Black Sabbath – The Final Show – Genting Arena – Birmingham
Saturday 4th February 2017
The end of an era! Black Sabbath came back home to where it all started. Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler were all on top form for their final performance together as one. The band had to come back to their hometown of Birmingham to bring the conclusion to their great tour and to a fantastic 49 year career in the band!
Kicking off their set with the powerful, yet eerie ‘Black Sabbath’, the band begun strong with their last show. The song itself holds such a strange air about it, but it is the perfect start to their big finish. Continuing from this, ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ is then given one last performance to a crowd lapping up every second of it. Being in the middle of the arena, I could get a great look at the audience. It’s not every day you get men in their 50’s-60’s throwing their wrists in the air and holding back the tears, but clearly this show means so much to a lot of people.
‘Under The Sun’ is next, and this very much confirmed my suspicions that the show would be for the fans who had been with the band since day one. In fact, the newest song played (if you can call it that. I’m not too sure) was ‘Dirty Women’ from 1976’s TECHNICAL ECSTACY album. Then we got treated to extended versions of ‘Snow Blind’ and ‘War Pigs’, these songs were definitely welcomed to the set list and I did not want them to end. The band knew how to deliver, and this was evident with each song that went past.
Throughout the show, there are more classics that just rock you! There was a certain thumping along the whole arena when ‘Iron Man’ comes to life. This song is just so iconic, hearing it in an arena with everyone chanting along and clapping to every beat of the drum…it was breathtaking! Then hearing Tony Iommi pull off that legendary riff with Ozzy proclaiming “I am Iron Man!”. The setlist was then brought to an epic conclusion with ‘Paranoid’. There was so many great tracks, in fact this list really did bring out the best of the legendary band. ‘Paranoid’ was the perfect way to finish the show and bring to an end the legacy that is Black Sabbath.
To say the band was on great form would be an understatement. The brutal bass notes from Geezer Butler gave the thunderous feel to all them tracks, then the guitar work from the legendary Tony Iommi proves that he still holds himself up there as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Then we have the man who is the voice of Black Sabbath, the one and only, Mr Ozzy Osbourne. From him, you could see a lot of emotion coming out during that performance. He may not have been too clear in his addresses to the audience, but there was no denying his vocals were still as recognisable today as they were in 1968! I also have to say the brilliant Adam Wakeman kept the keys in fine tune throughout the night and then there is Mr Tommy Clufetos! Clufetos rocked the house, his skills behind that drumkit was just unbelievable. Being given a 10 minute solo to help rest the older band members, he wowed the crowd and set the arena alight with his skills…beating them weapons of his to pieces!
The night itself was fantastic, the perfect send-off to the group. There was so much emotion from both the band and the crowd. Ozzy was able to get a couple of laughs from the crowd, but then he was indeed speechless after ‘Paranoid’. He could only say thank you before him and the band stepped off the stage. Never had I seen such a gathering as I did at that show. I spoke to people from the US, Canada, Australia, Hong Kong and from all around the UK. To see Black Sabbath get to give one last show for the fans and to leave something truly special for everyone was worth every second of being there. Birmingham was where it all began, so it was fitting to have Birmingham as the place it would come to an end. When the DVD/Blu-Ray is released, I recommend you obtain it for your own collection. Well done Black Sabbath, you will forever be part of music history.
Final rating: 10/10 (it had to be!)
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove