Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Black Sabbath come to Philly

Black Sabbath
Live in Philadelphia
Wells Fargo Center
August 10, 2013

It might be hard to believe but after years and years of waiting, Black Sabbath are finally back on tour. The reunited original line up (sans drummer Bill Ward) are touring in support of their latest studio album 13. As you can imagine, the place was packed with Sabbath fans waiting for an evening of great music.

            There was an opening act in the form of Andrew W.K. While his name might sound new, Andrew W.K. is a metal singer turned TV personality. Instead of having his own band and performing his songs, W.K. did something unusual: he stood on top of platform, playing hard rock and heavy metal classics, and at times shooting Sabbath t-shirts into the crowd. It was strange but ironically enough, W.K. did play some Dio and Deep Purple (the irony being that Dio and Ian Gillan have both sung for Sabbath at one point in time). W.K. even played Sabbath’s “Who Are You”, a deep cut from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

            Sabbath hit the stage at around 8:45 pm. The crowd went wild as sirens wailed and the black curtain went up. “How ya doin’?!” singer Ozzy Osbourne yelled as the band went into “War Pigs”. Osbourne let the crowd sing a line or two in the song to the point where he was gleefully conducting the audiences in vocalizing the song.

            Next came fan favorites such as “Into the Void” and “Snowblind”. The band even dug deep in their catalogue with “Under the Sun” and even the instrumental “Rat Salad” which led into a drum solo from drummer Tommy Clufetos. Even though Ward isn’t with the band anymore, Clufetos is a great drummer. The speed and energy Clufetos has is remarkable.

            With this tour being in promotion for their latest studio album, the band did play three songs from 13: “Age of Reason”, “End of the Beginning”, and “God Is Dead?” I find it funny that with a band like Black Sabbath, people are begging for a new studio album. When it comes time for a band to play those new songs, people walk out. Fortunately, this isn’t the case with Sabbath: barely anybody in the audience walked out during a new song. It goes to show that people actually like the new album.

            Sabbath also played their classics, all of which had fans singing along and clapping their hands to. During “Black Sabbath”, Osbourne commanded that the crowd turn on their cell phones and light up their cigarette lighters. Looking all around the place, it was a sea of flames. It was amazing. Bassist Geezer Butler had his chance to shine during “Behind the Wall of Sleep” playing his bass solo “Bassically” which, of course, went into the Sabbath classic “N.I.B.”.

            If one member of the band had to be awarded with MVP, guitarist Tony Iommi deserves it. As many know, Iommi is the only member of Sabbath that has been in every line-up change in the band’s history. In early 2012, Iommi was diagnosed with early stages of lymphoma. During the recording of the latest album, Iommi went through chemotherapy. During the concert, it was obvious that lymphoma is no match for the mighty riff master. He nailed every solo in each song, including classic such as “Iron Man”, “Dirty Women”, “Fairies Wear Boots”, and “Children of the Grave”.

            Osbourne was in great shape. It’s no secret that Osbourne has done almost every drug out there for years and years. Despite what most people say, Osbourne’s vocals sounded just fine. His onstage shtick as not changed with his cries of “Let me see ya hands!”, “We love you”, and “How the f*ck are ya?” Overall, Osbourne still has it. 

            “Children of the Grave” was supposed to be the last song played but Osbourne told the crowd if they made enough noise, they’d play one more song. As you can imagine, they did with playing the opening to “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” which went right into “Paranoid”.

“God bless you, Philly! We love you all!” Osbourne yelled.

            Black Sabbath were, in a word, amazing. That’s saying a lot considering these guys are in their mid-60’s. The question is if they’ll ever go back on tour sometime after this current one ends. Judging by the band smiling every so often during the show, it looks like they’re really enjoying this. If Black Sabbath come to a town near you, do yourself a favor and see them.


Setlist

1.      War Pigs
2.      Into the Void
3.      Under the Sun
4.      Snowblind
5.      Age of Reason
6.      Black Sabbath
7.      Behind the Wall of Sleep/NIB
8.      End of the Beginning
9.      Fairies Wear Boots
10.  Rat Salad (with Tommy Clufetos drum solo)
11.  Iron Man
12.  God Is Dead?
13.  Dirty Women
14.  Children of the Grave

Encore

15.  Paranoid (with Sabbath Bloody Sabbath intro)

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