Words by Ed King
On the 2nd and 4th of February, Black Sabbath will be performing at the Genting Arena – playing the last two dates of The End Tour in Birmingham. Black Sabbath’s support band throughout The End Tour are Rival Sons, the Long Beach born blues rockers who will also appear at the Genting Arena.
There’s something inherently sad about writing this. Epochs, eras, fads and fashions… Black Sabbath are coming back to Birmingham (minus Bill Ward) to play their last gigs, with two dates in the biggest venue their hometown has to offer.
The near 50 year foot stamp of Black Sabbath’s authority is coming to The End, as the children turned fathers of Heavy Metal (being the band that coined then defined the genre) are no longer coming out to play. It is a difficult time. It’s a sad time. It is a time to remember and to celebrate. It’s also a time to mug the nearest pensioner for your ticket money, as you’ll get little change left over from a couple of Matthew Boultons.
This is Birmingham Review, so I shouldn’t need to do this, but… Black Sabbath were born when a handful of Brummie blues rockers decided the name Earth was just a little too pants and wanted to play some serious rock. Black Sabbath was born and through a series of creative evolution became tougher, darker, more politicised and iron clad than… well, a blues rock band called Earth.
Black Sabbath’s eponymous debut album was recorded and mixed in two days, got slammed by the rock music press and charted instantaneously. Four months later and they were recording their sophomore LP – the legendary, pivotal, game changing Paranoid (nee War Pigs). Buy the time Black Sabbath’s third album, Master of Reality, was leaving blank spaces on shelves both in the UK and across the pond, the homespun four piece from north Birmingham were global stars and music had a new genre. Nothing would ever be the same again.
Black Sabbath’s subsequent years saw a myriad of line-up changes, public bust ups, accidental animal dismembering, award show reconciliations, world tours and a total of 19 studio albums – the last with nearly all of the original line up being 13, released in 2012. Black Sabbath’s final recorded release, an eight track EP called The End, has been made only available at the final shows.
Birmingham Review didn’t get to see Black Sabbath at the O2 Academy in 2012 or at the then LG Arena the following year. But we did get to see Ozzy when he was touring his last solo album, Scream, in 2010. My interview with The Prince of Darkness was the first we ran on the website – read it here. If you’re on the Birmingham Review Facebook Page you might recognise one of the pics too (with thanks to Paul Ward).
Ozzy was quite something to watch, storming through a set to a packed out Town Hall, and along with Tonni Iommi and Geezer Butler is still one of the city’s proud badges of musical honour. Black Sabbath are rock stars, in the absolute sense of the sobriquet.
Like ‘em, loathe ‘em, listen to ‘em or not, Black Sabbath are a corner stone of Birmingham’s modern culture – in centuries to come the robotic spawn of Carl Chinn will be giving a lecture somewhere about “…a fully humanoid gestalt entity that changed the world of music.”
And The End is nigh… Your LAST CHANCE EVER to see Black Sabbath, with all the original members bar the publicly capricious Bill Ward (seriously dude…), is now a ticking clock reality. Let a city mourn and rejoice. Here’s our Graham with a quick reminder:
‘War Pigs’ – Black Sabbath (Paranoid Tour – live in Paris 1970)
Black Sabbath bring The End Tour to the Genting Arena, playing their final live dates on Thursday 2nd and Saturday 4th February, as presented by Live Nation UK. For direct gig info and online tickets sales, click here.
For more on Black Sabbath, (just stick your head out a Birmingham window, or…) www.blacksabbath.com
For more from the Genting Arena, including full event listings and online ticket sales, visit www.gentingarena.co.uk
For more from Live Nation UK, visit www.livenation.co.uk