BLACK SABBATH – The End [Live In Birmingham] (2017)
“The End” is a celebration of BLACK SABBATH‘s final hometown concert at Birmingham’s Genting Arena on February 4, 2017. This unforgettable farewell show from one of the biggest bands in the world will be released by Eagle Music on November 17, 2017.
BLACK SABBATH stormed the stage in their hometown of Birmingham to play the 81st and final triumphant gig of “The End Of The End” tour. This monumental show brought down the curtain on a career that spanned almost half a century.
Black Sabbath’s tumultuous, triumphant 50-year journey finally reached its end earlier this year with a bittersweet hometown show at the old Birmingham NEC. There’s a video release, vinyl LP, double CD, etc.
The recording captures the tangible levels of emotion swirling around the band and the audience – anyone who thinks they never need to hear ‘War Pigs’ again should clock the titanic version here.
All the band’s hits are present, including ‘Iron Man’, ‘Paranoid’, ‘Children Of The Grave’, etc.
The band feels in very good form. Bassist Geezer Butler has the nimble fingers of a much younger man. Guitarist Tony Iommi’s barrage of detuned, ominous riffs defy his lymphoma diagnosis. Ozzy’s regular touring drummer Tommy Clufetos does a fine job as well.
After a year on the road, Ozzy Osbourne’s occasionally erratic voice is remarkably pure and strong.
The frontman may need a teleprompter for his lyrics these days and is mostly rigid at the microphone, but he is in imperious form. At one point, he begins hooting like an owl, prompting the audience to follow suit.
One fears the worst when he introduces ‘War Pigs’ – the classic anthem about capitalism’s reliance on conflicts – as “something to sing along with”. However, with the darkly clad band rocking furiously and the crowd chanting about generals gathering “like witches at black masses”, the song becomes such an unholy celebration that the building may require exorcism.
Although 2013’s album “13” gave them their first No 1 since 1970, the setlist comes almost exclusively from their first four albums, which defined heavy metal.
Back then, they were losers from dead-end jobs in the West Midlands, which the hippy dream didn’t reach. More nihilistic music and lyrics brought success and escape from the members’ own private highways to hell.
It’s one thing to address doom and death when you’re young and feeling immortal, quite another to sing, “When you think about death do you lose your breath or do you keep your cool?” – as Osbourne does in ‘After Forever’ – when mortality edges closer and friends are dying around you.
Perhaps this is why Sabbath sound reconnected to their songs’ desperate, dark heart.
A strange, uncanny atmosphere descends as “The End [Live In Birmingham]” reaches the end, but ‘Children Of The Grave’ becomes a giant wake and signature anthem ‘Paranoid’ triggers joyous headbanging in the aisles.
It’s been a bumpy ride for 49 years, but legends BLACK SABBATH can walk away with their ears ringing and their legacy intact.
“The End [Live In Birmingham]” captures a once-in-a-career performance, an essential snapshot of musical history, and a fitting farewell to true innovators and original heavy metal icons, BLACK SABBATH.
01 – Black Sabbath (Live)
02 – Fairies Wear Boots (Live)
03 – Under The Sun – Every Day Comes And Goes (Live)
04 – After Forever (Live)
05 – Into The Void (Live)
06 – Snowblind (Live)
07 – Band Introductions (Live)
08 – War Pigs (Live)
09 – Behind The Wall Of Sleep (Live)
10 – Bassically – N.I.B. (Live)
01 – Hand Of Doom (Live)
02 – Supernaut – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath – Megalomania (Live)
03 – Rat Salad – Drum Solo (Live)
04 – Iron Man (Live)
05 – Dirty Women (Live)
06 – Children Of The Grave (Live)
07 – Paranoid (Live)
Ozzy Osbourne – vocals
Tony Iommi – guitar
Geezer Butler – bass
Tommy Clufetos – drums