“Pretty damn good man! For an old Sabbath fan from the day, it was worth every penny!” That’s how music fan Don Mason, is telling it today, after attending last nights appearance at Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada by Black Sabbath. A SOLD OUT show!
In all reality, it’s fairly impossible to give Black Sabbath any kind of review at all. They are after all, Black Sabbath.
L to R
Iommi, Osbourne, Butler
Anyone in attendance at a show is lucky at all to be able to see any of the musicians in this particular line up at all. While the most recent record 13 was being made, front fellow Ozzy Osbourne had an addiction relapse, which caused a hiatus between him and Manager/Missus Sharon Osbourne. Guitarist Tony Iommi is still undergoing cancer treatment and (ex) drummer Bill Ward told Ultimate Classic Rock he just flat-out “wouldn’t sign a contract!” The band tell a different truth. Thank fuck for bassist Geezer Butler! With Tony Clufetos behind the drums, Ward was barely a whisper in the wind.
Osbourne has had the same lines on stage for at least the past 25 years, with or without his Sabbath band mates.. “I love you all” and “I can’t fucking hear you” are tried and tested phrases for the iconic singer. They work. The crowd shouts louder and they love him right back. At 65 he can still belt it out. His voice barely wavering from that of a young Ozzy Zig many, many moons ago. He no longer needs a gig!
Of course, after years of substance abuse and ant snorting antics, you sometimes wonder if he’ll make it to the other side of the stage, clapping and grinning maniacally…. but he does and the fans egg him on to get back to the centre of the stage, in time to sing the next note.
A standing crowd, right from lights out at just before 9pm 10:50pm, or there about and the atmosphere was electric. There were fans like Mason from back in the day and fans as young as four or five years old, to be seen in the crowd. The latter, probably not enjoying the topless women that were present on the monitors throughout, as much as the former! Tits always make everything better!
Opening with War Pigs and closing with Paranoid, the evenings set list was a no surprise, no frills affair. The classics were just that, the newer tunes less revered, but still very well received.
Black Sabbath were never a particularly theatrical outfit. Ronnie James Dio, who replaced Ozzy as the singer during a transition was a great vocalist and superb performer, but his style was so very different and let’s face it, we all know that Osbourne really is the only guy for this gig. Black Sabbath was always about creating atmosphere and other than Osbourne, no one could give that individual, dark, maniacal, and classic feel.
After the loss of two finger tips in his youth, Iommi had to construct himself prosthetics/finger tips in order to continue playing guitar. It was this accident that caused his style and playing ability to change, giving the distinctive sound that others have tried and failed for decades, to emulate.
Bassist Butler really has no story. He doesn’t need one. He is the bassist with Black Sabbath.
After show end last night, the band hopped on a flight to LA where they will finish up this leg of the 13 North American tour. It’s unknown when, or even if they will be around these parts again. If you were in attendance you were a part of some serious musical history.
Not there? Massive Fail!
Karen G 23 April 2014