British honour to Tony Iommi

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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

 

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