Date: 19th May
Venue: o2 Academy, Birmingham
It’s so hot. Within five minutes I’m already sticky with sweat and the pint that’s missed my mouth while squeezing my way to the middle. It’s been seven years since Black Sabbath last played together and 13 since they played in their hometown. The 2000 strong crowd in the relatively intimate O2 academy are a mixed bunch – young, old, lots of men with outgrown monk haircuts—all excited to be the first to witness the mighty Sabbath reunite on stage. And oh, oh, they are so worth the excited and frustrated wait.
“Come on you fuckers!” Ozzy yells, before even the most ancient of the crowd take the risk and go utterly ape-shit as the opener ‘Into the Void’ fills the room and blasts me right up into metal heaven. Pulling out rarities, like ‘Wheels of Confusion’—a track which Ozzy isn’t even sure has been played live before—the crowd are treated to a golden era of Sabbath tracks, which warrants a good deal of sing-alongs, pint swaying and illicit spliff saluting. Even without their drummer Bill Ward, Sabbath are blinding. Tommy Clufeto is a worthy replacement for Ward and Geezer Butler is as solid as ever. And I thought I was sweaty – Ozzy is drenched. Despite having to use the mic-stand to steady himself for a head bang, Ozzy’s eyes are sparkling through his dripping hair. He looks fucking mental. Impressive and mesmerising as Ozzy is, its guitarist Tony Iommi who really blows minds – performing guitar solos that seriously refute the fact that this 64 year old man playing insane guitar before us is still recovering from lymphoma. As the crowd repeatedly chant Tony’s name, he looks truly touched. At one point Ozzy points at Tony and shouts, “HE IS IRON MAN”, and he really is.