Many years ago, about the time I started playing guitar, I bought a double LP record with a spooky black cover. It was by a band called Black Sabbath and the sound of the music matched the cover. Until that time, AC/DC were the heaviest band I knew (as I said, this was a long time ago), yet Sabbath redefined the meaning of that term.
After all these years, last night I finally got to see Black Sabbath play live. The original line up with Ozzy Osbourne on vocals, reformed for what must surely be their farewell album and tour. And to see the venue sold out goes some way towards restoring one’s faith in humanity, doesn’t it!
For a bunch of guys in their sixties, they still put out a mighty sound. Tony Iommi is still the master of doom laden guitar riffs, and Geezer Butler is a force of nature on bass. Even Ozzy was on song, much better than last time I saw him as a solo artist, holding his ravaged body together for one last tour and giving the crowd something to remember him by.
How good a show was it? Well, I kept waiting for them to play one of their weaker songs so I could slip out and get a drink, but when they started with ‘War Pigs’, ‘Into the Void’ and ‘Under the Sun,’ I just couldn’t get away!
The only disappointing aspect of the show was that apart from the song ‘Dirty Women,’ they played nothing off their last four Ozzy albums. That’s right, nothing off Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Sabotage, Technical Ecstasy, or Never Say Die. A shame, but the fact is Ozzy just can’t get high enough to sing those songs anymore. You could never say that about Sabbath’s other great singer, Ronnie James Dio, could you? Oh well, Dio’s no longer with us. And the fact is Ozzy, Tony, and Geezer won’t be for much longer either, so it’s good that we got one last chance to pay tribute to one of the most original and powerful of bands in rock history.