live review

Black Sabbath

Black Sabbath

April 28 2016
The Vector Arena, Auckland

Reviewed by Dad Jokes
29th April 2016

Going to see a bunch of dudes in their late 60s play rock and roll is always going to be a gamble. So there was part of us with some reservations about going to see the last ever Black Sabbath tour. Good thing there was a bigger part of us channeling our 15-year-old selves that was thinking “Fuck. Yes.”

Fifteen-year-old Dad Jokes were not disappointed.

We can hands down say that was one of the best shows we have ever seen.

We got to the venue just as the road crew were finishing setting up the stage and the crowd was buzzing.

The lights dimmed and a CGI video of the apocalypse played over the jumbo screens. We were taken through the rubble and bombed out buildings until we ended in a room with a giant grotesque egg. It cracked opened, giving birth to a winged demon. It was cheesy as hell, and it was awesome.

The demon was replaced with a giant Black Sabbath and title the crowd cheered as the familiar sounds of tolling bells and rain signalled the beginning of their self-titled track. The band took the stage and the crowd lost it.

They ripped through the 8-minute track with the vigour of young men, not slowing the entire set. Ozzy Osbourne drew the crowd into a frenzy as he ran across the stage. Geezer Butler smashed out groove after groove on his bass. Tony Iommi riffed harder than we ever thought imaginable. Later in the set their fill-in for Bill Ward, Tommy Clufetos, did five consecutive drum solos.

We screamed along the words and air guitared the solos. This was what the crowd had come for. The band was ferocious as they immediately went into hit after hit. Ozzy introduced each track with a humble “this is a song called...” as if every person in the arena didn't already know it from the first note. 'Fairies Wear Boots'. 'War Pigs'. 'Snowblind'. 'After Forever'. 'N.I.B'. 'Behind The Wall Of Sleep'. 'Hand of Doom'. 'Iron Man'.

This was a band in their final days but if felt like one on their first tour. This was the dreams of 15 year olds becoming a reality. To fill in all the clichés there was even a hackle raising moment of “this is why I picked up a guitar”.

After about almost hour-and-a-half of solid riffs, the lights lit up the stadium as Ozzy yelled, “This is our last song, but if you go fucking crazy we might play one more.” They cracked into 'Children Of The Grave' and the crowd exploded. We were starving for more. With only a brief break they came back on stage and with one last “I wanna see you go crazy” and we did.

They launched into 'Paranoid'. Their only song in the encore but it was 40 some years of a career boiled down into 4 minutes.

It was enough.

They had given everything to us and as the polite Englishmen they are, they thanked the fans one last time and exited the stage.

As we walked home we were in awe of what we had seen. There was nothing that could top this. To make the experience feel a bit more real, we tried to pick it apart. The best we could come up with was the disappointment that the new drummer didn't have the same jazzy swing as Bill Ward. That, and some of the songs were a little faster than on the records. That was it. What we couldn't and didn't want to talk about was this.

We had just witnessed The End. And it was glorious.

Black Sabbath are performing at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin this Saturday 30th April, head over here for more information.

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