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BLACK SABBATH Live In New York City

By Curt Miller, Pittsburgh Correspondent
Monday, March 7, 2016 @ 1:15 PM


THE END of the Beginning At Madison Square Garden

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When BLACK SABBATH released 13 on June 10, 2013 with Ozzy Osbourne once again fronting the band, I was in metal heaven. 13’s sound is reminiscent of early SABBATH with the dark, heavy riffs that served as the foundation for metal music. While others like LED ZEPPELIN and DEEP PURPLE were making bluesy rock music in the late ‘60s, they didn’t take their sound or lyrical content nearly as dark as did BLACK SABBATH. When it comes to metal, SABBATH pretty much invented it and, as they showed when they released 13, they still had it 45 years later.

Upon hearing the announcement that BLACK SABBATH was embarking on their “final tour,” dubbed THE END, there was simply no way I was going to miss the chance to see this iconic band live, and where better to see them than New York City’s Madison Square Garden? So, arrangements were made and our Sabbath Squad was assembled. We were not disappointed.

The February 25, 2016 BLACK SABBATH show at Madison Square Garden was sold out, but honestly, there isn’t a bad seat in the house. When the lights hit, the roar from the crowd was deafening. Seeing Ozzy, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler on stage backed by Tommy Clufetos on drums was almost surreal. (Adam Wakeman also backs the band playing keyboards off-stage.) The show started just as it all began on February 13, 1970 with the track “Black Sabbath” from the bands self-titled debut. It was like taking a trip back in time. Every member of the band was right on point. People were sending me text messages asking about Ozzy’s vocals. Really? I was kind of in the middle of the coolest moment of my life, but hey. Well, his vocals were great, so that answers that question!

From there the band went into “Fairies Wear Boots”. Again, killer! They were playing early BLACK SABBATH and an audience filled with people ranging in age from grade-school kids to grandparents was eating it up. SABBATH put forth an incredible amount of energy and Ozzy egged everyone on to give it right back with repeated calls of, “I can’t hear you!“ The audience never gave up an ovation that didn’t get a very heartfelt, “I love you all” response from Ozzy. Yeah! He meant it and you could tell.

The set remained deep in BLACK SABBATH’s archive with all but one track, “Dirty Woman” (Technical Ecstasy), coming from the band’s first four albums. That seemed to suit concertgoers young and old just fine. There were really no songs about which to complain, but certain ones definitely got the audience’s attention, like “Snowblind”, “War Pigs”, “Hand Of Doom”, “Iron Man”, and “Children Of The Grave”.

In addition to those mentioned, the crowd was off its feet when BLACK SABBATH led into “Behind The Wall Of Sleep” (with 'Wasp' intro) followed up by “N.I.B.” (with 'Bassically' intro). SABBATH was completely dialed in on these two songs from the band’s eponymous debut record. SABBATH then jumped right into “Rat Salad” (with drum solo). Other than wanting to know about the condition of Ozzy’s vocals, the question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind was, “What about Bill Ward?” Well, I can’t speak regarding Bill Ward. What I can tell you is that Tommy Clufetos played the show as though he’s been a member of BLACK SABBATH from day one. His playing was spot on, and he’s a hard hitter with commanding stage presence. He also delivered a killer drum solo that was powerful, fast and clean. He sounds great and is a good fit for SABBATH.

BLACK SABBATH closed their set with “Children Of The Grave”. Once back-stage Ozzy egged on the crowd to a huge ovation after which the band returned for its encore. A BLACK SABBATH show without “Paranoid” would somehow seem incomplete. Thus, the “Paranoid” encore. As at the start of the show, it felt like a surreal experience. It’s 2016 and I’m on my feet at Madison Square Garden watching BLACK SABBATH perform “Paranoid” live. There wasn’t a bad song in the show. Scratch that! Every song performed at the show was outstanding!

This is it, BLACK SABBATH! These guys invented it and here they are doing it one last time. It really is THE END of the beginning. They’re out of the States for a bit, but they’ll be back in August and September. Check the dates. Make travel arrangements. Do not miss this tour!

Setlist:

  • "Black Sabbath"
  • "Fairies Wear Boots"
  • "After Forever"
  • "Into The Void"
  • "Snowblind"
  • "War Pigs"
  • "Behind The Wall Of Sleep" (with 'Wasp' intro)
  • "N.I.B." (with 'Bassically' intro)
  • "Hand Of Doom"
  • "Rat Salad" (with drum solo)
  • "Iron Man"
  • "Dirty Women"
  • "Children Of The Grave"
Encore:
  • "Paranoid"
Special thanks to Ronald Haggerty, Jr. for making all concert and travel arrangement for the Sabbath Squad!


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