then returned for an encore of “Paranoid.”


Article courtsey of / by Jim Harrington


Sabbath calls it a night in Tacoma… for good

CalxPCrUAAEfeklFrom Ozzy Osbourne’s throaty screams to Tony Iommi’s ribbons of guitar notes, Black Sabbath was Black Sabbath at least one more time Saturday (Feb. 6) at the Tacoma Dome.

It was the Northwest stop of the band’s final tour, billed as “The End.” It’s safe to say the expectations of the 20,000-plus fans there were met — and probably exceeded.

The group credited with inventing heavy metal began with its titular track, as the JumboTron showed a demon born from a red egg and light washed over the crowd like a bath of fire. The rush of energy in the Dome felt genuine and celebratory

Osbourne, Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler were joined by 36-year-old drummer Tommy Clufetos, who filled in for original member Bill Ward.

Known for its looming, brooding rebellion and big, bassy rhythms mixed with quick yet heavy guitar riffs, the band struck note after note, beat after beat perfectly during its 14-song, 100-minute set. Butler and Iommi were exceedingly proficient, their fingers metronomic.

Hits included “Paranoid” and “War Pigs,” each of which spawned head bangs and fist pumps from the adoring crowd.

12710925_216514022027311_5393147612054907987_oThough Osbourne, Iommi and Butler, all in their late 60s, were visibly slowed by age — including Osbourne’s slight physical tremors and his well-known muttering — the band’s music didn’t suffer. And besides, the point of the night was to appreciate, not criticize, if for just one more time.

The point was for the gray-haired heavy-metal fan 25 rows up to forget his day-to-day grind, lean as far over the railing as he could, hold an invisible microphone in both hands, and shout-sing the lyrics for over an hour and a half. The point was to live for just one more night in the bat-chewed, dark art of heavy-metal music.

This did not seem to be lost on Osbourne, who said to the audience, “Thank you for my life,” before exiting the stage with his band.

And just like that it was over.


1. Black Sabbath
2. Fairies Wear Boots
3. After Forever
4. Into the Void
12711122_216513958693984_2660081911227125736_o5. Snowblind
6. War Pigs
7. Behind the Wall of Sleep
8. N.I.B.
9. Hand of Doom
10. Rat Salad
11. Iron Man
12. Dirty Women
13. Children of the Grave
14.Encore: Paranoid

Article courtesy of Jake Uitti / The Seattle Times

Photo courtesy of Amanda Fritz & Entertainment Whore

All evil things must come to an end – Winnipeg concert review

CZ0NNwEUEAAkZ7yAll evil things must come to an end. Even Black Sabbath. Thankfully, the dark lords of heavy metal were kind enough to bring the fourth show of their farewell tour — rightly dubbed The End — to MTS Centre on Wednesday. And give the devils their due: They raised holy hell for 8,000 black-clad headbanging diehards. Granted, that’s what you expect from Prince of Darkness frontman Ozzy Osbourne, lefthanded guitar god Tony Iommi and lead bassist Geezer Butler. But the truth is it was not a given. After all, their cumulative age is now 200 years. Iommi has been battling lymphoma since 2012. They’re minus the nimble thunder of original drummer Bill Ward — who’s either too ill or wasn’t offered enough cash, depending who you believe. But on this night, none of that mattered. The black stars aligned, Satan smiled on his charges, and from the first moments of their ominous (and obvious) opener Black Sabbath — the molasses-slow, wallopping bulldozer that kicked off their self-titled 1970 debut album — they made it clear they still had that old Black magic. Ozzy was his typical demented self, clutching the mic stand and bobbing to the beat when he wasn’tCZyql3UUYAQzsKQ shuffling around the stage and egging on the crowd. More crucially, his vocals were strong and on point; he had no trouble reaching high notes and even pulled off some fine demonic cackles. Iommi (“The one, the only,” quoth Oz) seemed healthy and sounded great, his doom-laden riffs and piercing solos commandingly ringing through the air. Butler and Ozzy’s touring drummer Tommy Clufetos were tight and solid through the twisty sludge-prog arrangements and chugging boogie-rock grooves of classics like Fairies Wear Boots, N.I.B. and the singalong crowd favourite War Pigs. Speaking of the set list: While it naturally concentrated on Sabbath’s first four albums, it wisely went beyond hits. So along with must-haves like Paranoid and Iron Man, you got buried treasures like Behind the Wall of Sleep (with Butler bass solo), Hand of Doom, Dirty Women and Rat Salad. And while the production boasted all the mandatory bells and whistles — the massive psychedelic video screen behind them, the wall of seizure-inducing lights above, the pyro and confetti and dry ice — it never overpowered the actual point of the show: Seeing three of rock’s most-beloved iron men enjoy a last hurrah. Shame it had to end. CZxlNqBWIAAlFGh Article courtesy of Darryl Sterdan, Postmedia Network – Winnipeg Sun + Photo courtesy Twitter users

