I am not on a hiatus, but there just happened to be a lull in gig-going of late. The last gig I went to in 2013 was left unreviewed and I thought to just wing it with a brief blog post. Yeah, going to see the latest Black Sabbath ‘reunion'[1] was a last minute thing thanks to the availability of tix to better seats at the arena. I saw Black Sabbath again live. On a Saturday! Geddit, geddit.

13 was a great Sabbath record, if only there wasn’t the acrimonious departure of Bill Ward, for whatever reason. The songs nevertheless were reminiscent of their classic tracks – like End of the Beginning was essentially for me the 21st century version of Black Sabbath (the song), just to name one. Brad Wilk (RATM/Audioslave) did a great job on the drums, but it was a pity he wasn’t touring with Sabbath for the tour[2]. More importantly was Tony Iommi’s recent battle with lymphoma. He soldiered on with the making of the new record, and with him being in remission following medical treatment, he was fit enough to tour with the band.

I gave the openers[3] a miss and got to my seat, which was actually very good, and waited prolly for 10 minutes before Sabbath got onstage with a right classic opener for a show – War Pigs. Ozzy started off fine, until midway in the song, he sounded a little bit off. I didn’t mind it at first, but it kinda got worse when he was doing Into the Void. Ozzy was kinda off key a lot that night!

However, Ozzy was spot on with their new material. Perhaps these tunes were much fresher in his mind? Off key or not, Snowblind went down well with the punters, and was started by Ozzy describing an activity that he doesn’t do these days. *koff*

I had been to their 1998 reunion when they played with Bill and having that experienced kinda marred my expectations at this gig, obviously made worse by Ozzy sounding a tad out of tune. Tony and Geezer however were a-blazing, despite feet firmly planted onstage nodding and smiling in response to a much appreciative crowd. Ozzy just went on clapping, asking the people to make some noise and telling Sheffield we’re number one ad nauseam. Thanks, dude. Tommy Clufetos was a solid drummer and all credits to him. He played hard yet fast, and one couldn’t be faulted for thinking that he does look like a much younger Bill Ward.

The videos playing onscreen at the back of the stage was kinda fun at times, especially the one of women doing burlesque for Dirty Women. Hehe. For the encore, they did the Sabbath Bloody Sabbath intro and ended the evening with the much awaited Paranoid.

I love Sabbath, don’t get me wrong, but it would’ve been better if Ozzy was up to scratch and they had Bill playing backbeat. That ended 2013 for me, gig-wise.

Motorpoint Arena, Sheffied set 14.12.13: War Pigs / Into the Void / Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes / Snowblind / Age of Reason / Black Sabbath / Behind the Wall of Sleep / N.I.B. / End of the Beginning / Fairies Wear Boots / Rat Salad + Tommy Clufetos drum solo / Iron Man / God Is Dead? / Dirty Women / Children of the Grave // [Encore] Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (intro) / Paranoid

[1]If you could call it a reunion. It ain’t one without Bill.
[2]Tommy Clufetos, who currently drums for Ozzy, was roped in for the tour.
[3]Uncle Acid and The Deadbeats. Uhuh.