Nearing the final stages of their farewell tour, the metal legends put on a fantastic show at Leeds Arena.
First Direct Arena, Leeds, January 26th 2017
So this is it, the end. Not for the first time and, who knows, maybe not actually for the last. This could be the final chance to see the band that started it all, the inventors of heavy metal, the Prince of Darkness, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler: Black Sabbath. Yes, it’s a massive shame Bill Ward once again couldn’t be involved, but the chance to see even three quarters of the metal pioneers one last time is better than nothing.
Rival Sons have been given a great opportunity, the sole support act on the majority of this mammoth tour that started over a year ago over in the US. They put on a decent set, playing loud and proud their modern, classic and blues inspired rock. It’s a fairly straight-forward warm-up, but at the end of the day that’s all it is. There’ll be few (if any) there purely for Rival Sons.
It’s only about Black Sabbath. The arena is full, packed with different generations. From those who were around in the band’s formative years to the youngsters they’ve introduced them to, it’s a firm example of the legacy they leave behind and how it will never fade.
Opening with their self-titled track that really did start it all, any worries that this would be a disappointing end are quickly extinguished. The creepy first lines are delivered with evil intent, the slow build-up forms a powerful atmosphere before the pace picks up and it all kicks off. Yet anyone who has an even slight interest in heavy metal of any form knew that. This is Black Sabbath’s greatest hits delivered wonderfully.
There’s no point getting carried away and proclaiming this to be their best ever performance; Ozzy’s voice is surprisingly strong but probably not up to what it was in the ‘70s and there’s little movement onstage (unsurprising for three blokes in their 60s). Instead all the energy comes from the power of such timeless songs. Fairies Wear Boots, Snowblind, Children of the Grave, Iron Man, War Pigs and of course the closing Paranoid are all on point. All delivered as you’d expect, there’s little else to say.
Tony Iommi oozes class playing those classic guitar licks and solos effortlessly, Geezer Butler rumbles along with his bass and Ozzy is Ozzy; running around a bit, geeing up the crowd but most importantly singing his heart out and enjoying himself, as they all are. If this really is the end then what a superb finale it was, with barely anything missing. The End.
Black Sabbath play their final two shows at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on February 2nd and 4th. Good luck finding tickets!
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