by Matt Karpe
– Columnist —
December 14, 2013 at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, U.K. —
Black Sabbath continued their U.K. tour at the Motorpoint Arena on a blustery Saturday evening in Sheffield.
As the venue began to fill, support act Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats hit the stage to warm the place up. The Cambridge quartet appeared to win the crowd over with their ’60s style psychedelic doom influenced rock, largely in part to the good guitar work and multiple solo’s. Their eight-song set included tracks from their expanding discography, including the popular “Poison Apple” and “Over and Over Again”. Their performance ended with “Desert Ceremony” and the reaction from the crowd was highly positive.
We didn’t have to wait long for the main event. In fact there was just enough time to go for a cigarette and buy a drink before the lights went out and the legends arrived on stage.
After a short welcome from Ozzy, “War Pigs” began the onslaught, sending the crowd wild. Tour drummer Tommy Clufetos looked good early on whilst Geezer Butler strummed away on the ol’ four string. However the inspiration came from the opposite side of the stage as Tony Iommi, battling cancer currently, showed how much of a genius he is on the guitar, as the riffs that made “War Pigs” such a classic, were played to ultimate perfection.
There is something strangely breath taking when you see Ozzy Osbourne perform. It’s like he is a different animal when he has an audience to captivate, and captivate he did as he runs from side to side, front to back, covering each step of the large stage over the course of the evening.
The set list contained the best of Sabbath, as well as a few songs from the excellent 13 album, with “Age Of Reason”, “Beginning Of the End” and “God Is Dead?” all sounding huge and fresh.
Of course though it is the classics that send chills down your spine, and when you hear the incredible guitar work and drumming on “N.I.B” and “Iron Man”, you can only stand in awe and pinch yourself that you are watching Black Sabbath.
The highlight of the night comes in the form of the sensational “Children Of The Grave”- a stunning rendition which sends the crowd into raptures. Iommi’s guitar work is majestic, Clufeto’s drumming is thunderous and Butler’s bass makes the heart skip a beat. Naturally, “Paranoid” is saved until last, and the whole arena sings along to Ozzy’s words, making it another high point of the night.
The whole show was relentless, and Ozzy’s interaction with the crowd was a joy to see, as he genuinely seemed to reciprocate the love that the Sheffield crowd showed to him. The visuals added to the drama and the camera angles that appeared on the big screen proved a great aide for the people at the back of the arena.
Black Sabbath may have raised a few eyebrows when they announced their return in 2011, but after a brilliant studio album this year, Sabbath are truly back on top of the world, and tonight was one of the best shows of 2013.
A special final mention goes to Tony Iommi, who should be commended for putting on an immaculate masterclass whilst battling illness, he is a true hero.
Black Sabbath Set List:
Into The Void
Under The Sun/Every Day Comes And Goes
Age Of Reason
Behind The Wall Of Sleep
End Of The Beginning
Faeries Wear Boots
God Is Dead?
Children Of The Grave
Paranoid (With Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Intro)
Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats Set List:
I’ll Cut You Down
Valley of The Dolls
Over and Over Again