Monday, December 12, 2016

Concert Review: Black Sabbath - August 4, 2013

August 4th, 2013 was the first and only time that I was able to see the legends of metal perform live. This concert was one of the rare times where I did an excessive amount of drinking (see Motley Crueat MSG). Normally, I am not a big drinker at concerts for several reasons, but on that particular afternoon, alcohol was in order and I consumed a lot of it. I was hanging in the parking lot with a friend from work and we decided to have some scotch before the show. And by some, I mean half a bottle each. Beers followed and by the time we went into the show, I was pretty lit.

I was extremely excited to witness Black Sabbath for the first time ever, but disappointed that it was only three out of four original members. It was well documented for that tour that Bill Ward would not be performing with the other members of Black Sabbath. There are several different stories as to why this happened and somewhere in the middle of all the stories is the truth. On that tour, Ozzy’s solo band drummer was behind the kit, and while he did an exceptional job, I still would have preferred to see Bill Ward.

We had lawn “seats” for this concert and due to getting in late, we were relegated to standing at the top of the lawn for the entire show. The acoustics at the top of the lawn are not the best and after quite a few drinks, the acoustics at the top of the lawn are even worse. I made the most of it, reminding myself that I was seeing a legendary band perform live.

After opening act Andrew W.K. (who I really didn’t watch), Black Sabbath took the stage to the opening notes of “War Pigs.” The crowd roared, I smiled and clapped my hands, and the night was off. “Generals gathered in their masses…!” Ozzy screamed out and the fans sang/screamed back. This was going to be a memorable night of heavy metal at its finest.

Sabbath created a stellar setlist that combined a creative mix of classic songs and new treats. They were touring behind their newly released album, 13, which I had grown quite fond of that year. The new record was classic Sabbath and felt like they could have been recorded during the band’s prime. There was even a bonus disc containing 4 additional songs for fans that wanted the deluxe edition (I did and I got it). 13 was a terrific album and the songs translated well in concert.

True classics were also given to us. “Snowblind,” “N.I.B.,” “Iron Man,” and “Children of the Grave” were all pulled out for that hot summer night. I was delighted to hear them all and amazed at how well this band performed live. Ozzy was old and survived a lot of self imposed damage to his body with drug and alcohol abuse. Tony Iommi was battling cancer and having treatments. And yet the band pressed on, performing incredibly well given the circumstances.

Each song sounded as grand as I remembered growing up. Hearing them live for the first time was the ultimate treat for me and I was so glad that I had made the decision to see Black Sabbath in concert. Although they did only perform a one song encore, it was their best known song by far, “Paranoid.” Naturally the entire audience screamed to the heavy metal gods when that was played, me included.

All in all it was a great night of heavy metal performed by the original masters. I can go to my grave content with the knowledge that I had seen Black Sabbath in concert. It is one of the true joys of my concert attending experiences.
War Pigs
Into The Void
Under The Sword/Every Day Comes and Goes
Age of Reason
Black Sabbath
Behind The Wall of Sleep
End of the Beginning
Fairies Wear Boots
Rat Salad
Iron Man
God is Dead?
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave

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