Black Sabbath + Axxis – 09/09/89 – Hammersmith Odeon

A few months after having seen Ozzy, it was the turn of Tony Iommi to trawl through the Sabbath back catalogue. I nearly didn’t make it to this gig, because someone jumped off the platform at Weybridge Station and made a Rorschach blotter pattern on the front of the Southampton Express. They were  just collecting bits of body off  the track as I arrived – a nice way to start the evening.

I remember nothing whatsoever about Axxis, I may well have been in the bar. Wikipedia says they are a German power metal band, who am I to argue?

Black Sabbath ticket Sep 1989

Sabbath’s stage set was not bad, this was the Headless Cross tour, so there were a lot of large polystyrene tombstones and dry ice – very Spinal Tap (with nary a hint of irony, I’m sure). Like Ozzy, Tony Iommi had surrounded himself with a collection of A-list rock musicians. Neil Murray on bass, Geoff Nichols on Speak and Spell and the legendary (and sadly dead these days) Cozy Powell on drums. Singster Tony Martin let the side down a bit though, on account of he wasn’t famous, he was nowhere near as good as Ozzy, and he reputedly wore a wig. Not Tony Martin the farmer that went down for shooting the teenaged pikey-do-as-you-likey burgler, a different Tony Martin. Headless Cross, like most of the stuff they’d put out in the 80s was pretty dire, so again, I was there just to hear the older stuff. War Pigs was actually better than Ozzy’s rendition, but the stand-out track for me, ironically though was the Dio-era Die Young. Even though it really needs two guitars to do it justice, it was still kickass. Tony Iommi is responsible for some of the darkest and heaviest riffs ever created, and the intro to the track Black Sabbath is the epitome – just a shame that Ozzy wasn’t there too. On the whole I think I preferred Ozzy to Sabbath, as he is just such a massive personality but seeing Tony Iommi crunching out the original heavy metal riffs was definitely one to tick off the list.

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