Category Archives: Concert Review

Calgary Show review


Besides being Easter Sunday, the stoner’s international holiday and, er, (for the history buffs out there) Hitler’s birthday, the significance of 420 in Calgary truly only came down to the return of metal masters Black Sabbath at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Any way you slice it, the reunification of the classic doom merchants was guaranteed to be more fun than ghoul’s night out. In front of a rabid capacity crowd, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and the oft-imitated, never duplicated guitarist Tony Iommi would not disappoint with this ultimate metal blast from the past.

The anticipation was thick, and the knowledge that we’ll never get this chance again was not lost on the wall-to-wall throng of delirious punters — indeed, this would be metal history in the making, and the band would not fall short. Not a chance.

The opening strains of War Pigs and the appearance of the classic line-up (minus sticksman Billy Ward) sent the crowd bonkers as Osbourne bounded around the stage like a man … well, every second of his 65 years.

Although in decent voice, one could easily argue that the weak link of the band in 2014 is indeed the cartoon-ish, paunchy prince of darkness himself. But what is Black Sabbath without Ozzy? I mean, besides the excellent Ronnie James Dio-fronted version, which released Mob Rules and Heaven And Hell.

The years of hard living and bad reality television have taken their toll on double O, but any vocal shortcomings and in-between-song warbling were exorcized with the pounding bass of Butler, the violent drumming of Tommy Clufetos (Osbourne’s touring drummer) and Iommi’s still effortless metal fretwork.

“How you doin’ out there, Calgary?” the Ozzman queried as the crowd went wild. “Happy Easter . . . F–k Easter! You sound like you want to party tonight!”

Having just beat the hell out of cancer, the 66-year-old Iommi, the Birmingham barnstormer, shredded through Into The Void, the cocaine anthem Snowblind, Age Of Reason (a new one) and the group’s classic 1970 namesake track as the collection of aging black band T-shirted rockers and 420 kids who were taking in the full extent of the day got louder with each successive number.

“I can’t f—-n’ hear you!” Osbourne prodded the crowd into high decibel hysteria. “I still can’t hear you! Let me see those f—n’ hands!”

If the mighty Sabbath were going to do this reunification thing, they were going to pull out all the stops and do it right. A nifty stage production of eerie lighting, lazers, smoke and a massive video screen featuring live shots and assorted military, religious and horror imagery served as a back drop to the glorious thunder of N.I.B., Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad and the landmark metal-head anthem, Iron Man. Yeah, as good as you’re imagining.

God Is Dead? from last year’s No. 1 Grammy Award-winning 13 album, Dirty Women and the fabulous wall of sludge on Children Of The Grave ended the main set with a flurry.

A snippet of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath into the only logical encore, Paranoid, ended 420 with the final thunderous cannon shot of the evening as the crowd exited ears ringing, exhausted and thoroughly satisfied. In the end, it amounted to an historic evening that likely won’t ever happen here again.

Photo courtesy of Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency
Article By Gerry Krochak,Calgary Sun

Saskatoon Show Review

Photograph by: Gord Waldner , The StarPhoenix

In the space between irony and coincidence there’s a twilight zone. And Friday in Saskatoon that space was occupied by Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath on Good Friday; there is certain inevitability to it.

Even the weather cooperated, with rain that was snow and snow that was rain. A fair and foul day that seemed conjured by Macbeth’s witches.

Out of the ill wind emerged black clad original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, employing shirtless Tony Clufetos behind massive drums. Giving the devil his due, the band concentrated on classics with a cross section of hits from the past four decades, making some room in the pews for a sample of the new from unexpected comeback album 13, most notably the Grammy-winning God is Dead? Two days before Easter, you can’t make this stuff up.

That said, opening the headliner’s set was War Pigs, reminding one that the band has more to say about political madness and environmental degradation and self destruction than the goodness of badness.

The air raid siren in War Pigs got a not quite full house on their feet, where they remained. Ozzy looked amazingly good, all things considered, and his voice, like a ball of tin foil on a cheese grater has endured.

“How are you doing? More to the point, how are we doing?” he said before they did Snow Blind. Apt title, although it’s about cocaine, which they don’t do any more, Ozzy noted.

The songs Black Sabbath and Behind the Wall of Sleep were nicely paired, one a numb and slow dirge, the other fast and sharp, with Iommi’s solo biting through. They paled to the irresistible N.I.B. though, a song that must have just killed car stereos in its day.

