Black Sabbath, Shihad
27 March 2013
“It’s fun being crazy,” says Ozzy Osbourne, before unleashing his infamous laugh. 40 years since Black Sabbath was last in Australia, the Allphones Arena became a restless sea of black t-shirts reigned by the godfathers of heavy metal.
Wedged between AC/DC anthems on the loud speakers and the mammoth Black Sabbath set design, Shihad were set up to fail. The New Zealand rock royalty four-piece powered through their hits, playing the same concert I saw when I was 15. Despite an unreceptive audience, frontman Jon Toogood managed to power a solid five-person mosh pit in the 21,000 capacity arena as he ran around the stage.
An unmistakable shadow with outstretched arms against the main curtain, amongst a tidal wave of air raid sirens. As the curtains lifted, Ozzy Osbourne stood center stage beside original members Tony Iommi on guitar and Geezer Butler on bass. Replacing Bill Ward, Tommy Clufetos sat behind a huge drum kit on a raised platform as the centerpiece of a row of stacked amps.
‘War Pigs’ makes a great opening song. Leaving every second line to be chanted by an overexcited audience, Osbourne jumped up and down in his long black cape screaming “Let me see your fucking hands!”. At 64 years-old, the Prince of Darkness ran solely on the energy of his followers. Running low in ‘Electric Funeral’, he exhausted his back up generators to leap frog during ‘Children of the Grave’.
Taking the audience back “to before some of you were even fucking born”, its hard to believe that the first track of their first album ‘Black Sabbath’ is 43 years young. Performing the first track of upcoming album 13, ‘End of the beginning’ became mixed with reflecting on the Birmingham band’s legacy, and realizing you were watching a 64-year-old man rock out.
As Osbourne tottered offstage, a short instrumental led into a kind of drum solo that you only see in movies. When was the last time you saw a drummer lift his arm to the skies to hit every snare shot? Probably Spinal Tap. Accompanied by an overexcited strobe light, I couldn’t help but think Tommy Clufetos might spontaneously combust.
Apart from Osbourne ducking his head in a bucket between songs and sporadically yelling ‘yoohoo!’ into the microphone, highlights of the evening featured strong performances of ‘N.I.B’, ‘God is Dead?’ and a highly anticipated encore of ‘Paranoid’.
Kneeling down to his audience, Osbourne bowed Wayne’s World style (WE ARE NOT WORTHY!). In between the reality shows and giving up the drugs again, it was a damn good show.
Originally published on thebrag.com