Calgary Show review

1297551372657_ORIGINAL

Besides being Easter Sunday, the stoner’s international holiday and, er, (for the history buffs out there) Hitler’s birthday, the significance of 420 in Calgary truly only came down to the return of metal masters Black Sabbath at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

Any way you slice it, the reunification of the classic doom merchants was guaranteed to be more fun than ghoul’s night out. In front of a rabid capacity crowd, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and the oft-imitated, never duplicated guitarist Tony Iommi would not disappoint with this ultimate metal blast from the past.

The anticipation was thick, and the knowledge that we’ll never get this chance again was not lost on the wall-to-wall throng of delirious punters — indeed, this would be metal history in the making, and the band would not fall short. Not a chance.

The opening strains of War Pigs and the appearance of the classic line-up (minus sticksman Billy Ward) sent the crowd bonkers as Osbourne bounded around the stage like a man … well, every second of his 65 years.

Although in decent voice, one could easily argue that the weak link of the band in 2014 is indeed the cartoon-ish, paunchy prince of darkness himself. But what is Black Sabbath without Ozzy? I mean, besides the excellent Ronnie James Dio-fronted version, which released Mob Rules and Heaven And Hell.

The years of hard living and bad reality television have taken their toll on double O, but any vocal shortcomings and in-between-song warbling were exorcized with the pounding bass of Butler, the violent drumming of Tommy Clufetos (Osbourne’s touring drummer) and Iommi’s still effortless metal fretwork.

“How you doin’ out there, Calgary?” the Ozzman queried as the crowd went wild. “Happy Easter . . . F–k Easter! You sound like you want to party tonight!”

Having just beat the hell out of cancer, the 66-year-old Iommi, the Birmingham barnstormer, shredded through Into The Void, the cocaine anthem Snowblind, Age Of Reason (a new one) and the group’s classic 1970 namesake track as the collection of aging black band T-shirted rockers and 420 kids who were taking in the full extent of the day got louder with each successive number.

“I can’t f—-n’ hear you!” Osbourne prodded the crowd into high decibel hysteria. “I still can’t hear you! Let me see those f—n’ hands!”

If the mighty Sabbath were going to do this reunification thing, they were going to pull out all the stops and do it right. A nifty stage production of eerie lighting, lazers, smoke and a massive video screen featuring live shots and assorted military, religious and horror imagery served as a back drop to the glorious thunder of N.I.B., Fairies Wear Boots, Rat Salad and the landmark metal-head anthem, Iron Man. Yeah, as good as you’re imagining.

God Is Dead? from last year’s No. 1 Grammy Award-winning 13 album, Dirty Women and the fabulous wall of sludge on Children Of The Grave ended the main set with a flurry.

A snippet of Sabbath Bloody Sabbath into the only logical encore, Paranoid, ended 420 with the final thunderous cannon shot of the evening as the crowd exited ears ringing, exhausted and thoroughly satisfied. In the end, it amounted to an historic evening that likely won’t ever happen here again.

Photo courtesy of Mike Drew/Calgary Sun/QMI Agency
Article By Gerry Krochak,Calgary Sun

Back to Campo del Mar

Nice gallery newly uploaded from the Sao Paolo Show back in 2013:

photo courtesy of Focka

Saskatoon Show Review

Photograph by: Gord Waldner , The StarPhoenix

In the space between irony and coincidence there’s a twilight zone. And Friday in Saskatoon that space was occupied by Black Sabbath — Black Sabbath on Good Friday; there is certain inevitability to it.

Even the weather cooperated, with rain that was snow and snow that was rain. A fair and foul day that seemed conjured by Macbeth’s witches.

Out of the ill wind emerged black clad original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, employing shirtless Tony Clufetos behind massive drums. Giving the devil his due, the band concentrated on classics with a cross section of hits from the past four decades, making some room in the pews for a sample of the new from unexpected comeback album 13, most notably the Grammy-winning God is Dead? Two days before Easter, you can’t make this stuff up.

