British honour to Tony Iommi

The fansite for Tony Iommi fans celebrating his brilliant 50 years of dedication and service to music

From Raising Hell to Holy Music: Tony Iommi talks to NBC News

 

For half a century, Tony Iommi's ominous guitar riffs propelled the dark, apocalyptic sound of Black Sabbath. Now the high priest of heavy metal has taken his music in an unexpected direction — to church.

Instead of the Satanic imagery that figured in so many Sabbath songs, Iommi has drawn inspiration from The Bible — specifically Psalm 133 — to produce a haunting choral composition called "How Good It is" that he wrote specifically for the cathedral in his hometown of Birmingham, England. But when asked if he had gotten religion after all his hell-raising years, the 69-year-old lapsed Catholic who often used religious icons onstage chuckled:

"It really wasn't anything to do with religion," Iommi told NBC News. "I don't follow any religious path… religiously. It just seemed like a nice thing to do. It was really nice to work with a choir and to do something for our city."
And while working with a boys choir may seem like a radical departure for a musician whose best known songs like "Paranoid," "Sweat Leaf," "War Pigs" and "Sabbath, Bloody, Sabbath" featured the spooky vocals of Ozzy Osbourne, Iommi said writing religious music for the Birmingham Cathedral "was not really off the wall for me."

In less well-known Sabbath songs like "Supertzar," Iommi said he used orchestration and a choir to "take the music to a new level. I enjoy the challenge of doing something most people wouldn't expect from me," he said.

Iommi, Osbourne, and their bandmates Geezer Butler and Bill Ward, all grew up in and around Birmingham, a still gritty industrial city that is now one of the most diverse in Europe and home to large populations of Jamaican, Pakistani and Polish immigrants. Himself the son of Italian immigrants, Iommi grew up in a family where the favored instrument was the accordion, not the guitar. And his career was nearly derailed just as it was starting when he accidentally chopped off the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand while operating a machine at his day job in a factory.Iommi, who is left-handed, compensated by fashioning homemade thimbles out of plastic bottle caps for his injured fingers and tuning his guitar down to make the strings easier to bend. In doing so, Iommi came up with Sabbath's signature heavy sound and ushered in a whole new type of rock music.

"It's brilliant," Iommi answered when asked how he feels about being called the inventor of heavy metal. "I'm very proud that I've been able to do something that's become very popular."

But heavy metal wasn't what the Very Reverent Catherine Ogle had in mind when she approached Iommi about making some beautiful music as Black Sabbath was embarking on its final tour, which ended in February with a concert in the city where they launched their career. "You two should get together and have a chat," Iommi recalled his pal Mike Olley telling him, when he broached the idea of a sit down with Ogle. "Be a nice idea to do something together for Birmingham and the cathedral." Exhausted from touring and from an arduous but ultimately successful battle with lymphoma, Iommi said he was ready to for a change of pace.

"Don't get me wrong, I love playing with Black Sabbath and I'm still involved in the Sabbath thing," he said. "But this was a chance to do something different."

And as he and Ogle were speaking about the proposed choral piece, "I sort of could hear the thing in my head. I knew was that I would not write anything with really heavy riffs," he said. "The idea was to record it in the cathedral." So Iommi, who still lives in Birmingham, returned to his home studio and recorded the music coursing through his head. "I put an idea down, sent to the reverend, she really liked it and that was it," he said. It would be another nine months before Iommi, who plays acoustic guitar on the track, was able to record the piece with the choir and cellist George Shilling. It was played in public for the first time at the cathedral in January. "This is a most wonderful gift Tony offered to the Cathedral," Ogle told The Birmingham Mail newspaper. "He has a huge fan base in the city."

Iommi said his touring days may be over, but he still wants to keep making music:

"I'm certainly not retiring from playing and doing stuff," he said. "But I think since my illness I've had to look at things differently, think sensibly. I feel fine, but I still go for checkups and tests and at the moment I'm okay." He's written a piece for the long-running "CSI" television series and he's in the process of mixing the sound from the final Sabbath shows in Birmingham for a possible live album. "We'll actually be doing a documentary," he said. "My job at the moment is to have a listen to what we've done."