Alas, still to come by press time were megahits Iron Man and Paranoid but it was clear that no one was going to walk into the void unsatisfied.

By Cam Fuller, The StarPhoenix
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

Winnipeg show review


While many veteran rock acts are all too comfortable doing the cash-grab reunion tour circuit, British heavy metal titan Black Sabbath is still ticking off milestones in a decade-spanning career.

The band is currently touring with original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler — along with drummer Tommy Clufetos — in support of 2013’s massively successful, Rick Rubin-produced 13, an album that, quite unbelievably, became Black Sabbath’s first No. 1 album in the States.

Still, Ozzy and co. knew that the (overwhelmingly male) fans that packed out the MTS Centre on Wednesday night were there for the canonical classics. In fact, the band played just three songs from 13 — (“God Is Dead?”, “Age of Reason” and “End of the Beginning”). Indeed, it was a show for Sabbath disciples — from older fans clad in fading T-shirts from tours past to teenagers who discovered Black Sabbath much later via a cool parent or sibling, thrilled by the chance to see an Iommi solo in the flesh. Regardless of actual age, everyone in that arena was living a teenage dream.

And Black Sabbath gave the masses what they came for. From the opening sirens of “War Pigs”, the band was received with roars of appreciation. At 65, Osbourne is showing his age; his hands, manicured in black polish, shake when he isn’t holding onto the mic stand, and he shuffles when he runs across the length of the stage. He’s also softer in his old age — around the middle, yes, but also in demeanor; the Prince of Darkness proved to be a big teddy bear, asking the crowd if they were having fun, while handing out plenty of “I love yous” and “God bless yous”. Yet, he’s also a commanding presence who still gives all he’s got.

And thankfully, age hasn’t touched his voice much. With Iommi — whose guitar heroics were a highlight of the night — and Geezer by his sides, those genre-defining songs from the early 1970s — “Black Sabbath”, “N.I.B”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, “Iron Man” and a particularly punishing “Children of the Grave” — hung pretty faithful to their recorded counterparts. To watch Iommi effortlessly blaze through those iconic licks and solos was mesmerizing.

Clufetos — who was born nine years after Black Sabbath released its first album — quickly and easily earned the audience’s loyalty with his athleticism and precision. A mammoth, 10-minute drum solo, itself a lesson in stamina, was met with much embarrassing but enthusiastic air drumming from the crowd. Bill Ward wasn’t missed.

The two-hour set culminated with a blistering performance of “Paranoid”, delivered in a blizzard of confetti and giant purple balloons. When the band took its final bows, the room was still buzzing with energy.

Saskatoon’s Reignwolf — a.k.a. Jordan Cook — opened the show with a blistering set of blues-inflected hard rock — think a heavier Black Keys meets Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden. While he’s sometimes joined by a band, Cook is an impressive force solo as he proved on songs such as “Electric Love,” wielding an axe and a kick drum with pummeling results.

Article by Jen Zoratti courtesy of
Picture courtesy of Noah Erenberg

And on the seventh day…. Ottawa concert review

It was a match made for heavy metal 1297548802518_ORIGINALhellraising, and only fitting that Black Sabbath would hold court on a Sunday — and on the 13th no less, touring behind their 2013 reunion album 13 — at a Canadian Tire Centre rocking 13,000 devil-horn salutes.

And now seven dates into an unholy reunion that brings the venerable metal pioneers through Ottawa on a cross-Canada tour, it’s clear the appetite for destruction is as big as ever.

Enjoying a No. 1 record for the first time in their career, Sabbath — sixty-somethings Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, with Tony Clufetos sitting in for original drummer Bill Ward — sounded every bit as vital as they did in their prime, and every bit as relevant as generations of imitators.

And with the new album hailed as a return to the classic early ’70 s form that got its meathooks into teenage ears — and scared the bejeezus out of their parents — the band was happy to oblige new converts and card-carrying members of the congregation alike, with offerings from both eras.

With the unmistakable air raid siren of War Pigs ushering the band onto the stage, the black curtain lifted as Iommi’s twin-horned Gibson pounded out the iconic riff while Ozzy bounced at the mic like a giddy schoolboy, urging the crowd to get their hands up.

His vocals may not carry the same pitch they once did, but it still carries the same power, especially when helped along by a chorus of disciples.

