Black Sabbath last Euro tour date until Next spring. Awsome second homecoming show.
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
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…..
Credit to Rob Webb for sharing this awsome picture taken at the Manchester Show.
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)
I heard yesterday about Ronnie Briggs, the mastermind behind the Great Train Robberry, who has passed away. I dig up my achives and found a picture of Ronnie and Ozzy in 1985 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Ozzy was due to perform at the Rock in Rio Festival….the only show this year. Ronnie was escaping the law of his own country after escaping from jail in the late 60s
Ozzy Speak to Kerrang in a one page interview of the latest issue
Ozzy Osbourne has opened up about his recent drug and alcohol relapse, which led to him temporarily separating from his wife Sharon Osbourne.
In April, the Black Sabbath frontman revealed that he had relapsed and had been taking drugs and drinking for the past 18 months. The singer posted a frank statement on his Facebook page which said that he had stopped his “insane behaviour” and that he was 44 days sober.
Giving his only solo interview this year, Osbourne appears on the cover of the new issue of NME, which is on newsstands now or available digitally. In it, the Black Sabbath frontman reveals how he is still sober, and how he feared he was going to lose his family at one point.
When his wife Sharon found out about the drugs, he says, “She was very pissed off. I thought I was gonna lose my family at one point. Because when I go out, you wanna be careful when I come back home, because I’ll come through anywhere in the house bar the front fucking door. I’m fucking crazy. If you’re in a relationship, if you keep coming home and your wife’s terrified of you, if she doesn’t know if you’ll come back with five chicks and a crate of booze… I mean, you name it, I’ve done it. So she just said, ‘Look, I’ve got my own thing going on, and I can’t deal with you any more. Get the fuck out. Sort yourself out, then we’ll talk.’ I don’t blame her in the slightest.”
When asked what triggered the relapse, Osbourne replied: “It’s like water drips from a tap and you go ‘Fuck it’. For no reason at all, you’ll suddenly think, ‘I fancy a drink’, and your head will say, ‘Let yourself have one’. Next thing you know you’re scraping yourself off the garage floor three days later. It’s like having a haunted fucking head. You’ve got these voices saying, ‘Don’t worry about it Ozzy. Anyone would have a drink if their album went to Number One in all those countries.’ But you’re doing a deal with the Devil. It’s a disease of the mind and body, and you can’t control it.”
Earlier this week, Osbourne’s Black Sabbath bandmates said they had no idea that the singer had relapsed. Guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler revealed that they were shocked to learn from Sharon that Ozzy was back drinking and taking drugs, especially since the singer was at Iommi’s house during his period of heavy abuse to record the band’s comeback album, ’13’, which was released in June.