Iommi says he also he says he has "bags" of riffs he came up with for Black Sabbath that might one day wind up on a solo album. (Sabbath aficionados, Iommi's favorite guitar riffs are "Into the Void" followed by "Iron Man." ) Asked what he has been listening to of late, Iommi said it hasn't been Black Sabbath. "You can't listen to the stuff you play all the time," he said. Iommi said of late he's been tuning into the vintage rock and roll from the 1950's and 1960's that first influenced him as a musician and confirmed a British newspaper's report (which apparently shocked some self-respecting Sabbath fans) that he is fond both of Doris Day, who had her heyday in the 1950s, and the soft-rocking 70s duo, The Carpenters. "That got blown out of proportion," Iommi said with a laugh. "I love heavy rock, but I don't sit and listen to heavy rock because I do that." Iommi said it's not the first time his musical detours have surprised Sabbath fans:

"I'll never forget I was driving through Hollywood and I had some Frank Sinatra on, because I like Frank Sinatra," he said. "I was at the light and another car pulled up and the people inside looked over and recognized me and then realized what I was playing. The look on their faces…." 

Earlier these days, a substantial interview with Tony's bandmate Terry Geezer Butler was published on Musicradar.com, and the point of major interest was Terry's answer to the question: Have you ever considered returning to Sabbath’s roots for a blues project? 

Terry revealed: “The follow-up to 13 was going to be a blues album, but the tour got in the way. It would take something like two or three years to do it properly, and we thought we might not all be here by that time, so it would be better to do this final tour first and then maybe we’ll do a blues record later.”

If you did it jam style it wouldn’t take that long to do blues?

“Probably not. You’d have to make it varied instead of doing 10 tracks of the same old 12-bar blues though. But even back in the Heaven And Hell tour days, Tony would go up into his lead and we would just jam around blues riffs for eight or nine minutes. And every night was different. So that is a thought.”


By Corky Siemaszkon for bcnews.com; Musicradar.com; Photo by Paz Patel;

9 April 2017

The “Great Lefty” tribute to Tony Iommi finally on vinyl LP!

 

The team of Tony Iommi fans TonyIommiFantastic.com, Tanzan Music and Global Black Sabbath Convention releases the successful compilation “Great Lefty: Live Forever! Tribute to Tony Iommi Godfather of Metal” on 180 gram heavyweight double vinyl LP on 21 April! 

The music tracks were remastered specifically for this limited edition of 500 units only - a very special surprise for true Iommi maniacs!

The compilation was released on CD on May 2015, and was liked by Tony Iommi himself, who praised it, publishing a video on his social networks: watch Tony's video HERE!

The compilation is an act of solidarity towards Tony from Pals & Fans. The tribute includes participations from well-known artists, the best Black Sabbath tribute bands from all around the world, and the bands and solo artists "children of Iommi" as having Iommi's music as their major influence. All the songs were kindly donated for the cause. The profits from compilation sales will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support

Some of the artists participating are: Vinnie Appice (former Sabbath and Heaven and Hell drummer), Giuntini featuring another former Sabbath member Tony Martin, Barry Goudreau (guitarist for Boston), Hugh McDonald (David Bromberg, Alice Cooper, Bon Jovi, Lita Ford),  Dario Mollo (Tony Martin, Voodoo Hill) featuring Mark Boals (Savoy Brown, Malmsteen, Dio Disciples, Dokken),  Mario Parga (Mario Parga Band, Graham Bonnet, Forcefield, Cozy Powell's Hammer), doom legend Victor Griffin (Pentagram, Death Row) with his current band Place Of Skulls. Grammy awarded producers Damon Elliott and  Mike Exeter (Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Tony Iommi, Cradle of Filth etc.) are also involved to the realization of the project. 

The tribute is a gift to Tony Iommi – the most beloved man in rock -  from a community of his fans, a way to show him admiration, love and support.  

