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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Black Sabbath - Live Review
Perth Arena, Perth
April 15th 2016

Black Sabbath

It's the end of an era in heavy metal. Sure many musicians have come and gone, bands have called it a day and we have seen a few of them go in the last few years but when it's Black Sabbath, all bets are off. The Godfather of metal itself, there isn't a band alive now that hasn't been influenced by them in way or another. Deep Purple are pioneers, Led Zeppelin are legends but Black Sabbath invented the devils music and we all owe everything to their sound. On their very last tour around the world, the band rolled into Perth for the first show of the Australian tour in 2016 and we saw them off in the best way possible with a great final set.



Setlist: Electric Man | Secret | Pressure and Time | Torture | Where I've Been | Open My Eyes | Keep On Swinging

Heralded by the theme to the good the bad and the ugly and welcomed by a quarter full Perth arena (Sabbath fans are so one-eyed) Rival Sons sauntered onto a dimly lit stage with Sabbath’s photo ban in place and launched into their Zeppelinesque set.

The question of course was always how they would go down with a band like Sabbath and their fans – could one of the great new hope for Rock convert some of the old school? Well they gave it a mighty try! During opener ‘Electric Man’ the keys may have been a little high in the mix but it was a good clean sound except that the guitars seemed to be turned down somewhat, it certainly brought those that were there to life.

With Five Finger Death Punch cancelling their support slot on the tour we had hoped that it meant that Rival Sons got longer on stage, but it wasn’t really to be. Even as the guitar bursts out of the mix and a burst of lights before the end of that first song seems to finally wake the rest of the audience, there’s still a feeling that this is a band you want more time with.

No time for subtlety in a Sabbath support though – rocking is clearly the order of the day with the glorious ‘Secret’ up next as the floor half fills with those wanting s good pod for Sabbath. The songs ends with Jay Buchanan ending up crouched down firing vocals into the mic, it's powerful stuff and far more Robert plant than I expected – he’s got huge vocals and the song seems to last forever with the opening numbers clocking up over 12 minutes of their allotted 30 minute set time.

It’s two songs in before we get a ‘Good evening Perth’ just as the band, bathed in red light, launch into ‘Pressure and Time’ – the title track of their latest album and the most beautifully soulful of tonight’s set. ‘The bluesier ‘Torture’ that follows sees Jay off with the shoes and getting some serious tambourine action on.

“We are the Rival Sons from Long Beach California and this is our first time in Perth. It's an honour to play before Black Sabbath, this is a great opportunity for us, thank you for listening”. Jay tells us and that’s about the truth of it, god bless Ozzy and co for getting a real new rock band before their gathered masses let’s just hope they make the impression in the rest of Australia they did tonight in Perth.

The set closes with three songs that show why you should get to the show early to check out the Rival Sons – there’s all shades of rock on offer from the slightly country-tinged ballad that is ‘Where I’ve Been’ (a “song about regrets”) to the huge foundation-shaking riff to closing number ‘Keep on Swinging’ which sees Jay physically holding down the music with his palms. The Arena may still only be half full by the end of the set which does run over just slightly at 35 minutes but those that were there may just have witnessed one of the bands that can keep rock alive and kicking when the old masters like Sabbath finally hang up the boots. It all ends with a “Thank you Perth” a little bow, and a job well done.

Starting with a cool video intro of the devil destroying the world, Ozzy himself ran onto the stage soon after and the band took to the stage with the title track of the first album kicking things off. It was nothing but the classics after that, not even anything from their last album "13" which was a little surprising to be honest. But the fans probably didn't mind one bit as "Fairies Wear Boots" followed in second place.

Ozzy was his usual self, not much had changed since the last time we saw them in 2013 and despite having a tired and worn voice which he admitted during the show, fighting it off with lots of water, his efforts were at heart in the right place. Riling the crowd up at every opportunity and wandering the stage in his usual stagger, no matter what it is always great to see the great frontman himself in person. Geezer Butler stood on the far left side all night and was rock solid all night, consistently brilliant on bass as always. Tony Iommi, the riffmaster himself, was on fire tonight and even compared to the last time 3 years ago and despite his health battles, he truly never sounded better. Tracks like "Into The Void" and "War Pigs" were super tight and his guitar sound was pitch perfect.

As last time, Tommy Clufetos sat behind the drumkit and of course the usual arguments of Bill Ward not being there is always a heated conversation but let's face it, Tommy is a great drummer and even though it would have been great to see Bill be part of these final run of shows, the band could have easily done worse so kudos to Tommy for filling in and giving it his all.

The band wasted no time inbetween songs, proceeding to give their final performance to the Perth fans. "Iron Man"" of course followed after Tommy's energetic drum solo but as great as this song is, I do feel it has been kinda overplayed a bit over the years so it's impact is not as huge as say "Hand Of Doom" which came just before. Now that's a hell of a song if ever there was one to pick from Black Sabbath's back catalogue! "Children Of The Grave" rounded out the main part of the set but of course, everyone knew they could not leave without playing "Paranoid", just about the greatest Black Sabbath song ever put out. Short but sweet, hooky and a brilliant riff, which was played by Tony with super tight precision. This truly sounded better than the studio version and at this stage in their career, that's no easy feat!

So there you have it, the end of Black Sabbath - at least for Perth fans anyway. The rest of the cities left on the tour should not miss this because it truly is an end of an era.


15 April - Perth Arena Perth, WA
17 April - Adelaide Entertainment Centre Hindmarsh, SA
19 April - Rod Laver Arena Melbourne, VIC
23 April - Qudos Bank Arena formerly Allphones Arena Sydney Olympic Park, NSW
25 April - Brisbane Entertainment Centre Boondall, QLD
28 April - Vector Arena Auckland, NZ
30 April - Forsyth Barr Stadium Dunedin, NZ

Tickets available from Live Nation

Review by The Buffman and Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie
Photos credit: Ross Halfin