Black Sabbath + Breed 77 – 05/12/99 – Astoria, London

Black Sabbath ticket Dec 1999I remember absolutely nothing about the support act whatsoever, but Wikipedia says “Breed 77 is a band whose music is a fusion of alternative metal and flamenco.” Thank Christ I was in the bar when they were on then.

This was the original lineup of Sabbath though, and fuck, what a great venue to see them in. It was a ‘back to the early days’ sort of a tour, and they only played stuff off ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Paranoid’. The band that pretty much invented heavy metal, playing the songs that paved the way for the rest. Magic. Ozzy was just mental – seems to get better as the years go by and the brain atrophies. He leapt about the stage like a man half his age, with the sort of energy that seemed implausible for someone that has abused his body to the extent that he has. He still had a great voice, lost a shit load of blubber, and I think as he’d cleaned up his act (since the days of ‘Decline Of Western Civilization…’), he can mumble at least semi-coherently when bantering with the crowd between songs.

Tony Iommi, by stark contrast, stood motionless and expressionless, the black tassels on his leather jacket swaying gently as he cranked out the heaviest, dirtiest darkest riffs. A guitar hero, in the true sense of the word, as he is probably more influential than any other still alive, but no screaming solos on bended knee, no histrionics and no posturing. Geezer, as with most bassists, got kinda overshadowed by the larger personalities throughout his career, but his performance that night was one I will remember. The things he did with that Fender Jazz, man. The obvious highlight for bass nerds such as myself was the bass solo off ‘Black Sabbath’. Bill Ward, the only one on stage I hadn’t seen before, was pretty good – not over the top, no solo (yay!) just immensely solid. ‘He’ll be dead quite soon’, Ozzy squawked at the end, and I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that. A quick Google reveals that he is indeed, still alive. Which is nice.

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