I have seen Black Sabbath live for the first time.
It’s not the first time I’ve seen Ozzy Osbourne live or heard Sabbath songs in a live environment as a result. But it is however the first time I’ve seen Sabbath.
Before tonight, there was much press and hype around Bill Ward not taking part. It must be said though that once onstage, complete with Ozzy’s tour drummer, Tommy Clufetos, little thought was given to Bill’s absence.
Coming on stage to ‘Black Sabbath’ and playing a refined and intelligently chosen setlist the band were immaculate throughout their set. Ozzy’s vocal rarely deviated from the recorded version which given 40 years difference is an impressive feat.
I could not believe just how solid the band sounded. It truly is a testament to the talent that is Black Sabbath I can honestly say I have rarely heard a band sound so polished, so immaculate in production, so crystal clear, and most importantly, so god-damned heavy, as hearing Sabbath play tonight.
Two memories loom larger than others. The first is just how amazing Ozzy was at playing harmonica throughout ‘The Wizard’. This was something I’ve never seen him do before, and if I’m honest just assumed wasn’t him on the original recording. Tonight I was thrown but the perfect facsimile performance. Secondly, considering how many guitarists I’ve seen perform live over the years I wasn’t quite ready to appreciate how awe-inspiring Tony Iommi actually is. I couldn’t quite fathom how he made the sounds he did. This was one guitarist producing a sound which other bands can’t mimic using two or three members. A true legend, which up until now I hadn’t given the credit he deserved.
From the outset the sound was louder than the rest of the whole festival, it was clearer and the crowd reaction was just hat little bit more. Tonight was special. Turning around at any point during the show and seeing people stretching further than the eye can see in any direction helped ram home just how special. I am not sure what words I can write which express or describe the experience clearly.
I have been a Black Sabbath fan since I was around 17, but I am not an obsessive, manic fan. I like them, I know a lot of their material but that is where it has ended. On Sunday night I felt like I witnessed a little piece of history.After this amount of gig-going experiences in my life, watching this performance felt like something which I will remember 40 years later.