Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US)

BLACK SABBATH

Date: 16th August, 2013
Venue: First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Ticket: $55 (€41) (ticket purchased)
Promoter: Live Nation


Can you think of any logical reason to deny this event? Well, let’s consider the conditions: BLACK SABBATH have just released a brand new full length album that seemed to be on the talks for the last decade or so having 3/4 of the original lineup and sadly this tour can be the last chance to see Iommi onstage, since his health issue demands full attention without demanding physical activities. I know, it’s not politically correct to mention the last reason but is there anyone out there who does not believe that the ticket sale went up due to this situation? Honestly I’d prefer to have seen this tour cancelled to let Tony take care of himself, but this is just me talking...

Anyway to cut a long story short I got my ticket for this show and deliberately missed the opening act simply because I consider it to be inappropriate for supporting BLACK SABBATH. I guess TROUBLE would be a way better choice, right? As I said there were a lot of reasons to be there, so the crowd was a strange mix of old-timers, young metalheads and of those show-goers who just want to be able to say “I was there too”. But who am I to judge and in the end of the day it always feels nice to see venues full of people, no matter their music affiliation.

Right on schedule the lights went out and the wailing air-raid sirens marked the time from the legendary band from Birmingham. Sure, there were a lot of questions waiting to be answered (like "will the setlist feature any surprises?" or "How will Tony play?") and the most popular was if Ozzy would sing or just scream. Fortunately (and satisfying the internet rumors) Ozzy sounded just fine during the etlist opener “War Pigs” that was welcomed – as expected –  with a loud cheer. It is sad to see that the anti-war messages of the lyrics are still relevant, even if more than four decades have passed since the song’s conception. Especially the politics who seem to behave no matter what year we all live in... The characteristic riff of “Into The Void” came next backed up by Butler’s signature bass work and during the faster part I could not help but to think that this should have been the guitar tone in the new album but yet again this is me talking... No matter what it was time to headbang and fully enjoy the simply structured guitar work that changed the music as we know it and put the term heavy in our minds. Ozzy did his thing walking up and down the stage provoking the fans to scream and that would be ok if he chose another time to do it and not during the guitar solo. And the fact that the vocals were louder in the mix than the guitar did not make it better...

During “Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes” the huge screens on the back of the stage were showing footage from old-horror movies and I have to admit watching this anti-religion stuff and then hearing Ozzy screaming “God bless you” was quite an irony, right? On the other hand, the band just has to meet the fans’ expectations and be evil just like the old-days... “The next song is about cocaine” said the Prince Of Darkness seconds before the trademark figure of Tony Iommi starting “Snowblind” with the rhythm section that set the foundations for the Doom Metal scene among others. Once again the footage fitted perfectly the lyrical concept, so watching Al Pacino from “The Godfather” diving deep in the white dust was perfect.

Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(clck to enlarge)

“Age Of Reason” was the first addition from the new album but the reaction from the audience had little to do with the high sales numbers. In fact, Ozzy introduced this one by thanking everyone for placing the album in the top position of the charts. I guess, many got the album simply because it has the BLACK SABBATH logo on the cover but it’s kind of a shame since the song is very good even though I cannot consider it as the product of the band but a collaboration between professionals. Ok, English is not my native language, but still I would need subtitles to fully understand what Ozzy was saying, especially before “Black Sabbath” that to my ears sounded like “Rat Salad”... After the happy sounds of “Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes” straight from another period of time (aka the 70s), Butler stepped on the limelight with a short bass solo that combined with the Wah effect stated it was time for more headbanging with the super heavy “N.I.B.”. Ok, I wouldn’t pay much attention if I’d heard this one on the radio for the n-th time, but truth is, live it sounds a-m-a-z-i-n-g.

“End Of The Beginning” came to confirm that live the new songs sound way better (heavier and more natural, at least musically), even though Ozzy’s voice was still in a good shape and better than all the times I have watched him onstage. So, the trippy “Fairies Wear Boots” with the fitting footage (you just have to love all these kaleidoscope colors), but after “Rat Salad” we had to endure a longer than usual drum solo. And this, my friends, says without words what Butler plainly said in a recent interview pointing how the years go by and what toll the human body has to pay. The band came back onstage following the mid to low drum beat that marked the time for “Iron Man” and “God Is Dead?” after which Ozzy did not say “God bless you all” and made me laugh again with those paradoxes. I guess “Dirty Women”, with the delightful 70s full-of-tits-footage, put a stop to Ozzy good singing streak, since somewhere in the middle of it, his vocals fell apart. I really do not hold a grunge because for the rest of the setlist he came through and, in fact, did less than his usual shenanigans. “Children Of The Grave” was the logical ending for the regular set, but Ozzy said “if you scream enough, we may come back” and everyone did because it was about time for the band’s ultra-hit... instead “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” kicked in but sadly not for long since the “Paranoid” riff took over and everybody went crazy.

The final sign that BLACK SABBATH have reached the end of the road was when “Paranoid” did not last as usual with the long singing-along, so the taped “Zeitgeist” was the final tune that night. Yeah, we had fun and also a second chance to pay the proper respect to the Riff-man, Tony Iommi, who makes it look so natural to create Heavy/Doom Metal melodies with a rather short sequence of music notes. I hope he will remain in the scene, because he has/holds a lot of music in his brain and hands.

BLACK SABBATH setlist:

01. “War Pigs”
01. “Into The Void”
01. “Under The Sun / Every Day Comes And Goes”
02. “Snowblind”
03. “Age Of Reason”
04. “Black Sabbath”
05. “Behind The Wall Of Sleep”
06. “N.I.B.”
07. “End Of The Beginning”
08. “Fairies Wear Boots”
09. “Rat Salad”
10. Drum Solo
11. “Iron Man”
12. “God Is Dead?”
13. “Dirty Women”
14. “Children Of The Grave”
15. “Paranoid”
16. “Zeitgeist” (taped)

BLACK SABBATH

Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos) Black Sabbath @ FMBA, Tinley Park (US) (photos by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos)

(click to enlarge)