Tracklist:   Side A

1. Dario Mollo featuring Mark Boals - Never Say Die  (3:54);

2. Maniac Rise - Time Is Mine  (5:05);

3. Kyle Cousins - Heaven And Hell  (6:16);

4. Mario Parga - Scarlet Pimpernel  (5:13);  

5. Darking - Law Maker  (3:35);

Side B

1. Children Of The Gravy - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath  (5:40);

2. Ironlung featuring Wizard Of Ozz - Electric Funeral  (5:03);

3. Tanzan Music Academy - Neon Knights (4:45);  

4. Nick Didkovsky - Orchid  (1:38);

5. Into The Void - Loner  (4:40);                       

Side C  

1. Rekuiem - Paranoid  (3:17);

2. Place Of Skulls featuring Victor Griffin - You Won't Change Me (6:43);

3. Black Sabbath Dio Tribute Cz - I  (5:10);

4. Phil Jakes - Behind The Wall Of Sleep  (2:47);

5. Giuntini - Anno Mundi, featuring Tony Martin  (6:14); 

Side D

1. Tony Reed - Live Forever  (4:44);

2. Kill Van Kull - No Stranger To Love  (5:13);

3. Aplanadora featuring Santiago Cabakian - Hole In The Sky (4:20).  

4. Blood Sabbath - Snowblind  (5:33);

5. Phenomena - The Wizard  (4:10);

 


www.tonyiommifantastic.com

www.tanzanmusic.com

29 March 2017

Tony Iommi's last ever gig used strings raise funds for charity at an exclusive auction

 

Once again, Tony's guitar strings raise funds for charity!

Tony ‘s guitar technician Mike Clement and Global Black Sabbath Convention fan community’s leaders Ben Fahl and Steve Ghelfi, together organized an unique exclusive auction of Tony’s strings, taken of three of his guitars, used during the last ever Black Sabbath concert in Birmingham 4 February 2017. 

The auction took place on the pages of Facebook community Global Black Sabbath Convention in March 2017, and finished 19 March, selling three sets of strings, certification signed by Tony himself, lists of played songs by each set, and the collection of his guitar plectrums, raising in total 10.000$, split between MacMillan Cancer Support UK and Spire Parkway Hospital’s cancer unit, as decided by Iommi and Clement. 

 


20 March 2017

Happy 69th Birthday to Master Tony!

 

On this day, Sunday 19 February 2017, one of the greatest guitarists ever, the father-creator of metal, the master of riffage, the one and only Iron Man, Tony Iommi, turns 69!

It is a very special day for every Iommifan, we celebrate this date as our international HolyIommiDay! 

Black Sabbath celebrated it's "The End" last tour dates with majestic performances on Genting Arena in Birmingham. But for Tony it's not the end at all - it is the very beginning! We wish Tony a very successful and satisfying solo career and great new projects, strong IRON health, happiness and much love! 

                                      ❤ HAPPY JOYFUL BIRTHDAY, DEAR TONY! ❤


                                                        \omm/  \omm/


Tony Iommi said that he wouldn't rule out Black Sabbath recording new material

 

Tony Iommi has once again said that he wouldn't rule out Black Sabbath recording new material or playing a one-off event. The band finished its year-long "The End" farewell tour on Saturday night (February 4) in the band's hometown of Birmingham, England, closing out the quartet's groundbreaking 49-year career with an emotional 15-song set. The band decided to make this tour its last because Iommi, who was diagnosed with cancer in late 2011 and is currently in remission, can no longer travel for extended amounts of time. Speaking to the U.K. radio station Planet Rock, Iommi said: 

"I'm going to miss playing on stage because that has been my whole life, the band and playing on stage. I like [playing on stage] and I'm sure it's not going to end like that; I'm sure we might do a one-off show somewhere. It's just the touring for me — it's time to stop roaming the world and be at home for a bit... I'm still going to write and put stuff out."

Asked if Sabbath's recording days are truly over, Tony said: 

"No, I don't think we've ruled anything out apart from me not wanting to tour any more on that scale, but who knows, we may do something. We haven't spoken about it. That's another thing — we haven't talked about anything, really, that's to do with what's going to happen afterwards. But I'm sure something can happen somewhere."

