The Children of the Night were out in full force to support the Godfathers of Heavy Metal. The term Heavy Metal was popularized by Creem magazine critic Lester Bangs in a series of articles about Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin during the early 70’s. Call their music what you will, Heavy Metal, Stoner Rock or Doom Rock, their effect on modern music is unassailable, and launched its own sub-genre of music. Black was the fashion du jour, and the merch line was ravenous over tour exclusive posters and CDs.
Long Beach natives Rival Sons opened with a high energy set, Jay Buchanan’s voice grabbed hold of the audience, pulling them in. “Electric Man” was a set high point, Scott Holiday’s churning blues-tinged guitar propels the song forward while propulsive vocals elevate the song to soaring highs. Another stand-out “Open My Eyes” showcased Buchanan’s vocal ability as he leaned back, mic in hand, roaring the lyrics in a way that immediately brings to mind Ian Astbury or Robert Plant. Their set was way too short, but it whet the appetite of the crowd.
After a short break, the screens sputtered to life and the lights extinguished. The crowd roared as images of a decrepit foundry filled the screen. A flaming egg appears from a rupture in the Earth and explodes into ash, leaving a pulsating red mass. Something is emerging from inside as the leathery mass stretches and moves. A wing pops through, and the egg sloughs off as a demon emerges from inside. It lets loose an unholy scream and takes to the sky, as the words Black Sabbath are emblazoned in fire as the bell tolls announcing the song “Black Sabbath” to the audience.
Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Tony Iommi take the stage in complete darkness as Iommi strums the first notes to the funeral dirge. The lights pop on and Ozzy is standing at the microphone grinning maniacally at the crowd and clapping his hands over his head to the beat. The crowd explodes with the first appearance of their Dark Masters. After the first song Ozzy tells the crowd that this is absolutely the last tour because they are “too old.”
Crowd favorite ” Fairies Wear Boots” had Ozzy stalking the stage and pounding his foot while he sang “You got to believe me.” At the opening of “Snowblind” Ozzy told the crowd the song is about cocaine and he said that the band is too old to do it anymore. Sabbath followed with “War Pigs,” and from the moment the klaxons sounded, the entire sold-out audience was on its feet. The sludgy guitars and escalating drumbeat charged the audience to a frenzy. Ozzy elicited help from the audience on the chorus, and the fans chanted along as only a true anthem can compel that reaction.
The classic guitar riff of “N.I.B.” Caused everyone to shout “Oh Yeah” along with Ozzy. After the heights of this track off of the first self-titled album, the band left the stage so that Tommy Clufetos could rock out an epic “Rat Salad” drum solo. When the band returned they took no prisoners with “Iron Man.” The bands most recognizable song caused the Bowl to explode.
With the encore “Paranoid,” the band truly brought the house down. And when it was finished, the waves of realization swept through the audience. We saw something truly special. As the band took what could be their final bow in Los Angeles, it is evident what an entrancing spell the music has to this day.
Black Sabbath is on tour through February 2017. Check out dates and get your tickets:
“Fairies Wear Boots”
“Into the Void”
“Behind the Walls of Sleep”
“Hand of Doom”
“Children of the Grave”