I think it’s safe to say if you said “name a metal band” to any random music person the response from that person would most likely be Black Sabbath. And why shouldn’t it be? They are the grandfathers of metal as we know it. Their sound set forth a movement that still is strong today despite what popular media will tell you.
But like most grandfathers of anything there’s one constant. Time. Time stops for no one so it was no surprise to me when Black Sabbath announced The End tour. And I know you haters and purists are going to bitch and moan that without Bill Ward it’s not really the band and not really the end. Well news flash skippy, it is Black Sabbath and it is The End.
While I knew going in last night to Madison Square Garden last night that this would be the last time I’d see Black Sabbath, as I knew in 2014 it’d be the last I’d see Motley Crue, I wondered if I’d hear a great band that I’d wish wasn’t leaving or a band that luckily is leaving the party at the right time. Well rockers I can tell you that Black Sabbath sounded great. Even better than the 13 tour of 2013.
Opening up with “Black Sabbath” and “Fairies Wear Boots” got the crowd on its feet immediately (see video below). Ozzy Osbourne, who earlier in the tour needed medical leave, sounded like I’ve never heard him before. Sure songs were down tuned cause he’s not able to go as high as he once could but age does that to all. Ozzy was full of energy all night and not once sounded winded or lost. As if revisiting the old songs gave him a new youth.
The band moved on through the set through classic Black Sabbath tunes that had the building going crazy. But I really dug the Cheshire Cat grin that Tony Iommi had cranking through “War Pigs” and “Hand Of Doom”. A pure sign of enjoyment and how much fun and energy he was getting from a sold out Madison Square Garden. Iommi showed no signs of anything slowing him down, no sign he’s been battling lymphoma off and on in recent years. That rockers is the power of great music.
Geezer Butler had a similar grin on his face during “Iron Man”. Sure it’s been overplayed in recent years, especially with the hit movie sharing its name but it sounded especially great and dooming last night. Maybe cause outside of a live album it would be the last time I heard it come from its original creators. Or perhaps because it was just that good.
Black Sabbath has had its ups and downs over the years but they are going out the way they came into the music world. Loud and making a mark for all to remember. Black Sabbath thank you for you music and providing a farewell that no one at Madison Square Garden last will ever forget.