-By Dariya Salmin
With the recent death of Soundwave, Black Sabbath performing their final world tour at the Perth Arena was the perfect chance to re-live a once lively and pumping metal scene. Dressed in all black and band t-shirts, the crowd was divided between older die hard fans that have been there from the very beginning, and young rockers who appreciate legendary music, there to let loose and have a good time. The night started at 7.40pm with Californian rock group Rival Sons who played a quick set, followed by Black Sabbath’s two-hour set starting at 8.45pm. An earlier finish for a Friday night didn’t leave Black Sabbath fans disheartened, as the original band members; Ozzy Osbourne, Tommy Iommi and Geezer Butler gave an epic performance of all their much loved heavy metal anthems from the 70s.
Rocking to a fairly empty yet rapidly growing crowd, Rival Sons set the electrifying atmosphere for the night. Dressed in a black leather jacket and with a strong rock n roll stage presence, Jay Buchanan kept the audience fascinated with his powerful Robert Plant-like vocals. The rest of the band held their cool as they smashed out songs like Electric Man, Secret, Pressure and Time and Where I’ve Been, a song about forgiveness as Buchanan states, “if you fuckers done things you regret, you’ve gotta put it behind you. That’s what this song’s about.” With a lot of momentum behind them, Rival Sons created a versatile set, with a lot of light and shade within their music. They built up to epic guitar solos and slowed it down for melodic softer rock ballads, with Buchanan even including a tambourine in one of the songs. By the 8.30pm finish, the crowd was psyched up and ready for Black Sabbath to take the stage.
With the flames and dragon animation on the big screen, the crowd went wild, as Black Sabbath walked on stage. Tommy Iommi dressed like an absolute rock star, started his dark, ambient and famous guitar riff intro to the song Black Sabbath. Wearing all black with a tint of sparkle, Ozzy Osbourne rocked back and forth with the mic stand as he sang the first few lyrics with such slow haunting vocals and captivation. With his long black hair, pale face, and black eye liner eyes, Osbourne looked exactly like the metal vampire god you imagined. Understandably frail, he still managed to fulfill all the classic rock show antics like getting the crowd clapping, moving around stage putting his fists in the air, crowd banter-“I can’t fucking hear you”, and the much wanted encore, “here’s the deal, if you go crazy we’ll go extra.” Surprisingly the standing audience wasn’t as rowdy and messy as what you’d expect for such a legendary metal concert, as people moved about in the mosh quite freely. It was only the very front of the crowd who let loose, with crowd surfers diving throughout the night including a guy in a wheel chair. However, this was probably because everyone wanted to take in every last part of Black Sabbath’s last tour.
For the first hour of the set, Black Sabbath played their classic 70s hit Fairies Wear Boots, After Forever, Into the Void and Snowblind. After a slight hiccup with Iommi’s electric guitar, Sabbath launched in War Pigs, with an incredible response from the crowd. The famous alarm sirens rang while the red and blue lights flickered all over the stadium, leaving the atmosphere exciting, haunting and electric. Everyone was buzzing as they sang War Pigs word for word, “Generals gathered in their masses, just like witches at black masses.” Probably the greatest response for the night, the crowd mellowed out, taking a breather for the next song Behind The Wall of Sleep. However as soon as the famous guitar riff for N.I.B. played the crowd was back and keener than ever. Iommi’s electric solos were better than you could imagine live and Osbourne showed everyone his vocal abilities we’re still going strong as he sang the melodic lines “Your love for me has just got to be real, before you know the way I’m going to feel.”
Taking a break, Iommi, Osbourne and Butler left the stage to prepare for the last few songs of the night as drummer Tony Clufetos smashed out a drum solo that went for longer then five minutes. Building up momento, finishing and starting again, Clufetos keep the crowd’s eyes glued to the stage as he hit the drums at a pace, one wouldn’t expect possible. As old footage of Black Sabbath appeared on the screen, the crowd left the drum trance they were in, ready for ‘The End’ songs. Finishing off with Rat Salad, Iron Man, Dirty Women and Children of the Grave, Sabbath came back for the encore Paranoid. The ultimate rock metal song, everyone was jumping up and down and singing word for word. An absolutely euphoric moment, even if you weren’t smoking or drinking, you would have been on a high either way. With the words ‘The End’ printed large on the screen, Black Sabbath got a standing ovation and gave a modest bow to the crowd as they left the Perth stage for the last time.
Photo Credit: Ross Halfin