"First Night": Fans Lap Up
The Birmingham Evening Mail, 5 December 1997
Black Sabbath (NEC Arena) - So who says Heavy Metal is dead? Not the 12,000
leather and denim-clad fans who congregated at the NEC to worship at the feet of
John 'Ozzy' Osbourne and the born again Black Sabbath.
The Brummie band's original line-up - Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill
Ward - last played together in Britain 19 years ago but last night they turned
the clock back for the first of two special shows.
The musical vaults were raided for the likes of Fairies Wear Boots, Electric
Funeral and Into the Void as well as recognised classics such as Iron Man and
The two NEC shows (the second is tonight) are the only reformed Sabbath dates in
Europe and are being recorded for a live album and video.
Fortunately, the band were on sparkling form, louder and prouder than ever.
The sparse set gave Ozzy plenty of room to prowl around, flanked by Geezer, hair
flailing, pummeling his bass, and Tony, pumping out his trademark heavy rock
riffs which have become metal standards.
And on drums, Bill Ward, who missed the American shows during the summer, but
pounded the skins like there was no tomorrow.
There's always an element of Spinal Tap with Ozzy (he recently claimed that he
found the film unfunny because it was all true to life for him!) but he's a
master showman always urging the crowd to cheer louder and clap harder.
The house lights went up after an hour and 45 minutes - and there were a fair
few jeers. Not because the show was poor - it was far too short.