Never one to rely on stage pyrotechnics, like some bands of their vintage, Sabbath opted for a barren black stage with a giant screen that would flash a montage of dictators and despots, destruction and general mayhem, snake charmers, revolutionaries and the occasional Pope.

1297548802686_ORIGINALAfter a run through the first four albums — with Into the Void, Under the Sun and Snowblind providing the gloom for the images of doom — the band landed at Age of Reason, the first of several tunes from the new album that would serve as signposts on each cannon blast from the past.

With a quick “thank you” and an occasional “cuckoo” for the crowd to echo, Ozzy introduced a trio of tunes from their 1970 debut with Black Sabbath, Behind the Wall of Sleep and N.I.B.

And his curt introduction of the song title was about the only way to distinguish the sludgy new number End of the Beginning from anything that predated it, forming a seamless transition to another thunderous trio from Paranoid, with Faeries Wear Boots, Rat Salad, and of course, Iron Man drawing the howls of recognition.

By Aedan Helmer ,Ottawa Sun
Pictures by Darren Brown/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency

The guilty pleasure ~ Hamilton Concert Review

14+-+1Ponderous, predictable, pretentious, definitely un-pretty … and absolutely awesome.
Black Sabbath was all of the above and more at the band’s sold out concert at First Ontario Centre Friday night.
The first three words in this review come from the oh-so-knowledgeable critic that I’m supposed to be. The next two, well, are obvious. Ozzy Osbourne may be cute, even somewhat cuddly in his old age, but he’s never been pretty.
The “absolutely awesome” come from the 14-year-old adolescent inside me when his pal Eddy first played that Black Sabbath record back in Grade 11. War Pigs, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, Paranoid …Wow. It was Friday Fright Night on vinyl. Bad, evil stuff. Records we had to keep hidden from our parents. Black Sabbath was our little secret.
That secret was shared by some 14,000 adoring fans at First Ontario Centre, all of whom probably experienced that same moment of rebellion at the age of 14. They were mostly male, mostly over 40 (I’m being kind here) and mostly dressed in black, leather if they had it.
But there were a few 14-year-olds there too, carrying on the tradition, probably with the help of dad. Black Sabbath was made for 14-year-old males and every year since 1970, it seems a new cohort of has been born.
As soon as we heard the sirens for the opening of War Pigs, we were back at that magic moment of10173777_10152112891823042_7284686144023237754_n first realization. Ozzy let loose a stream of F-bombs imploring us all to raise our hands. We did. “Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses.”
Black Sabbath’s lyrics have never really aspired to greater depth than, say, Vincent Price’s poetry readings in the Hilarious House of Frightenstein, but, back in those adolescent years, they always seemed to resonate with profundity.
But who cares about lyrics when you can watch Ozzy drenching his hair with Evian water, then pacing, sometimes waddling, back and forth like a drenched rat in a cage. Every now and then he’d let forth an otherworldly cackle or an endearing squeak. Ironically, the evil prince of rock ‘n’ roll would end each song with a thankful “God bless you” to the raging audience.
It wasn’t as insane as earlier Ozzy encounters, but all good nonetheless. The 65-year-old singer’s voice was clear, as was the sound. You could make out the words, even on the three new songs the band performed from Sabbath’s latest album 13.
The true stars of the show, however, were the two masters of metal – guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler. Iommi’s blistering guitar attack was relentless. The galloping lead he performed at the end of Iron Man was as good as they come, while Butler’s inevitable solo in N.I.B. was, as always, earth shaking.
061Behind the three pension-aged founders was a comparably young, shirtless, bearded, tattooed, long-haired American on drums by the name of Tommy Clufetos, a veteran of Ozzy’s solo tours and stints with Rob Zombie and Ted Nugent. Clufetos did the band justice throughout, giving his massive kit an exceptional pounding during an insane 10-minute solo in Rat Salad.
The band’s Grammy winning new album, the first in many years, was the impetus for the current tour. It was the old stuff, the stuff we first heard in Grade 11 that the band really came to play and that’s what they delivered, a guilty pleasure for even the most jaded critic.

