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