As the last bits of black confetti floated down from the rafters to the floor, three of the four original members of Black Sabbath posed for a photo while hugging tight in a semi-circle, and the roaring crowd behind them chanted for “one-more-song”. This was the scene for the closing seconds of the final show from the greatest band in metal history.
At Genting Arena, in their hometown of Birmingham, England where it all started nearly 50 years ago, Sabbath played the final show of their massive “The End World Tour” last night. It marks the end of the band as a touring entity, forever. They have said they might play an occasional festival in the future, but this is definitely it for large-scale touring. The band finished up strong with a killer set, though it held few surprises.
Black Sabbath – Final Set List, Genting Arena, Birmingham, UK
Fairies Wear Boots
Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes
Into the Void
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Hand of Doom
Supernaut / Sabbath Bloody Sabbath / Megalomania
Children of the Grave
Zeitgeist (on tape)
The current incarnation of Black Sabbath came together in 2010, following the death of beloved Black Sabbath mark II and Heaven And Hell singer Ronnie James Dio. Their comeback album in 2013, 13 (Vertigo/Universal) was a monumental release, acclaimed by critics and appreciated by fans as a fitting final studio release from the band. It was the 19th overall from the band and the 9th album with Ozzy Osborne, not including compilations, live albums, and reissues.
The band is not just the founders of the genre of metal, but they are its rightful masters. They transcended the hard rock and psychedelic music of the late 1960s and early 70s and inspired a legion of bands, including many other greats across every sub-genre of music. Artists as diverse as Metallica, Nirvana, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Pantera, Black Flag, Guns `N Roses, Sleep, Primus, Mastodon, The Melvins, Neurosis, Alice In Chains, Lamb Of God, Ghost, Type O Negative, Foo Fighters, Hank Williams III, The Smashing Pumpkins, Amanda Palmer, Death, Rage Against the Machine, Royal Thunder, Soundgarden, Wolves In The Throne Room, Queens Of The Stone Age, Cro-Mags, My Bloody Valentine, Body Count, Tool, Enslaved, Van Halen, and Lady Gaga all have cited Sabbath as a primary reason they got into making music in their youth. No other act can make a claim that they solely invented and propagated this style to the masses. Musically their inspiration took hold of legions of fans with just the first three notes of the title track on their début. Lyrically they set the entire tone for the genre covering every emotion and topic: anger, fear, war, religion, love, corruption, loss, loneliness, rebellion, horror, drugs, lust, science fiction, and more. In addition to winning many accolades from within the industry, the band sold over 70 million records worldwide, including 15 million in the USA. Black Sabbath were inducted into the UK Music Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame in 2006, despite being contentious about the induction process. They have also won two Grammy Awards for Best Metal Performance.
Closing out on a high note like this, considering few bands achieve this kind of longevity is admirable. Many bands just don’t simply get to go out on their own terms in this day and age, as the rocker lifestyle of touring and partying is beginning to catch up to a generation of artists. It is great to see them exit with panache, although many purists still pine to see them reunite with Bill Ward for a final gig. Only time will tell.
Farewell Black Sabbath, and thank you for the memories!