Being born in 1980 I missed out on the early days of the genre of music I’ve come to love and be part of. Bands like Led Zepplin, The Beatles, and Black Sabbath all set the standard before I was born. And by the time I was old enough to discover them they all were broken up or no longer living. Reunions of the living bands were all but impossible. That is until this year with the reunion of Ozzy Osbourne and the other founding members, which allowed me and several to see and hear what we thought we might never hear.
Now I know a lot of you reading this are screaming “No Bill Ward so it’s not a true reunion.” While Bill Ward is not in Black Sabbath at the time I’m writing this the reality for me and many is 3 out of 4 original members is close enough considering Tony Iommi is battling cancer and Ozzy has abused drugs and alcohol in excess over the years. Add in their ages and we can all agree this is the best we can ask for considering circumstances.
From the first chords of “War Pigs” through the last chords of “Paranoid” everyone at the PNC Bank Arts Center saw and heard something half of us thought we’d never see while the other half were transported back to when they first heard Black Sabbath. All 17,000 and more together to see the band that took things in a direction no one had ever thought would go.
Geezer Butler played as if no time had been missed and age was merely a number. You could see he was enjoying every moment of it and feel it in ever note that pulsed out of his bass.
If none of us had heard that Tony Iommi had cancer you sure as hell would never had known from his playing. Yes he did stroll over to well placed fans every so often for a moment and his solos were more blues related then speed, he still played like the guitar legend we all respect him to be.
While Tommy Clufetos, Ozzy’s normal drummer, was the odd man out of this line up he still found his way to fit in. He added and heavier and edgier sound to the band, you almost forget the Bill Ward situation. ALMOST, cause you yearn for that blues style of Bill Ward during “N.I.B” and “Black Sabbath”.
Then of course there’s Ozzy. He put so much energy into the night that I was amazed he had it in him. Yes he’s only 64 but with everything he’s put into his body over the years he looked like be was much older at times throughout the show. Age and substance abuse has effected him physically but not enough to hold him back from giving it his full effort. The majority of the night he was right on tempo and key as if nothing had changed for him. But a few times during “Snowblind” you could hear the note just wasn’t there for him. While the classics, “Iron Man” and “Children of the Grave” were right on like many of us know them from years of listening to the albums.
Black Sabbath managed a show that gave us 4 songs from their latest album “13” as well as the classics and even deep cuts like “Dirty Women”. Had it not been for all the smartphones being held up to take photos you might’ve forgotten that it was 2013 and thought it was the 1970s again.
Now we wait to see if we were part of history or will we get ones the chance to see Black Sabbath. Only time will tell that but I’m glad I got to see them and get a feel for what the world was like when metal music was first forged.