the End tour – Minneapolis Concert review

sabbath01291613“Is it the end my friend? Satan coming around the bend.”

Forty-six years after he sang that line in the song “Black Sabbath” on the album “Black Sabbath” by the band Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne delivered it again at the start of what was purportedly his legendary metal band’s last Twin Cities performance Monday night at Target Center.

There were no sightings of ol’ Beelzebub at the concert — unless maybe he got into the backstage VIP area — but guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler did show up and plug in behind the death-defying Osbourne, making it three out of four original Sabbath members bidding farewell on a tour they’re formally calling The End. The odd co-founder out, drummer Bill Ward, is still alive and kick-drumming, but wasn’t invited to the party.

Monday’s concert certainly did have a strong party vibe, despite most of the 12,000-plus fans being dressed in black and all of the thundering British quartet’s tunes being about death, demons and the damages of drugs.

For the most part, the band was strong, too. As most true fans knew going in, Osbourne’s greatest talent these days is yelling, “Let me see your [bleeping] hands!” about 50 times and then mumbling something indecipherable. His singing voice came through clearly and evenly about half the time, including during the lesser-sung nuggets “Snowblind” and “Under the Sun.” But he sounded as off as his old MTV reality show in the new one, “God Is Dead?” and even the popular classic “War Pigs.”

An issue that Who fans are also likely to face when Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend return to Target Center on May 1, Monday’s concert relied more on the continued strength and definitive sound of Sabbath’s influential guitarist than on the ever-weakening abilities of its singer.

Iommi worked his left-handed Gibson SG guitar like a giant wrecking ball in the opening riffs of “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Iron Man” and the lone encore song, “Children of the Grave.” But then he also came off like a careful surgeon in the solos for “Paranoid” and the rarities “Dirty Women” and “Hand of Doom.” His continued power and precision was especially impressive given his recent bout with lymphoma.

Butler, too, still efficiently snaked his fingers up and (mostly) down his bass neck in “N.I.B.” and some of the other deepest-grooving tunes.

As for the fill-in drummer, Tommy Clufetos — from Ozzy’s solo band — certainly proved heavy and capable enough to fill Ward’s shoes. About the only criticism you can make is he was too enthusiastic, his excited flailing and big smile sharply contrasting the stiff, Lurch-like presence of the other members.

Osbourne never acknowledged Ward’s absence and kept focused on the positives while cajoling the crowd for the last time.

“I’m afraid it is [the end], but we’ve had a blast and owe you guys thanks for that,” he said near the start of the show.

Or at least it sounded something like that.

Here’s the set list from Monday:
Black Sabbath
Fairies Wear Boots
After Forever
Into the Void
War Pigs
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
Rat Salad
Iron Man
God Is Dead?
Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes
Dirty Women
Encore: Children of the Grave

Article courtesy of Chris Riemenschneider Star Tribune
Photo courtesy of Jeff Wheeler – Star Tribune
Video by Tom Sommers