Well this was my first and last time seeing the legend that is Black Sabbath. Granted the opportunities to see them in the past have been fairly few and far in between but I've never purposefully sought them out as a band that I definitely must see. I've always respected BS but I can't say I've really been a huge fan but I have liked numerous songs enough to show great respect to the band.
With this tour billed as The End I thought let me buckle down and go and see them. Sure their best times have long gone but this'll be it and the opportunity will never arise again. The ticket price ended up costing me a hefty £70 in total which was a bit eye watering to say the least but I paid, shut up, and bared witness to some classic riffs.
I missed the start of openers Rival Sons sadly. I thought they were coming on at around 7.40 but they must've already played a few songs as I took my seat. I must admit I liked these guys when they supported another legend, Deep Purple, in this same arena a year or so back. They sounded right at home as an Arena classic rock band and it was no different last night. They have a great soulful singer to boot. They are like Sabbath's less neanderthal and more soulful cousin basically. Strangely when I tried the band's studio material I found it a bit pedestrian and so so, but they come to life in the live arena that's for sure. They have a natty set of tunes and some cool swaggering riffage and some Hammond as well to give you the Purple or 70s angle. Good set!
Finally at the reasonably early hour of 8.15 the intro video was played on the curtain covering the stage and it dropped to reveal that familiar creepy intro to the band's self titled song. The band is fairly static and grim faced it must be said. You won't get too many smiles out of these grim overlords of dark metal that's for sure. But I guess this ain't exactly happy music!
As the band progressed through the doomy opening track I started to believe the hype. This tour has been getting rave reviews for the performance of than band an in particular Ozzy's performance on the mic. I'm not saying he was up to the level of his younger days but for a shuffling old fool approaching his 70th birthday he wasn't half bad at all. he sounded dreary and doomy as his voice boomed across the hall. He still has that dodgy gait about him and some of his kid jumps and stamps are still hilarious to watch but he knows how to work a crowd that's for sure.
The setlist consisted of no new material at all and in fact all these songs were recorded in the 70s. This is understandable since Ozzy is the front man and it wouldn't be the done thing to sing newer material but one track from 13 is not so impossible is it? Not that I like 13 but I just want to hear how it would have sounded.
In any case as I said the band sounded excellent indeed. Iommi needs no introduction from me now does he! The man is the originator and true legend of the riff! Every Sabbath song is blessed with either a monumentally memorable riff or a great rollicking groove. They even played a nice riff medley in the middle which was very cool to hear. The new young drummer is very good too. He had an extended drum solo to show off his skills.
Songs of the night where the intricate and progressive Into the Void, War Pigs with mass sing along by almost the whole of the Arena, Iron Man with it's catchy unearthly riffs and roaring groove and the rollicking, hammering set closer Children of the Grave.
Of course they encored with Paranoid and we said one last goodbye to these legends. They've still got another show to play here tomorrow and two more hometown shows in Birmingham but for my first and last ever Sabbath show I have to hand it to them. Their bodies maybe beat, and the fire for heavy metal maybe diminished somewhat, but they don't half still make a monstrous sound. Farewell to the true originators of heavy metal - Black Sabbath.
Fairies Wear Boots
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Riff Medley, including Supernaut
Children of the Grave