Tony added that he is looking forward to the new chapters ahead in his life:

"It's nice just to take some time off and really think about it, I've been offered quite a lot of stuff at the moment. It's quite exciting. There are lots of different things coming in, things I would never have thought, to be honest. It's all there and needs some thought. I don't want to rush into anything. Thing is, when you're touring, you've got to go out for six, eight, twelve months or whatever and you've got a schedule that you have to do. Now… if I want to do some TV for a month, I can do that."

Tony Iommi and Terry Butler haven't announced any specific post-Sabbath plans yet, but Osbourne is reportedly at work on a new album, and already has a pair of solo shows scheduled for this summer.

 


Blabbermouth.net, 8 February 2017

Black Sabbath reach The End with triumphant final gigs in Brum!

 

Birmingham supergroup Black Sabbath played their last ever tour gigs. Heavy metal legends burn the house down on an unforgettable nights.
With the Genting Arena stage, quite literally, in flames, the inventors of heavy metal called it a day in the city where it all began. Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and babe in arms Tommy Clufetos – he’s only 37 – have finally reached ‘The End’.

The founder members all qualify for bus passes these days, but there’s a fire that still burns within. And when they hit that machine-tooled groove in the likes of Into The Void and Children Of The Grave, the years fall away.

On Thursday night, the first of the two homecoming shows, Sabbath settled for the set list they have taken around the world. No surprises, just polished performances of back catalogue classics bookended by Black Sabbath and Paranoid. The capacity crowd, some of them made-up to look like guitar hero Iommi, lapped up every lick, rocked every riff. And the special effects store must have empty shelves today, because Sabbath packed every SFX staple into the two hours.

Flame throwers? Check. Fireworks? Check. Confetti cannons? Check. Smoke machines. Check. The mother of all high-definition screens, spanning the entire stage, served up imaginative visuals. And did I mention the hundreds of black and purple balloons that fell from the rafters?
Highlights inevitably included Children Of The Grave, War Pigs and Butler bass-driven N.I.B. And Dirty Women boasted a searing Iommi solo worth the price of admission alone. Clufetos flailed about his kit like a refugee from Spinal Tap, but stepped up for an inventive solo. Meanwhile, out of sight, Adam Wakeman – son of Rick – provided keyboards from side stage. And Ozzy, dear Ozzy, sounded better than he has for many a year. He doesn’t hit all the notes, but then he never did.

“We have one more gig here,” he said, punching his heart: the one mention of tonight’s final showdown. But someone please help him with the bionic ear hearing aid he paid megabucks for in LA. “I can’t hear you!” got a tad repetitious after the first dozen exhortations. Thanks for the memories, guys. 

They gave the world heavy metal and, in The End, the world came to Birmingham to thank them for it. As Black Sabbath played out the final concert of their last tour, fans travelled from far and wide to enjoy a unique, unforgettable night. The die hards arrived from Uruguay, Poland, France, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, and cities like LA, NY and Vegas to name but a few. 

The atmosphere before the show was electric, with a buzz all the way around the Genting Arena as Sabbath prepared for the final curtain of a career which began in The Crown pub on Station Street almost 50 years ago in 1968. Throughout the night, on stage and on the brilliant screen behind, the whole production appeared to engulf the band – and the stadium – in flames. One by one, the band ripped through their classic anthems – detailed in our review from Thursday night’s first NEC show.

From Black Sabbath to War Pigs, Iron Man, Children of The Grave and the solitary encore, Paranoid, the riffs that has spawned countless various of heavy metal around the globe played out one last time. In the middle of it all, a breathtaking drum solo from Tommy Clufetos, the only non-original member of the band which began with Bill Ward on drums. The mixture of visual effects and pyrotechnics was genius, and befitting the final countdown. Ozzy limited his swearing and thanked the fans several times for coming. There was no grandiose speech, just a desire to have fun and ask if the fans were enjoying it, too.

The band then stood at the front of the stage, faced away from the fans and had their pictures taken one more time. Then they faced the fans one more time before exiting stage left, waving as they said goodbye. It was an extraordinary night, when the boys from Aston made it look like they’d an NEC stage into a foundry. Ozzy disappeared quickly, but Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi both enjoyed a relaxed hour at the backstage party – looking as remarkably fresh as spring daisies. Guests included friends like Jasper Carrott, Nick Owen, Gary Newbon and drummers Carl Palmer (ELP) and ex-Sabbath member Bev Bevan as well as many family members and friends.

