Monthly Archives: January 2016

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