How do you end the most iconic heavy metal band of all time?
At one point, a couple of decades after their 70s heyday, it looked liked it might be with a constantly changing cast of replacement musicians, declining album sales, less than enthusiastic ticket sales and something of a whimper rather than a bang. But, following an initial reunion in the late 90s, a mega-successful album with ‘13’ and a hugely successful world tour which reunited three of the original four members in 2013/4, fans hoped that there would at least be one more opportunity to say a final farewell, even in spite of a hugely worrying lymphoma diagnosis for Tony Iommi.
So here we have it: The End – Black Sabbath’s final farewell tour which reaches it’s ultimate conclusion with a couple of dates at London’s O2 and two final concerts in the band’s home city of Birmingham. And it’s every bit as magnificent, spellbinding and heavy as Black Sabbath should be. From the familiar doom-laden chords of the opening ‘Black Sabbath’ to the unforgettable riff of ‘Paranoid’ for the encore, every single minute of this concert was special. Geezer Butler delivers those unmistakable bass-lines, Tony Iommi delivers that unmistakable crunching guitar and Ozzy Osbourne delivers those unmistakable wailing vocals – the essential and unchangeable ingredients that make Black Sabbath what it is. Yes, it’s a shame that Bill Ward is not here to participate in this final tour but drummer, Tony Clufetos, does an absolutely outstanding job with immense energy. I doubt, really, whether anyone could have done it better.
Ozzy, as always, is a fascinating character. Between songs he shuffles around the stage like the mumbling, slightly bewildered figure TV viewers came to love so much. But the second a song starts he is instantly transformed into the wailing, demonic rock god that fans of the ultimate heavy metal band have always known.
My first ever live experience of Black Sabbath was with Bev Bevan out of ELO on drums and Ian Gillan out of Deep Purple on vocals, encoring with Smoke On The Water (?!) How fitting that what is likely to be my last has Tony, Geezer and Ozzy performing Sabbath exactly the way it should be performed. It was an absolutely magnificent performance, stunning setlist and suitably evocative special effects. The atmosphere at the O2, which can be a bit lacking at times however good a band is, was absolutely electric from start to finish.
Whatever happens now this band has made it’s mark on rock music a billion times over and their contribution will not be forgotten. Thank you Black Sabbath.
Fairies Wear Boots
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
Children of the Grave
3 thoughts on “Black Sabbath at the O2 31/1/17”
No band has made me question the systems we live under more than Sabbath. Geezer is not only a brilliant bass player with such a deft touch – he’s a philosopher that came up with so much that makes Sabbath Sabbath. I learned to play up-front bass because of the influence of Geezer’s playing. So good to see Ozzy in such good form (What’s not to love about Ozzy) and Tony looking really well and happily enjoying his rightful status as guitar hero par excellence. I’m so sad to see the great British bands like Motorhead – Lemmy was another philosopher – end their careers. Feels like my heart’s being cut out. But 31st Jan 2017 will be a day I never forget and feel lucky to have seen them in such great form and it will stay with me till my time is up. What a wonderful way to tie up such a strong legacy with so many great songs that, unlike other 70’s rock is even more relevant now then ever. How many bands can say they created a genre doing it their way?
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Absolutely. Geezer’s lyrics are as much an intrinsic part of Sabbath as Ozzy’s voice and Tony’s guitar. And while it’s sad that we have seen so many musicians from classic bands taken away from us or bands gearing up for retirement, I do think the last three or four years has delivered some stunning latest albums from bands – including Sabs, Priest, Heep, Motorhead et al that stand up alongside their heyday era material
Lucky you, I would have loved to have been there. Thank so much for sharing.
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