Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Black Sabbath - The End

Master of reality-TV, Ozzy Osbourne, and his Sabbath compadres are calling time on touring. Their show at the London O2 Arena on 29th January played out before a crowd intent on rubbernecking the death throes of a lumbering behemoth rather than celebrating its odds-defying longevity. Despite the polite audience reaction, Sabbath turned in a blinding performance. Ozzy's caged animal pacing was noticeable by its absence - perhaps the rigours of touring have finally caught up with him - but his vocals were a revelation, a huge improvement on Sabbath's previous tour. Geezer's playing, as always, was beyond reproach. One day he'll be recognised as being as fundamental to Black Sabbath's sound as riff factory, Tony Iommi. I've always thought that Dirty Women is unfit to breathe the same air as the rest of the band's material, but on this occasion Tony Iommi's beautiful extended guitar solo completely justified its inclusion. Tommy Clufetos' passable impersonation of Bill Ward - visually at least - didn't prevent him from turning in a turgid, toilet-break drum solo. Harsh perhaps, but for me, Bill Ward's playing is integral to the band's sonic DNA. Still, Clufetos is a marked improvement on Vinnie Appice.

Despite the crowd, despite Bill's absence, it was a memorable send-off. Long live Black Sabbath!

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