After 47 years of writing, recording, and touring it has all come down to this – The End. Starting this tour in Omaha, Nebraska, Ozzy Osbourne and Co. have traversed the planet, and last night (April 17) they brought their epic live show to the Adelaide Entertainment Centre.
Thousands gathered outside the AEC front doors, waiting eagerly to charge in. They wanted nothing more than to experience the band that so many of the middle-aged crowd had likely idolised for the majority of their lives. This being the last time that Black Sabbath – in this form, anyway – would be appearing in little old Adelaide, it had all the makings of a historic event.
Hailing from Long Beach, California, support act Rival Sons had a high standard to live up to, and they certainly did so. Receiving much louder entrance applause than they had expected, the four piece (five including the gloriously-bearded touring keyboard player) fired into Electric Man, the opening track from 2014s Great Western Valkyrie, and sparked the crowd to life. Searing vocals from Jay Buchanan and tight backing from the band allowed the band to create an electrifying blend of Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, and Bad Company that and wouldn’t have sounded out-of-place in the 1970s.
By the time they’d rolled into Pressure and Time, the crowd was well and truly warmed up and with the closing trio of Where I’ve Been, Open My Eyes, and Keep On Swinging, Rival Sons had performed beyond expectations.
Darkness then covered the masses, and the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne sprinted from backstage to greet the crowd warmly. Riff-machine Tony Iommi, groove-master Geezer Butler, and replacement-drummer Tommy Clufetos, swiftly took to the stage to a deafening roar.
They opened with the tune that started it all – Black Sabbath. A dark, pulverising, track, it gave the fans exactly what they wanted. It was clear that the group, through all of the line-up changes, hiatuses, and solo careers, were still at the top of their game even though they’re well and truly past their prime.
Playing tracks from their self-titled debut, Paranoid, Master of Reality, Vol. 4, and Technical Ecstasy, the heavy metal pioneers seemed to enjoy themselves more than the audience did – which is saying quite a lot.
What Ozzy might now lack in maneuverability, he makes up for in wit and enthusiasm, and there were very few instances of the voice troubles that apparently plagued their Perth show. Iommi and Butler were as cool, calm, and collected as ever, performing their rolls, and occasionally having a slight chuckle at Osbourne’s antics and crowd engagement. “I remember coming here in 2003 – wait – no, it was 1971,” he remarked, showing no signs of his infamous reality-TV former self. Original drummer Bill Ward’s replacement, Clufetos, performed admirably, never trying to outdo his older bandmates. His extended drum solo was flawless, but it felt a little forced; almost as to say “sorry Bill wasn’t here, but look, this guy is REALLY good too.” The lack of Bill Ward was the only negative of the night.
Crowd pleasers War Pigs, Iron Man, and Children of the Grave were performed impeccably, resulting in the crowd pouring all of their love back onto the band. Paranoid closed out what was undeniably a memorable night. If this is truly is the end, the world will sorely miss this monumental group, cause they’re still pretty damn impressive.
Article courtesy of Rip It Up
Photos courtesy of Sanjaka