Bye Bye Black Sabbath! \m/  \m/ 

It is The End, but not the end, so we still have hope...  As someone said... "with this band there are only two constant things: Iommi and change".

Never Say Die! 


Graham Young for Birmingham Mail, 5 February 2017

 

Tony Iommi - Birmingham's Glorious Star - shares his thoughts on last ever Sabbath gig tonight!

 

Tony Iommi, emotional, is sitting in his dressing room at Genting Arena in Birmingham, right now before the last ever Sabbath show, on 4 February 2017... It's a very special, very sensitive moment... The End of Black Sabbath... The last ever show... That's what Tony posted:

"Well, the end of our final tour is here. 4 continents, 26 countries and 81 tour dates later we are back home in Birmingham for our final show. What a fantastic ride it has been! We can't thank you all enough - your support really means the world to us."

Earlier he revealed to Mojo that he intends to make amends with estranged Sabbath drummer, Bill Ward:

“Bill seemed to feel he was getting a bad deal. We never dealt with that, we left all that to management. We just wanted to play together and enjoy it. We were playing with Bill for a bit and then he never turned up… It would have been nicer to have Bill with us but unfortunately it never happened... At some point I wanna call him. I still love him, he's still my brother, but you have arguments. To be honest with you, I don't know what the fuck happened because I don't do the business side of it. I'm sorry Bill couldn't work something out, I really am, but I'm really glad we did this tour.”

A day before the last Birmingham gig, in the Birmingham pub Ye Olde Foundry was hold the Third Global Black Sabbath Convention organized by storical American fan Ben Fahl, author of other two very successful conventions in New York few years ago, and produced by Stephen Knowles. A huge number of Black Sabbath fans filled the place, Brits most of all, but also die hards came from all different corners of the world. The Convention was a fantastic tribute by the fans of Black Sabbath to celebrate the band, and to pay tribute to the The End Tour. 

But not only happy faces of fans brightened the Convention! There were honorable guests, Sabbath veterans, former and present members of the crew: Clive Davis (lightning designer and show director in the 70s), Jim Simpson (Sabbath's first ever manager from the late 60's), Graham Wright (Ozzy Osbourne's best friend and former Bill Ward's roadie), David Tangye (former crew member), Big Dave (Ozzy's current personal assistant), Terry Welty (Geezer Butler's bass technician), Mike Clement (Tony Iommi's guitar technician), Mike Exeter (legendary producer and sound engineer) and others! 

All the fan activity and incredible brotherhood and solidarity witness not only great love that ties the hearts of Sabbatheurs, but the fact that Sabbath fans are Family. True Family of Brothers and Sisters, ready to help each other, support friends in need, and all together worship the Sabbath Banner! 

In Sabbath we trust!

\m/ \m/ 


4 February 2017

Black Sabbath's British Triumph

 

The European leg of the The End tour has so far been in Cologne, Dublin, Manchester, Glasgow, Leeds and, most recently, London. The boys are coming to Birmingham for the last two dates on their farewell tour. Here's what the reviewers have been saying about the recent dates:

The Guardian - review of show at Manchester Arena - 5 stars

"There are no grand goodbyes or misty-eyed nostalgia, just three legendary metal musicians, with Tommy Clufetos replacing the original drummer, Bill Ward, playing a blitzkrieg of hard rock for 100 minutes. After a year on the road, Osbourne's occasionally erratic voice is remarkably pure and strong. The frontman may need a teleprompter for his lyrics these days and is mostly rigid at the microphone, but he is in imperious form. At one point, he begins hooting like an owl, prompting the audience to follow suit. The rarely played Hand of Doom – about heroin-addicted soldiers in Vietnam – is a thrilling highlight: when the camera zooms in on Osborne’s aged features, he looks positively demonic. A strange, uncanny atmosphere descends as The End reaches the end, but Children of the Grave becomes a giant wake and signature anthem Paranoid triggers joyous headbanging in the aisles. It’s been a bumpy ride for 49 years, but when the final curtain falls in their hometown of Birmingham next month, Sabbath can walk away with their ears ringing and their legacy intact."

