The business of farewell tours has definitely been booming lately – nothing seems to sell out an arena like the threat of a goodbye. With just about any act saying farewell to their fans before their comeback tour a few years down the line. It’s recently become hard to believe every band or artist when they say this is the end. However, for Black Sabbath this year has definitely been the beginning of ‘The End’. After the initial anticipation and excitement for Fridays performance in Dublin’s, 3Arena was the start of what was an emotional celebration of the best of Black Sabbath.
Beginning their tour early last year, the heavy metal pioneers embarked on an intense string of dates which has been a bittersweet tour. Opening their show with the pulsating tones of ‘Black Sabbath’ and building momentum into a crescendo finish, the show has begun. Absent of elaborate stage sets or props, tonight is truly about celebrating the last fifty years of Black Sabbath’s legacy. Throughout the next two hours Ozzy, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi take us on a nostalgic trip with a setlist made up predominantly of songs from their first four albums.
Moving through songs such as ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Snowblind‘ ensure that the band have the crowd on their feet. With elements of groove throughout all their songs even with heavier connotations means that everyone can move around. Despite it being almost five decades, Black Sabbath still have a strong hold upon fans old and young. The gothic and doom-laden imagery throughout their songs is even more poignant now as the end is in sight. All dressed in black with Ozzy grinning from ear to ear with his demonic smile clearly elated at the response from the audience.
Since their 1970 debut ‘Black Sabbath‘, the band have carried their unique sound with them right from the start. Originators and creators of their own genre introducing a generation to a dark and sometimes twisted take on rock, they have stood the test of time. After trying to replace Ozzy Osbourne in 1979 with a string of singers, no one was quite able to personify Black Sabbath the way he did.
Although it is only three quarters of the original line-up with a noticeable absence from drummer Bill Ward, Tommy Clufetos is a superb replacement. As for the original three, there is an effortless comfort between them on stage, they probably know each other better than anyone else in the world. Midway through the set, images start appearing above the stage with clips and pictures of Sabbath through the years. The clips are poignant and show just how far the band have come, and despite an apparent stiffness from Osbourne, he is still sharp as a razor.
The highlight of the evening is ‘War Pigs‘ as the monstrously heavy track along with Ozzy’s haunting vocal penetrate the venue. The crowd repeat back every word as fans look on with awe to Iommi and Butler who have remained masters of their craft and ability to play. Still besotted with one another, it is endearing to see Ozzy watch his band mate with a child like wonderment is, after all this time and they are still taken aback by each of their talents.
Teasing the audience by ending with ‘Children of the Grave‘ there was more of a desperation in fans’ voices for one more song, knowing it could be the last. Returning to the stage to play ‘Paranoid‘, those standing at the front are showered with balloons from above. Although, they have made it very clear that this time is in fact the end, one can hope and dream that they may just change their minds. However whether this tour does prove to be Black Sabbath’s last outing, there is no denying it was the perfect goodbye.