Black Sabbath - SSE Hydro, Glasgow, Mon 16 Dec 2013
The (mostly) original line-up reunite to perform a set of pure heavy metal ecstasy
There’s always a slight fear when a band comes out of retirement and heads back on the touring circuit that they’ll never recapture past glories. For many fans it’ll be their last and only chance to catch an act they know and love in the live arena, so they’re willing to hand over the exorbitant ticket price just to they can tick one more off the list.
Black Sabbath have split, reunited and reformed in various formats over the years. And while we’ll never know exactly what went on behind the scenes it’s a real shame not to see original drummer Bill Ward behind the kit. However from the opening riff of ‘War Pigs’ Sabbath prove they can still slay their competition. It's a glorious run though slab after slab of classic rock that would form the very foundations of what became known as heavy metal. Tony Iommi’s guitar work is still peerless, Geezer Butler’s bass provides a pounding rhythm while the new touring drummer Tommy Clufetos might not have the jazzy elasticity of Ward but he’s a total beast as he proves on a jaw dropping muscular drum solo about midway through the show.
However the big question was always going to be: ‘but what about Ozzy?’ The Double O was always potentially the weakest link, tonight he hits the ground running. Vocally he’s totally on form, admittedly there are a couple of minor stumbles, but hell it’s Ozzy – we’ll forgive him anything as he careens round the stage like a demented pensioner.
Six tracks in they launch into their signature tune ‘Black Sabbath’ and the entire gig moves into over drive as the Hydro bangs its head in unison. It’s a hairs on the back of your neck moment. Pure heavy metal ecstasy. They have the good sense to only play three new tracks from 2013’s solid if unremarkable new album 13, the rest is stone cold classics. Weighty, deep, rumbling metal all building towards a truly outstanding finale of 'Children of the Grave' and 'Paranoid' as the faithful gathered in their masses roar their approval. The gods of metal once more walk among us and we bow down in tribute to their power. Just to be in their presence is a treat, for them to still be this awesome after all these years is almost too much to ask. Long live Black Sabbath.
‘Into the Void’
‘Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes’
‘Age of Reason’
‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’
‘End of the Beginning’
‘Fairies Wear Boots’
‘God Is Dead?’
‘Children of the Grave’