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Black Sabbath at London's 02 Arena. A hurricane of euphoria

Metal Hammer dedicates a long article about Black Sabbath gig in 02 Arena in London yesterday night, 10 December 2013:

There is a lot to be said for unpredictability in heavy music, not least on the arena circuit where too many successful bands seem content to merely deliver the expected to predominantly mainstream audiences. But somehow, that need for surprise and shock goes out the window when it comes to a band as seminal and imperious as Black Sabbath. In fact, is it even possible to watch this legendary band in action and not enjoy it? As long as Tony Iommi turns up and plays those riffs, you would have to be either deeply cynical or a fairly major bell-end not to be swept away in a hurricane of euphoria.

Even in the somewhat impersonal confines of the O2 Arena, the power and pertinence of those immortal songs can hardly fail to raise the spirits, and given how effective this latest Sabbath comeback has been – okay, so 13 ain’t no Master Of Reality, but it still rules – there is enough excitement in the air tonight to ensure that everyone from ageing diehards to astute newbies are about to experience something monumental and momentous.

But tonight is all about the band that started it all. Age may be threatening to derail the Sabbath freight train, but from the sirens and proto-doom riff avalanche of War Pigs onwards, this show provides ample evidence that 40 wild years have had a negligible effect on the magical chemistry between Ozzy, Geezer and Tony. It wouldn’t be a Sabbath show without an Ozzy-centric glitch, of course, and the Double O does take a couple of songs to find the right key to sing in – in his defence, very clearly as a result of in-ear monitor problems – but once he clicks into gear this turns into a grandiloquent but gritty lap of honour. We get thunderous versions of Into The Void, Black Sabbath, Snowblind, N.I.B., Iron Man, Children Of The Grave and Dirty Women, plus three songs from 13 – End Of The Beginning, God Is Dead? and Age Of Reason – all of which more than earn their right to be heard alongside such venerated classics.

Most importantly, though, Tony Iommi is on amazing form; his partnership with Geezer Butler sparking and fizzing with energy and every one of those pulverising riffs erupting from the giant PA stacks with majestic force. Ozzy sings his heart out and gleefully plays the fool, drummer Tommy Clufetos pulls off the neat trick of performing a drum solo that doesn’t bore everyone to tears and even an all-too-brief encore of Paranoid zings with joyous freshness and verve. We may not have many more opportunities to watch Black Sabbath in the flesh, but tonight was a celebratory and heartening display of self-belief and eternal class that suggests that there is plenty of fuel left in the veterans’ tank for now.

Black Sabbath London O2 Arena Setlist:

War Pigs
Into the Void
Under the Sun/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
(Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)

Read the whole article on Metal Hammer.


Merlin for Metal Hammer, 11 December 2013



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