Article courtesy of Graham Rockingham @

Halifax NC show review

B97302024Z.120140404070639000GSE57L8I.10You can’t overstate the grip that Black Sabbath has had on loud musical minds since it first crawled down from England’s industrial north. Heavy metal, punk and grunge were all brewed in the cauldron stoked by Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward in the early 1970s, fed by their menacing mysticism. While the Rolling Stones asked for Sympathy for the Devil, Black Sabbath suggested he might actually be signing their paycheques. Forty-five years later, Sabbath lumbers on, bringing its reunion of founding members Osbourne, Iommi and Butler, with Tommy Clufetos filling in for Ward, who opted out of this kick at the can, and playing to a capacity crowd at the Halifax Metro Centre on Thursday night. Without any ceremony — Osbourne sang a soccer chant from behind the huge curtain bearing the Sabbath logo — they came out roaring with War Pigs, and the crowd was up instantly. Overpowering Osbourne’s own vocals, the audience bellowed back the song’s condemnation of the military industrial complex, throwing the metal horns and having the time of their lives. This is how you kick off a concert. Black Sabbath stuck with the back catalogue to start with, approaching speed metal tempos with Vol. 4’s Under the Sun, driven by the fierce tempo of Motor City mountain man Clufetos, also from Osbourne’s solo band. Ever the cool cipher behind his trademark sunglasses, Iommi tore off his screaming leads without breaking a sweat here and on Snowblind, whose video backdrop of images from Scarface and Superfly left little doubt about the song’s subject matter, inspired by their chaotic days in the drug-addled ’70s. Giant video screen aside, Black Sabbath’s stage setup was pretty minimal — the expected wall of speaker cabinets and a handful of lasers, but anything more wouldn’t suit the back-to-basics esthetic of the current album 13. Songs like Age of Reason and End of the Beginning had no problem sitting cheek by jowl — and, let’s face it, Ozzy’s looking a bit jowly at this point — with the faves from four decades back. Sure, it may not be progressive, but as long as Iommi is making his Gibson SG wail like a coyote in heat and Butler’s fingers give us the appropriate chugga-chugga bottom end blast, not much else matters. While the latter two kept up their grim demeanour, Clufetos grinned like a maniac through his impressive beard and Osbourne dashed about the stage like a mad grannie, bobbing from side to side and peering out into the darkness. Alternating between shouts of “God bless you all!” and “Let’s see yer (expletive) hands!”, Osbourne held down his ringleader role well, leaving the stage only for a solo duel between Iommi and Butler, and a monumental drum assault by Clufetos that also provided ample cowbell. Aside from Neil Peart’s solo turn during Rush’s visit last year, it was one of the most impressive percussive displays the Metro Centre’s ever seen. As the band returned to the stage for the creeping steamroller growl of Iron Man, the fist-pumping, chanting crowd was again transported back to an age of black light posters in the basement, We Sold Our Souls for Rock ’n’ Roll on a portable eight-track player and a war raging on the nightly TV news. Now we stare at computer screens instead, and iPods have replaced tapes, but the news is still the same and Black Sabbath remains our musical voice of doom. Opening act Jordan Cook, a.k.a. Reignwolf, wasn’t in the heavy metal mould, but the Saskatchewan blues-punk’s stripped-down and amped-up sound wasn’t too far from the early wail of the headliner’s first couple of records. Imagine a Canadian take on the fuzz-filled rock of Jack White or the Black Keys and you’ve got the general idea of a raw and bracing new talent on this country’s music scene. Article Coutesy of Stephen Cooke @