That said, opening the headliner’s set was War Pigs, reminding one that the band has more to say about political madness and environmental degradation and self destruction than the goodness of badness.

The air raid siren in War Pigs got a not quite full house on their feet, where they remained. Ozzy looked amazingly good, all things considered, and his voice, like a ball of tin foil on a cheese grater has endured.

“How are you doing? More to the point, how are we doing?” he said before they did Snow Blind. Apt title, although it’s about cocaine, which they don’t do any more, Ozzy noted.

The songs Black Sabbath and Behind the Wall of Sleep were nicely paired, one a numb and slow dirge, the other fast and sharp, with Iommi’s solo biting through. They paled to the irresistible N.I.B. though, a song that must have just killed car stereos in its day.

Alas, still to come by press time were megahits Iron Man and Paranoid but it was clear that no one was going to walk into the void unsatisfied.

By Cam Fuller, The StarPhoenix
© Copyright (c) The StarPhoenix

A view from the front row (Ottawa photoset)

Nice set from Ottawa show; Thank you Cunningham3493 for sharing

Winnipeg show review

Blbcqc1CAAAukwE

While many veteran rock acts are all too comfortable doing the cash-grab reunion tour circuit, British heavy metal titan Black Sabbath is still ticking off milestones in a decade-spanning career.

The band is currently touring with original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler — along with drummer Tommy Clufetos — in support of 2013’s massively successful, Rick Rubin-produced 13, an album that, quite unbelievably, became Black Sabbath’s first No. 1 album in the States.

Still, Ozzy and co. knew that the (overwhelmingly male) fans that packed out the MTS Centre on Wednesday night were there for the canonical classics. In fact, the band played just three songs from 13 — (“God Is Dead?”, “Age of Reason” and “End of the Beginning”). Indeed, it was a show for Sabbath disciples — from older fans clad in fading T-shirts from tours past to teenagers who discovered Black Sabbath much later via a cool parent or sibling, thrilled by the chance to see an Iommi solo in the flesh. Regardless of actual age, everyone in that arena was living a teenage dream.

And Black Sabbath gave the masses what they came for. From the opening sirens of “War Pigs”, the band was received with roars of appreciation. At 65, Osbourne is showing his age; his hands, manicured in black polish, shake when he isn’t holding onto the mic stand, and he shuffles when he runs across the length of the stage. He’s also softer in his old age — around the middle, yes, but also in demeanor; the Prince of Darkness proved to be a big teddy bear, asking the crowd if they were having fun, while handing out plenty of “I love yous” and “God bless yous”. Yet, he’s also a commanding presence who still gives all he’s got.

And thankfully, age hasn’t touched his voice much. With Iommi — whose guitar heroics were a highlight of the night — and Geezer by his sides, those genre-defining songs from the early 1970s — “Black Sabbath”, “N.I.B”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, “Iron Man” and a particularly punishing “Children of the Grave” — hung pretty faithful to their recorded counterparts. To watch Iommi effortlessly blaze through those iconic licks and solos was mesmerizing.

Clufetos — who was born nine years after Black Sabbath released its first album — quickly and easily earned the audience’s loyalty with his athleticism and precision. A mammoth, 10-minute drum solo, itself a lesson in stamina, was met with much embarrassing but enthusiastic air drumming from the crowd. Bill Ward wasn’t missed.

The two-hour set culminated with a blistering performance of “Paranoid”, delivered in a blizzard of confetti and giant purple balloons. When the band took its final bows, the room was still buzzing with energy.

Saskatoon’s Reignwolf — a.k.a. Jordan Cook — opened the show with a blistering set of blues-inflected hard rock — think a heavier Black Keys meets Badmotorfinger-era Soundgarden. While he’s sometimes joined by a band, Cook is an impressive force solo as he proved on songs such as “Electric Love,” wielding an axe and a kick drum with pummeling results.

Article by Jen Zoratti courtesy of Winnipegfreepress.com
Picture courtesy of Noah Erenberg