The Telegraph - review of show at O2 Arena - 4 stars

"This tour is proving a surprisingly unsentimental end to Black Sabbath, here on their last visit to the big smoke. There were no big speeches, no teary waves from the stage, just two hours of loud, heavy, interlocked guitar and bass riffs, thunderous drum rolls and tuneless roaring. Sabbath stumbled on the prototype for heavy metal back at the end of the Sixties, honed it to perfection in the Seventies, and are riding it all the way to the finish line with the imperious skills of veteran road warriors. This set was all business, Sabbath’s big-hitter tracks delivered with fierce, focused intent. In his prime, Osbourne was an uncontrollable clown who brought manic and unpredictable thrills to Sabbath’s dark, masculine force, but old age and infirmity have restricted his scope for nonsense. Yet, crucially, his performance was far more controlled, his singing vastly improved since their Reunion tour in 2013. Sabbath have been on the road, saying their long goodbyes, for a year and a half now, and, if nothing else, it seems to have done Osbourne’s voice a world of good. He roared the songs like they mattered – the crowd did the rest."

Evening Standard - review of show at O2 Arena - 4 stars

"While last night’s show at the O2 was hardly an argument for these sexagenarians extending their careers further, it was a glorious way to say goodbye. Snowblind was dedicated to the band’s former keyboardist, Geoff Nicholls, who died of lung cancer at the weekend, but the prevailing mood was one of celebration rather than sadness. Even Ozzy’s singing voice — slightly slurred, rarely in tune — proved a surprisingly good complement to Iommi’s mighty guitar riffs. So farewell, Black Sabbath. You have rocked, you have shocked and, importantly, you have stopped — just at the right time."

The Guardian - review of show at SSE Hydro, Glasgow - 4 stars

"When Osbourne comes in, his always quavery voice is in robust form. Osbourne has his latterday shtick – rocking at the mic – but he can still convey deep existential dismay. It’s a talent somehow undimmed by years of shuffling around in tracksuit bottoms and failing to parent properly on reality TV. You come away thinking this tour is a hymn to the hands of its musical makers, rather than the antics of Osbourne. This farewell has an above-average air of finality about it. For this final hurrah, could we have done with fewer deep cuts and a few more hits? Yes. Could Clufetos have shortened his drum solos? Most definitely. Words from Ozzy other than “I can’t hear you!” might have been apposite too, given the momentousness of the occasion."

You can hear an instrumental version of Megalomania played at 31 January 2017 on 02 London:

Here are Children of the Grave and Paranoid, on Genting Arena Birmingham, 2 February 2017 (first night):


David Bentley for Birmingham Mail, 3 January 2017

 

Why the last Black Sabbath concert was unforgettable

 

When you’ve been gigging as a band for almost 50 years it’s hard to imagine how you could go out on a high note. Especially when you’ve had to tune your guitars down to accommodate the vocal ability of a 68-year-old frontman. But Black Sabbath put on the show of a lifetime at the Genting Arena, starting back at the very beginning in order to conclude the mother of all road trips in epic fashion.

Forget Woodstock. This was Metalstock... complete with real fires, steel girders and not just one Iron Man but three.

As their 81-date farewell reached the end of The End, they were, to coin a phrase, Sabsolutely Sabulous, darling. Remember Frank Sinatra’s prophetic words: ‘And now, The End is near, and so I face the final curtain’? Sabbath didn’t just face their own final curtain – the heavy metal pioneers stood behind in the darkness and then blew it away.

Just as they have always done, ever since first manager Jim Simpson gave them a gig at one of his Henry’s Blues House nights at The Crown pub on Station Street in 1968. Within two years they had completely revAMPed their style, changing the world of rock and roll for ever. Thanks to some of the best special effects most of us have ever seen, Sabbath’s logo was ablaze on the curtain before it fell to the stage and was then whisked up to the rafters like two ghostly-white plumes. The End was about to begin. The chimed intro to Black Sabbath, the title track to their debut eponymous album released on February 13, 1970, then filled the arena with a sound so foreboding it seemed to make the floor shake.

