Live Review: Black Sabbath

19th May - O2 Academy, Birmingham
Review by Nick Addison

Given the overwhelming demand for tickets, I was actually slightly shocked to successfully bag a pair in the Sabbath mailing list pre-sale just two short weeks before the show. I was really going to get to see the original (well 3/4 of it) Black Sabbath line-up playing a club gig in their home town!

I had never seen any of the previous incarnations of the band live, or even Ozzy doing his solo stuff, so I was really looking forward to this show, a festival warm up.

When I lived in Brum back in the 80s & 90s, the O2 Academy was then a nightclub called The Dome and this was the first gig that I had been to there since the Academy had moved from its old location in Dale End (which was the Hummingbird back in my day!) The venue felt smaller than its supposed 3,000 capacity, though having seen the enormous queue snaking all the way round the corner, up Holloway head and round the back of the block when we arrived at 6.30pm, I can very well believe it!

We managed to get ourselves just left of the centre and only a few people back from the front. As soon as the band hit the stage and launched into Into The Void, the whole place erupted. During the madness of the second song my glasses got knocked off, though the rock gods were obviously with me as I managed to get down to the floor and pick them up completely undamaged!

The band were far from the shambling, out of practice old boys that I was worried they might be and were tight as anything, clearly enjoying themselves. Ozzy seemed to have bought himself a time machine and gone back 30 years! Sitting in for Bill Ward was Ozzy's drummer, Tommy Clufetos, who was amazing and even treated us to a short drum solo.

Throughout the show there were plenty of shouts of "Tony! Tony! Tony!" (guitarist, Tony Iommi) who is still undergoing treatment for lymphoma - not that you would know it as he looked great. Ozzy referred to him at one point as 'The Iron Man'.

Lastly, hats off to the crew for a great sound throughout! All in all it was an amazing show, in fact it's definitely right up there in my all-time top gigs list. But now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to go and burn every item of clothing that I was wearing, as by the end I was drenched from head to toe in sweat. Most of which was my own. Those of you with a ticket for Download are in for a right treat!

The setlist for the 2 hour show was fantastic and included some less obvious tracks:

  • Into The Void
  • Under The Sun
  • Snowblind
  • War Pigs
  • Wheels Of Confusion
  • Electric Funeral
  • Black Sabbath
  • The Wizard
  • Beyond The Wall Of Sleep
  • N.I.B.
  • Fairies Wear Boots
  • Tomorrow’s Dream
  • Sweet Leaf
  • Sympton Of The Universe (intro)
  • Iron Man
  • Dirty Women
  • Children Of The Grave
  • Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (intro)
  • Paranoid