I saw Black Sabbath yesterday.
In other words: yes, I saw Black Sabbath Easter Sunday. It’s not something I’m proud of; indeed, I didn’t even realize I’d be doing it until fairly recently (you may recall my titillation at seeing the band that wrote “Sweet Leaf” on 4-20). But it it what it is, and as far as I can tell my soul’s still safe…although my hand did start to bleed spontaneously this afternoon, which had me wondering. (Growing up I was taught that Black Sabbath generally and Ozzy Osbourne specifically were earthly manifestations of Hell and Satan, respectively. I remember being surprised–and a little disappointed–when the first picture I saw of the putative “Prince of Darkness” showed a scrawny, pale-looking guy with long hair.) The fact that Ozzy, Geezer Butler, and Tony Iommi aren’t just touring, but living, is surely a miracle. Most of the classic Sabbath songs were tuned down, presumably to accommodate Ozzy’s diminished range, but otherwise there were precious few concessions to age. The band rocked–totally and utterly rocked. I still wish Bill Ward had been there, even though his replacement, Tommy Clufetos, was frequently outstanding (his fills during “Black Sabbath,” for instance, helped to re-imagine the first half of that song). Otherwise, it was better than I would’ve ever imagined. I’m not sure what I was expecting of Black Sabbath yesterday. I certainly wasn’t expecting them to be that good.
- War Pigs (I’m not sure how you top this…)
- Into the Void (…although this might’ve done it, actually)
- Under the Sun/Everything Comes and Goes
- Snowblind (again re: 4-20, I’m surprised “Sweet Leaf” didn’t make the set yesterday; “Snowblind,” in case it needs mentioning, isn’t about marijuana)
- Age of Reason
- Black Sabbath (my runaway personal highlight; as I tweeted after the show, “They could’ve played ‘Black Sabbath’ continually all night and I’d have been totally satisfied”)
- Behind the Wall of Sleep
- End of the Beginning
- Faeries Wear Boots
- Rat Salad
- Drum Solo (I’m not a fan of long drum solos, and this was certainly long–about ten minutes long, by my count; Osbourne, Iommi, and Butler disappeared for the duration, and the solo ended with Tommy Clufetos pounding out the opening drum part to…)
- Iron Man
- God is Dead?
- Dirty Women (the one absolute clanger on the setlist; almost any other song in the Sabbath catalogue would’ve been an improvement)
- Children of the Grave (which, for obvious reasons, I was hoping might get dropped; the song rocked, but…yeah)
- Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (tease)
- “Black Sabbath.” That riff, man. The downtuning somehow made it sound even more menacing.
- Tony Iommi’s guitar playing. If I’d been a teenager at last night’s show I’d be taking guitar lessons by now.
- The fact that Black Sabbath still has a mystique that few bands can hope to emulate. There was a feeling inside the Saddledome that was almost as remarkable as the musicianship on stage.
Next up: no idea.