I was a little hesitant about going to see Black Sabbath, since the clips I'd seen of Ozzy's performances in recent years were kind of sad. Up till the week of the show, I was undecided whether to go, and when I finally did decide to go, it was more because I wanted to spend a relaxing evening with S rather than because of Sabbath.
We were a little late to the show because we took a detour to pick up some chicken on the way. We parked around 8:30, just as Sabbath was starting. We missed Andrew W.K.'s DJ set entirely. It might have been nice to be there a little earlier to find a seat and start eating our dinner before the show started, but I didn't mind too much. We still got a decent spot on the lawn, about halfway down. I sat for most of the show, and except for a couple songs where people were standing right in front of us, I could see the giant onstage screen just fine, and could make out the real people on the stage as well.
Sabbath and Ozzy actually sounded pretty good, to my surprise. The musicianship was top notch, and the overall sound was much louder and heavier than I had expected from what I considered a low-key, slow-tempo 70's band. Ozzy sounded fairly strong for most songs, although he did falter a bit on the last song before the drum solo/break for everyone besides the drummer. He was more lively and mobile than in the videos I'd seen, but his movements were still kind of flacid, and he looked rather silly limply waving his arms about. Tony Iommi seemed to be in good form, with sharp movements and a strong, clear voice when he said a few words to the crowd. The cameras didn't focus too much on Geezer Butler, but in the few shots they showed, he looked like he was in good shape, too. Tommy Clufetos (of Ozzy's solo band) on drums was very into it, banging on the drums with big dramatic motions - befitting the grand scope of this show, I suppose.
It was pretty amazing to see Black Sabbath perform "Black Sabbath." The thunder and tolling bell in the intro were chilling, and the whole song was very heavy and spooky. Ozzy screamed, "No, no, please no" in a stronger voice than I'd ever have thought him capable of in his current condition. After that, I most enjoyed "Fairies Wear Boots," which is my favorite Sabbath-with-Ozzy song anyway. The visuals for this song were pretty modern, with an industrial/horror feel - an industrial-looking fairy in leather and clunky boots (I didn't know the song was about that kind of boots), women in tiny cages, people hanging from meathooks. (The screen on the stage mostly showed shots of the band, but a couple songs, like "Fairies" and "Dirty Women," had a video to go with them. Also, there were a few neat shots where the cameras would line up a performer with their image on the screen, creating an infinite series of receding images.) The songs from the new album ("Methademic" and "The End of the Beginning" are the titles I can remember) sounded pretty good. Most had that slow, doomy feel of Sabbath songs, but Methademic was a little faster and groovier, so I think I liked that one best of the new songs.
We left as the encore ("Paranoid," which I would have liked to hear) started, because since we arrived so late, we were parked at the ass end of the parking lot. In spite of taking the wrong stairs and walking a little extra way, we got to the car and out of the lot before the mass exodus started. In total, Sabbath probably played for about an hour and a half, although it didn't seem that long. I was glad I got to see them. Obviously I could not have seen the original line-up in their prime, and while this was probably a longshot from what the seeing the band was like in the 1970's, it was a pretty good retrospective.
Next show: Wintersun, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Arsis and Starkill on Tuesday! Gonna be a long night cause we're getting there early to see local death metal band March to Victory start the show \m/