Perth Arena, WA
April 15th, 2016
Support – Rival Sons
Black Sabbath’s ‘The End’ tour rolled into Perth last night on their final Australian sojourn, ever. Front man, Ozzy Osbourne, the ‘Prince of darkness’ himself alongside, riff master, Tony Iommi, bludgeoning bassist, Geezer Butler and hired gun, drummer, Tommy Clufetos. Sadly, Bill Ward, the band’s original drummer wouldn’t be joining the band on their farewell tour.
Sabbath redefined rock back in 1970 with the band’s self-titled debut. Little did they know the album would pave the way for a new genre of music. In essence, Black Sabbath gave birth to heavy metal. History was made. The sound was something much more than blues or psychedelic rock, this was heavier. It was scarier. The pounding bass of Geezer Butler was hypnotic and bellowing. The riffs from Tony Iommi were demanding and spawned generations of bands attempting to emulate his sound or simply embellish the riffs. It could be argued that Iommi introduced every single heavy chord of heavy music played in the following decades. If Black Sabbath hadn’t done it already you simply weren’t listening to heavy metal.
Now 46 years on from their crushing debut record, Sabbath have reached the final frontier and despite their age still command the stage like no other act around. Pyrotechnics not required nor backing singers or keyboardists, the music does all the talking. It’s all about those riffs! When Iommi hits those chords we know so well, it’s as if he is speaking with his guitar. Ozzy, charismatic as always, craftly engages the crowd allowing their vocal assistance to get through a punishing set list for a man now well into his 60’s. Geezer, simply ploughs away, his bass lines still some of the heaviest heard in the last forty years.
The band begin with their self-titled track, accompanied by theatrical sound of thunder and lightning as per the original recording. The Perth crowd is immediately on point. Singing in unison , the fans thrive on Ozzy’s every word. When Ozzy speaks, the crowd obeys. When Ozzy sings, the crowd sings. Heavy metal at its finest. ‘Into the Void’, ups the ante, again Iommi the star of the show with those riffs. Damn, those riffs! What an incredible talent Iommi is.
A promising beginning has the crowd on edge for next track, ‘Snowblind’. Whilst, Geezer, Iommi and Clufetos perform it’s clear Ozzy’s vocals are crumbling and after concluding the track apologises to the crowd for a disappearing vocal range he states “is still coming to terms with the flight to Australia”. Worse was to come when following track, ‘War Pigs’ is halted a few chords in as Iommi’s guitar feed breaks down. When it doesn’t rain, it pours. However, the short time spent fixing the feed allows Ozzy to take some magical tea and whatever else concoction he is partaking in front of Clufetos’ drum kit and thankfully his vocal performance returned to normal for the rest of the show. Crisis averted.
When, ‘War Pigs’ hits for the second time or more to the point when Iommi hits those magical chords to introduce the song, the crowd participation level hits pandemonium level. Not one person in the Arena is quiet, Ozzy urging or demanding assistance with the Sabbath anthem. “I can’t fucking hear you”, Ozzy screams, a catch cry often used by the front man throughout. The set list is strong, focusing more on the band’s first three albums, unfortunately skipping anything from 2013’s comeback and final album, 13. ‘N.I.B’ and “Hand of Doom’ are a highlight, each a powerful statement. The instrumental ‘Rat Salad’, allows Geezer and Iommi time to indulge themselves before Clufetos breaks out into an elongated ‘Animal’ drum solo allowing a breather for the old veterans before they return to the stage for yet another Sabbath staple, ‘Iron Man’. ‘Oi Oi Oi’ indeed. Ozzy screaming at Perth fans to involve themselves time and again. The fans all too willing to oblige. Who are we to deny the prince of darkness?
‘Dirty Women’, the track from 19876’s, Technical Ecstasy was a strange addition to ‘The End’ tour, having not appeared for many years but the track is another spotlight moment for Tony Iommi, whose imaginative solo is spellbinding for those witnessing it. Even Ozzy applauds his guitar work mid song. The final track, ‘Children of the Grave’ destroys, making even the oldest of crowd participant’s jump along with ‘that’ killer Iommi riff, but we all know it’s not the end.
Concluding in ‘Paranoid’ following another Ozzy funny moment as he initiates the ‘one more song’ chant to get the ball rolling with the old cliched encore. The track involving an impressive moment in the moshpit where a wheelchair and it’s occupant were lifted several metres across the crowd above heads. The occupant moshing away in time as Ozzy continued the famous lyrics, “Finished with my woman ’cause she couldn’t help me with my mind”. Sabbath had once more left their stamp on fans, not they needed too – we’re just glad they strolled into our town one last time. This is your last chance to see them in Australia. DO NOT MISS.
Fairies Wear Boots
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
Children of the Grave
Photos supplied and courtesy of @rosshalfin
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