By Clare McCabe
Artist: Black Sabbath
Date / Venue: Thursday April 28th, 2016 - Vector Arena, Auckland
These guys. Ozzy. Tony. Geezer. We’ve waited a long time to see them again and this is the final tour. The End. But what a way to go out. Vector looks pretty full tonight. And of course everyone is in black and ready to have their minds blown.
Rival Sons were up first. All tambourines, beards and Jay barefoot and ready to sing. There is a great Morrison/Zeppelin vibe going on here with bluesy overtones. They play a tight set and during Where I’ve Beenthere are even lighters raised in the audience. I think they liked them. I certainly did.
But wait. Right on time. Out come Ozzy and the boys and we’re straight into Black Sabbath: "What is this that stands before me?" roars Ozzy and a great cheer goes up from the crowd. Jesus Christ. The voice is still powerful and brings a tear to the eye. And then there’s Tony. He may not move about the stage much in his leather coat/large cross combo but his fingers sure do. And we get to see those fingers up close on the big screen many times during the night which just reminds us how stunning his guitar playing is. Those riffs. Sigh.
We get great psychedelic videos swirling around above the band. Even some great 1970s concert footage. Ozzy moves in and out of focus on the screen. Tommy smashes that drumkit as hard as he can. And Geezer keeps time to left of stage on bass.
Ozzy headbangs through Into the Void letting Tony do his thing. A quick introduction of everyone and then we get Snowblind, followed by WAR PIGS. Oh Lord Yeah. The audience are loving every second and Ozzy does love his audience participation with many shouts of "Louder" and "Clap Your Hands". "Thank you for our careers" says Ozzy after one tune. No thank you Ozzy, thank you for the music.
Geezer sneaks in a quick solo and they smash into N.I.B. and Tony goes crazy on that guitar. No words. Then they’re off for a cup of tea and Tommy swings into one gigantic drum solo. And the crowd are loving it.
But wait. There’s more. It’s only Iron Man. And the crowd sing along to every word. The small child in front of me holds up his horns and bangs his head. And we remember how great these songs are live.
Must say, Ozzy is looking super happy to be on stage as he belts out all our faves, feeding off the energy of the crowd. Dirty Women and Children of the Grave follow in quick succession and then they’re moving off stage to the shouts of One More….
But of course they couldn’t leave without everybody’s fave Paranoid now could they? Sing it Ozzy – "Make a joke and I will sigh and you will laugh and I will cry"… Oh Tony. You are such a guitar genius. We will miss you.
"We love you all!" screams Ozzy as the boys take a bow. And to be honest I don’t think he wants to leave the stage as The End comes up on the screen and all we’re left with is the ringing in our ears.
So damn glad I got to experience these guys live one last time. As I am sure every member of the crowd last night will be saying today. What legends. What a night. Enjoy the rest of your tour boys. It’s been emotional.