Concert Review: Black Sabbath at the ACC


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Its been difficult to pinpoint exactly how to respond to Ozzy Osbourne in his latter years. Do we laugh at his mumbling Ozzy-isms and perpetually oblivious state of being, or do we take pity on this sad, strange man?

However you feel about the Prince of Darkness, it was hard to perceive his lost demeanour as anything more than a distraction in what was otherwise a superb Black Sabbath show at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.

Though eager to entertain (he worked hard to gain audience participation during the show-opening “War Pigs”), Osbourne was consistently off-key and lacked the range to really deliver on some of his Sabbath classics. His age clearly showed in his stage persona, as wrinkles and a perceptible fatigue were visible through his dark mascara and wet black hair.

Osbourne’s rough, throaty vocal performance wasted what was a phenomenal effort from his still-capable band members. Guitarist Tony Iommi served up a sharp, piercing sound that ripped through the ACC, particularly during “Iron Man,” while bassist Geezer Butler was far from what his first name would indicate, enhancing the show’s frenzied and remarkably energetic feel.

No performance, however, raised as many impressed eyebrows among the 14,000 in attendance as hyper-aggressive drummer Tommy Clufetos, who was standing in for Bill Ward (they couldn’t agree on contractual issues). Clufetos won many fans with a stunning five-minute mid-show drum solo.

Outside of Ozzy, Sabbath put on a lively two-hour show that proved them to be more than just a nostalgia act (for further proof, look at the band’s recent rise to number one on the billboard charts with the recently-released 13). But when a group’s one squeaky wheel happens to be their lead singer, it’s hard not to notice.

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