Thereafter, the crystal-clear giant screen behind the band was frequently set ablaze, too. And often at the point when guitarist Tony Iommi was playing another mind blowing solo. A metaphor, perhaps, for how Black Sabbath invented heavy metal in a land of foundries, crucibles, lathes, grinders, toolsetters and, of course, guitar machine heads. Meanwhile, real flames were pumped out of the stage at regular intervals, too. Some even burned right behind the amazing drummer Tommy Clufetos who must have felt he was in danger of being roasted alive for daring to replace the absent fourth original member, Bill Ward. 

Singer Ozzy Osbourne kept cool by splashing his face from a bucket of water in front of the drum riser, while bass player Geezer Butler to the left of the stage from the audience’s point of view, somehow kept his coat on to match Iommi. Butler introduced his new AVFC liveried Lakland bass guitar for the show’s climax, while Tony Iommi kept the faith with his trademark cross shining over the top of a black T-shirt sporting the words: ‘Birmingham est 1968’.

For almost two hours, Sabbath burned brightly like a comet in the night sky.

You knew the time would pass by in a flash. But what a flash!

The clever use of spotlights all the way around the arena gave the night an immense 3D feel. That was especially true during the intro for War Pigs and when giant black and purple balloons were released from the roof during the epic Children of the Grave and skulls appeared on the screen. After pausing for the shortest of breaks, Tony Iommi launched into the intro to the title track of their first No 1 album back in 1970, Paranoid. One shirtless fan crowd surfed backwards towards the middle of the arena, falling head first into the arms of security officials. Six minutes later Sabbath's legends were gone, but never to be forgotten.

Not after such a gloriously industrial, epic night in Birmingham, the city of a 1,000 riffs. Currently ranked 27th in the list of ‘Top 100 Arenas Worldwide’ by Pollstar, the Genting Arena first opened in 1980 as the NEC Arena. Boasting a flexible arena bowl, the venue’s capacity can change from 5,684 people attending ‘intimate academy events’ or hold a total capacity of 15,685. Guy Dunstan, general manager of the NEC Group Arenas, said:

"Black Sabbath's The End was a monumental evening that will go down in history. I am very thankful that the Genting Arena has had the opportunity to be a part of it. For Black Sabbath to perform their final show back in the city where it all began, is a very apt end to what has been an outstanding career for the band.”

Because the floor area was converted for standing, the sold-out capacity for each concert at The End was 14,500, meaning the last two shows on February 2 and 4 were watched by 29,000 people.

 


Graham Young for Birmingham Mail, 8 February 2017

Black Sabbath boys are moarning their Geoff...

 

The funeral of former Black Sabbath keyboardist Geoff Nicholls will be held at Yardley Cemetery And Crematorium in Birmingham, England on Monday, February 20 at 1:45 p.m. The wake afterwards will be held at Yardley Ex Service Mens' Club, which is situated close by to where the service is to be held.

Nicholls died on January 28 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 68 years old

Geoff, who played keyboards on all of Sabbath's albums between 1980 and 1995 and toured with them, was reportedly in remission from cancer at the time of his death but succumbed to the side effects of chemotherapy.

Nicholls's first appearance on a Sabbath album was on 1980's "Heaven And Hell". Although his main role with Sabbath was on the keyboard,

Nicholls also played some rhythm guitar at concerts. In addition to not always being credited as a full member of the band, Nicholls rarely appeared on stage during the shows and would instead play on the side of the stage or backstage.

Nicholls's involvement with the band ended when Adam Wakeman (a member of Ozzy Osbourne's solo band) was chosen to play keyboards during Sabbath's 2004 and 2005 tours as part of Ozzfest.

Nicholls also played keyboards with former Black Sabbath singer Tony Martin in his band Tony Martin's Headless Cross, and performed on both of Martin's solo albums.

Before joining Black Sabbath, Nicholls was member of the NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal) band QUARTZ, whose 1977 debut album was produced by Iommi. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Geoff played lead guitar for the Birmingham band Johnny Neil And The Starliners.

The boys dedicated Snowblind to their fallen brother:


Blabbermouth.net, 2 February 2017

 

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