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the End tour – Chicago concert review

chi-ct-black-sabbath-6-20160122Black Sabbath threw itself a going away party Friday at the United Center, and more than 20,000 of its closest friends packed the place.

The attire was black. Tattoos were optional, though abundantly evident. The band — except for Tommy Clueftos, the shirtless newcomer on drums — was outfitted like high priests at a black mass. Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi and Ozzy Osbourne have pretty much been playing this same role since the late ‘60s, when rock ‘n’ roll threw them a lifeline out of the factory town of Birmingham, England.

They invented a sound and an attitude: the blues delivered with a sledgehammer, plus a bit of jazz, psychedelia and progressive rock. This was heavy metal before anyone thought to call it that, and the quartet’s first four albums – which provided the bulk of the set list Friday – remain timeless examples of the genre at its finest. The dense, dark sonics were coupled with a lyrical sensibility that had little patience for the peace-and-love bromides of the ‘60s, and instead focused on the dead-end options faced by young men in a city full of smokestacks and gangs.

The band’s nihilistic haiku still carried weight. As Osbourne sang on “Hand of Doom”: “Vietnam napalm/Disillusioning/You push the needle in.” There also were references to H.P. Lovecraft’s horror fiction, Beelzebub and the joys of getting stoned so completely that you see “a fairy with boots dancing with a dwarf.” Sure, could happen to anybody. It was all done in good fun, the suddenly philosophical Osbourne told the audience, a pushback against “all the bull—- they were giving us.” And back in the day, “they” was pretty much everybody.

And now it’s over, or so they say. Sabbath is calling this tour “The End,” a career capstone necessitated by Iommi’s recent bout with cancer and his understandable desire to back off from the band’s endless life on the road. He’s still a lean powerhouse, a nine-fingered riff machine. He and Butler remain formidable musicians and the backbone of a band that leaves behind a trove of metal landmarks.

The set hit most of the high points, which should renew the debate among Sabbath aficionados: What’s the best Iommi riff? Is it the elementally brutal one that courses through “N.I.B.”? The doomy intro that speeds up on “Into the Void”? The gallop he injects into “Children of the Grave”? The stomp of “Iron Man,” so vivid you can practically see the lumbering beast come alive? Butler was equally ferocious on bass, his fingers spider-walking with dexterity as he bridged melody and rhythm with the wah-wah-inflected intro to “N.I.B.” and brought jazz-like dexterity to “Hand of Doom.”

Clueftos played with enthusiasm, but he’s got a busy style that didn’t quite match the cinderblock power and swing of the band’s original drummer, Bill Ward, who quit a few years ago. Ward remains as indispensable to Sabbath’s sound as John Bonham was to Led Zeppelin or Keith Moon to the Who, in part because he was so adept at orchestrating drama through restraint and silence.

Osbourne, the band’s affable cheerleader of a front man, is also indispensable, and during the stern meet-the-devil doominess of “Black Sabbath,” he broke character to puff out his chest, stretch out his arms and smile like he’d just hoodwinked life. But he’s had better nights.

Like a boxer knocked woozy by one too many punches, the singer slouched physically and audibly in mid-concert, his voice wandering far off key amid the Medieval roar of “War Pigs.” But he regained his bearings as the show wound down, warning his minions to stop annihilating their own planet lest they become “Children of the Grave.”

Nothing beats a bedtime story from Uncle Ozzy.

Black Sabbath set list Friday at the United Center

1 Black Sabbath
2 Fairies Wear Boots
3 After Forever
4 Into the Void
5 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 God is Dead?
13 Under the Sun
14 Dirty Women
15 Paranoid

Article Courtesy of Greg KotGreg KotContact Reporter ([email protected])

Sao Paolo – Live & Direct

Fan-filmed video footage of OZZY OSBOURNE’s entire April 25 performance at the Monsters Of Rock festival in São Paulo, Brazil can be seen below.

The setlist for the concert was as follows:

01. Bark At The Moon – 00:01
02. Mr. Crowley – 04:35
03. I Don’t Know – 09:51
04. Fairies Wear Boots – 14:36
05. Suicide Solution – 20:32
06. Road To Nowhere – 23:31 (very short version)
07. War Pigs – 24:07
08. Shot In The Dark – 31:41
09. Iron Man – 36:51
10. Crazy Train – 43:31
11. Paranoid – 49:19

The Talk After Dark

Ozzy Osbourne shown support to his wife as a late-night TV host. The rocker was among the guests slated for CBS’ “Late Late Show” Monday, which featured Sharon Osbourne and her colleagues from “The Talk” taking the leap from daytime to “after dark” to serve as interim hosts of Craig Ferguson’s one-time show. Ozzy chatted with Sharon and the other ladies, and also performed on the show. But he was not the night’s only guest, or the show’s only musical offering. Comedian Retta was also a scheduled to appear on Monday, while Linda Perry served as the house band for the entire week.

Royal Machines

The all-star Camp Freddy band, who’ve now changed their name to the Royal Machines, continued a tradition of guest-packed holiday shows this weekend as they welcomed Ozzy to the stage. Watch video of their take on Black Sabbath‘s ‘War Pigs’ and Ozzy’s solo anthem ‘Crazy Train’ (below).
Led by Billy Morrison (of Billy Idol / Cult fame), the Royal Machines also include Chris Chaney and Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray, Adrian Young of No Doubt and actor Donovan Leitch. They gathered at the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood on Friday and Saturday (Dec. 19-20); Ozzy took the stage on Friday.
“This is the first Royal Machines’ residency, following in the footsteps of the previous seven Camp Freddy residencies,” Morrison told the Sunset Strip. “And so picking one show out is almost impossible now. There are so many moments from so many years that stand out.”