© Jimmy Little Junior
Photos by Jimmy Little Junior
Live Gig Review by Mark Dean (Journalist/Writer/Contributor) Myglobalmind Webzine
Expectations were mounting since the first announcement of this show. Tickets sold out rapidly, as modern hype around the enigma of legendary band Black Sabbath escalated. Their”new”album attained chart topping status on both sides of the Atlantic, and it also topped the “Best of the Year”album charts in Classic Rock magazine. Despite the bands origins stretching back to the seventies they had also never played live before in Belfast. I gave the latest album several months to familiarize myself with the new tunes as I had read that 2 tracks from it would be making up part of the bands live set. Initially looking promising with feedback from the official Black Sabbath organisation regarding our websites media inquiry, also helped to build up anticipation. However in a shroud of mystery befitting the band, all media requests were withdrawn and removed from the Uk dates at the eleventh hour with no explanation.
Finally gig day dawned and an early afternoon appointment with tour support Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats. This helped to give me an insight not only into them but also the Sabbath organisation itself. Quite entertaining ; keep your eyes open for that-as it will be appearing soon on this site (Read below for Uncle Acid audio interview). After meeting up with friends and being fortunate enough to catch Black Sabbath on arrival at the venue we retired to seek some liquid nourishment prior to showtime.
Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats share many of the doom sound and blues origins of the headliners so I was disappointed that they received a largely apathetic audience response. Their stage presence didn’t involve much audience interaction, but that’s acceptable in that they focused on creating a huge wall of sound. I was familiar with their recorded output so was able to discern and identify tracks from their back catalogue. Perhaps they came over as slightly lost on the vastness of the vast arena stage. I think they would have transferred better to a smaller club show, which they have been doing throughout the tour in between their support slots. Audience members though didn’t seem to give the band much of a chance as I heard shouts for the headliners permeate their set-incredibly disrespectful, give support bands a chance. They all have to start somewhere..
Mt Abraxas / Mind Crawler / I’ll Cut You Down / Death’s Door / Poison Apple / Valley Of The Dolls / Over And Over Again / Desert Ceremony
Well slightly ahead of schedule, the sound of wailing sirens filled the arena, as searchlights swept over us all-off and running with the classic “War Pigs”. First thing that struck me was the clarity of sound. I have attended many concerts in the venue but without doubt this was the crispest and clearest sound that I had ever heard here.
With Ozzy’s reported media return to his former substance demons and guitarist Tony Iommi battling cancer additional questions had been raised in the show buildup.Vocally Ozzy stayed within his limitations but still sounded considerably better than the last few times that I had seen him. Tony Iommi within the opening bars more than fulfilled his”legendary “guitar hero status. I looked around and witnessed several guys who play guitar in local bands jaws hit the floor as he peeled off classic solos effortlessly. Drummer Tommy Clufetos more than proved a solid and effective replacement for original drummer Bill Ward who wasn’t part of this reunion. Bringing a youthful vigor and enthusiasm into the classic band, he was also afforded an extended solo of his own. Now drum solos usually see me running for the beer stands, but it was no mean feat that he maintained my focus and interest throughout.
The set was top heavy with heavy metal classics which were received eagerly by a wide range of ages in a capacity arena. I have recently attended several shows in the same venue which were less than half full. Sabbath by choosing to avoid a Dublin date came up trumps with many patrons choosing to travel up north. Highlights were many for me personally, and it would be impossible to single out any in particular. Just view the set list, and pick any track. Two new tracks slotted in sounded comfortable when performed live. For many it was all about the classics. Despite Ozzy promising to not leave it so long before returning to the city, I feel that this tour will be Sabbath’s swansong . God may be dead, but the legendary Black Sabbath are very much alive and kicking!!
Into the Void
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Age of Reason
Behind the Wall of Sleep
(Preceded by “Bassically” … more)
End of the Beginning
Fairies Wear Boots
(with Drum Solo)
Children of the Grave
(Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)