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:
Fairies Wear Boots
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
God Is Dead?
Under the Sun / Every Day Comes and Goes
Encore: Children of the Grave
Article courtesy of Chris Riemenschneider Star Tribune
Photo courtesy of Jeff Wheeler – Star Tribune
Video by Tom Sommers
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
6 War Pigs
7 Behind the Wall of Sleep
9 Hand of Doom
10 Rat Salad
11 Iron Man
12 God is Dead?
13 Under the Sun
14 Dirty Women
Article Courtesy of Greg KotGreg KotContact Reporter ([email protected])
It was the beginning of the end.
For the first time, Black Sabbath took the stage to say goodbye.
So goodbye, Ozzy. Goodbye, Geezer, Goodbye, Tony.
In Omaha, the quintessential heavy metal band kicked off its farewell tour — dubbed “The End” — and said this really is the final hurrah.
Nearly 50 years after first forming (and 34 years to the day after Osbourne bit the head off of a bat), Black Sabbath took the stage with thundering versions of “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and the eponymous “Black Sabbath.”
Even though it wasn’t a perfect show, it was tough to say goodbye.
Black Sabbath basically invented heavy metal. Back then, they were just four guys in Birmingham.
Fast forward 50 years and their guitar tones, howling occult lyrics, and slamming drumbeats are standard metal stuff, and those same guys stood in front of nearly 13,000 screaming fans.
Wednesday’s show was just shy of a sellout, and people packed to the rafters to watch the band kick off its final jaunt with a no-nonsense 90-minute set.
The thousands — heavily male, dressed in black and often heavily tattooed — heard the first ominous notes of “Black Sabbath” and jumped to their feet to hear the band run through its classics.
Backed by a screen full of psychedelic video streams and flanked by six flaming pyres, frontman Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and guitarist Tony Iommi dressed all in black for the occasion.
(They were joined by drummer Tommy Clufetos, who has sat in for original drummer Bill Ward for several years.)
Iommi was pure thundering bliss on guitar. Playing some battered-up, well-used Gibson SGs, the legendary picker had a thick tone that was often menacing, sometimes forceful and always bursting with lightning.
Butler availed himself well, especially on the band’s more recognizable basslines such as “War Pigs.” And Culfetos beat the drums like he hated them.
Then there was the Ozzman.
Osbourne’s voice wasn’t great. It wasn’t awful, really. It simply wasn’t very good. On Wednesday, he was sometimes flat. He was sometimes pitchy, occasionally off-key. He almost never hit the notes he was looking for.
Osbourne did better on less vocally demanding songs such as “Dirty Women” and “Black Sabbath.”
It was the first show of the tour, so maybe his voice will warm up. Maybe they’re still working out the sound in his monitors. Maybe it’s just that he’s 67 years old.
But nothing could stop fans from loving him.
They screamed every word to “Snowblind,” and danced around for “Children of the Grave.”
When the chugging chords of “Paranoid” signaled the end of the show, the arena was brought to its feet while purple confetti rained from above. When the show ended, the band took its bow and the house lights came up, many people refused to leave their seats.
It was too hard to admit it was over. “This is the beginning of the end for us and I just wanted to say thank you for all of your support all these years,” Osbourne said at the end. “Thank you. Goodnight. God bless you all.”
01. Black Sabbath
02. Fairies Wear Boots
03. Tomorrow’s Dream
04. Into The Void
06. War Pigs
07. Behind The Wall Of Sleep
09. Hand Of Doom
10. Rat Salad
11. Iron Man
12. Children Of The Grave
13. Dirty Women
Ozzy,Tony and Geezer talk to the Omaha media about their upcoming tour
Sabbath take you behind the scenes at their rehearsals for their FINAL TOUR EVER!