An (not that) Old Concert Review

Black Sabbath kills at the Cruzan

Black Sabbath kills at the Cruzan

Early on in Black Sabbath’s tight two-hour set in front of about 19,000 black-clad congregants at the Cruzan Amphitheatre Wednesday night, venerable frontman Ozzy Osbourne introduced the band’s seminal 1970 anthem “Black Sabbath” with a request:  “Get out your f—ing cell phones and light this place up!”
Bathed in red stage lights, Osbourne waited for the chime of the song’s signature church bell, a call to the faithful, as a blanket of lights spread out before him, the celestial reproduced by a new form of communication, one with its own complicated rules of devotion.
This moment of melding the sacred and the secular,  the ecclesiastical and the digital, was pure showmanship, but as the Prince of Darkness held off the beginning of the song for a few extra beats, it was clear that even 40 years on Black Sabbath has lost none of its ability to conjure up a commanding evening of rock ‘n’ roll sorcery.
Black Sabbath arrived onstage to a standing ovation about 10 minutes before promoters had predicted and brought a palpable sense of urgency to their opening salvo, the fan-favorite “War Pigs.” Osbourne, in black pants and long-sleeve shirt, with the eyeliner extra thick, was in fine vocal form (his demonic cackle on “Black Sabbath” was pitch-perfect), working up a hair-matting sweat before the second song, “Into the Void,” was done.
If he did not attempt the cross-stage sprints of his youth, Osbourne was nevertheless spry (a word you use for someone who turns 65 in December) and moved around enough to demand respect. And if he was sneaking a peek at a monitor for help with 40-year-old lyrics, as sometimes appeared to be the case, who’ll hold it against him?
While sprinkling the night with lusty f-bombs, Osbourne was also an engaging emcee, repeatedly asking the crowd how they were and telling them how glad he was to see them. For some, the solicitousness made them wish for more f-bombs.
The 18-song set list was a balance of old and new, the former including early-‘70s trailblazers “Snow Blind,” “N.I.B.,” “Fairies Wear Boots” (backed by a video of stylish erotica)  and “Children of the Grave,”  as well as the iconic hits “Iron Man” and “Paranoid” (the encore).  The night also had a strong representation from the new Rick Rubin-produced album, “13,” the band’s first No. 1 album ever and its first new studio release in 35 years. New cuts included “Age of Reason,” “Methademic,” “End of the Beginning” and “God is Dead?”
The latter two were particularly well received, especially “God is Dead?,” which produced a crowd singalong (surprising for such a new song) and seems destined for enshrinement among the most popular in the Black Sabbath repertoire.
Guitarist Tony Iommi, who endured chemotherapy during the recording of “13” last year, was a nimble pacesetter, with fiery fretwork distinguishing such songs as “War Pigs,” “Into the Void,” “Children of the Grave” and the saucy “Dirty Women” (which Osbourne observed was recorded at Miami’s Criteria Studios in 1976).

Another original member of Black Sabbath, Geezer Butler, was a pile-driving force on bass, abetted by young drummer Tommy Clufetos, sitting in for the estranged Bill Ward. The shirtless and bearded

Clufetos, looking like some kind of metal messiah, was remarkable, and his drum solo leading into “Iron Man” drew a long standing ovation.
The majority of the audience ranged from their 20s to 50s, some approaching Osbourne’s age, most in T-shirts defining their bona fides among musical tribes: Led Zeppelin, Black Flag, Slayer, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Flogging Molly, Diablo Dimes and Manu Chao.  An unscientific poll revealed most fans thought Black Sabbath killed it.
Speaking for the assembled was Tom Buckley, 43, who works in a laboratory near Daytona Beach, and drove down for the show. Shortly after Iommi delivered the final licks of the concert-closing “Paranoid,” Buckley, who admitted he’d had a few, offered his succinct review: “Tell Ozzy that was the best f—ing s–t ever!”

Article and Picture from

Sabbath’s old Black magic has Brum fans in its spell

Black Sabbath, led by Ozzy Osbourne delighted Birmingham fans with a dynamic show at the LG Arena last night

Black Sabbath, led by Ozzy Osbourne delighted Birmingham fans with a dynamic show at the LG Arena last night

Its is only right Black Sabbath’s eagerly-­awaited reunion tour should have come home to the place of the band’s birth, the first of two Birmingham shows over the weekend.
Though the grimy backstreets of 1960s Aston might be a world away from the glitzy surrounds of the LG Arena, what a homecoming for a band that to many are the undisputed founding fathers of heavy metal.
For legions of adoring fans it proved an opportunity to pay homage to a truly seminal band, who even today are influencing a generation of young rock musicians.
They seemed delighted to be on home soil, too, their trademark stripped-down rock showing it has lost none of its cutting edge over the decades with new numbers from the recent 13 album blending seamlessly with older material.
The arena erupted as the opening riff of War Pigs set the ball rolling for an evening to remember, followed by Under the Sun, Every Day Comes and Goes, Snowblind, Age of Reason and Black Sabbath.
Ozzy Osbourne’s voice might not have the power and range it once possessed but it’s still one of the most recognisable in rock.
Tony Iommi’s guitar playing remains the driving heartbeat of the band and despite his recent illness he showed he’s lost none of his magic touch.
Fellow founding member, bassist Geezer Butler, added another essential ingredient to the mix with new drummer Tommy Clufetos providing reassuring backbone to complete a solid sound.
Favourites followed thick and fast in the shape of Behind the Wall of Sleep, NIB, End of the Beginning and Fairies Wear Boots.
The ubiquitous drum solo came during Rat Salad and that was followed by rousing renditions of Iron Man, God is Dead, dirty Women and Children of the Grave.
The audience had to wait until the encore to hear Sabbath’s signature song Paranoid, a rock anthem that will surely still be played 100 years hence.
Sabbath might be showing their age but proved they have lost none of their sparkle in a show that served as a perfect early Christmas present for diehard fans.

Article and picture courtesy of  Birmingham Mail

Sheffield Concert review

Having booked this what seems like an age ago, I was taken by suprise when I realised it was time to head off to see Ozzy & Co.

Sheffield arena doesn’t provide the most intimate of settings for a gig, but it does have atmosphere. And it was packed to the rafters (if they exist). Bitterly cold outside, the temperature soon increased when Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats took the stage. I have been listening to their debut album and have become a big fan of their stoner rock style. The swaying crowd seemed to love them too. Highlight for me was 13 Candles plus being introduced to some tunes from their 2nd album (already downloaded, thanks Spotify!).
When the stage turned red and the air raid siren cried out, the crowd went mental!


The opener of War Pigs was a corker. He may be about to expire, but Ozzy has still got what it takes to put on a show. He had us in the palm of his hand for 2 hours. All the classics: NIB, Fairies wear Boots, Snowblind, plus a stonking version of Black Sabbath, mixed with songs from 13. God is Dead was a highlight. But oh dear, I lost count of the number of times I honestly thought Ozzy was going to trip up due to his shuffling across the stage. ‘Pick your feet up – you’re going to fall over’ I almost cried out on several occasions. Not a chant you’d expect to hear at a heavy metal gig. And wow, he can certainly pull off some perfect star-jumps; physio would be proud. Tony Iommi was as cool as ever with his precision riffs and calm, focused stage presence.


All in all, a fab gig. Just a shame it took as long to get back to my car as it did for the entire Sabbath set…..


Black Sabbath Glasgow Show Review

Black Sabbath in Glasgow

Black Sabbath in Glasgow

On the back of Sabbath’s Monday gig at the Glasgow Hydro, I have been pressed by a few folks bound for Manchester for a bit of critique short of tonight’s show. The short version goes something like… weak set list and pathetic crowd, but great performance all the same!
If Glasgow threw up a big negative then was undoubtedly the crowd’s inability or reluctance to let their remaining hair down. Loads of over static 40s, ‘masses’ of over 50s and a strong showing of over 60s polluted the standing area stage-front.

Many of the old fellas could not handle any sort of crowd participation and this lead to regular confrontation with younger audience members in ‘standing’ who tried to bounce into the whole Sabbath experience. My feeling is that age among loyal fans should be of no consequence, but if you want to stand statuesque like a dying turnip with arms folded then buy ticket for seated areas, or stay at home and listen to albums on itunes rather than spoil it for everyone else!
Those sirens and War Pigs provided a powerful opening, while the light show during Black Sabbath, then NIB and God is Dead were mid set highlights. Under the Sun was performed superbly even if many younger fans looked at a loss and clearly didn’t know the words. The Finale was fantastic, with a rousing performance of Children of the Grave followed by the teasing intro to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and inevitably Paranoid.
Personally, I could take or leave the slower numbers like Into the Void, Behind the Wall of Sleep and Age of Reason but I suppose these senior citizens have to catch a breather at some point. Crucially, I suspect the set list is constructed to protect Ozzy’s voice, which held up well for the most part with the help of a healthy lump of FX. Yes, he flattened at a couple of points latterly, but, hey, no big deal… this was easily a 9 out of 10 performance from a genuine 65 year old icon who physically and emotionally worked his guts out.
Timeless stalwarts Butler and Iommi delivered impeccable performances and look like they could hammer out another 10 years despite intruding health matters and buckets of hair colouring. Tommy Clufetos: his powerhouse playing is raw, incredibly energetic and clean… exactly what Sabbath live require on several levels at this point in their story. Disenchanted ‘Wardians’ please give this guy a chance… what an engine!
For the record, Neil McCormick’s Ozzy-slaughtering review of the London show in the Telegraph is clownish, full of factual errors, unfair and misses every meaningful point. His Editor should take note.
A word of warning for those going to Manchester and Birmingham… Sabbath kicked off at 8:30pm sharp, so be sure not to linger too long in the bar.

Review courtesy of Steve Souter (FB)