Before a black-clad audience, inside and away from a pitch-black sky, the founding fathers of heavy metal marched confidently to the stage and showed Auckland how it's done.
Led by the irrepressible Ozzy Osbourne, Black Sabbath brought together fans young and old - some may have even used their Super Gold cards to get there - in horn-throwing, fist-pumping fashion.
Ozzy, at 64, jumped and stomped about the stage with passion and energy to burn. Could he still cut it? Yes, he could - and when fatigue kicked in, he was charismatic enough to have the crowd pick up the slack.
Grinning and grinding alongside him were his equally venerable co-founders. Geezer Butler provided a masterclass for bass guitar geeks, and Tony Iommi's gentlemanly presence was a fascinating counterpoint to the sledgehammer riffs he brought down again and again.
Opening with an extraordinarily heavy rendition of the 1970 classic War Pigs and finishing with the rifftastic standard of Paranoid, the band delivered a set to remember.
Unlike that legendary Ngaruawahia gig in 1973, there were no burning crosses at the show last night - but Black Sabbath's spark lit up the arena. The glow may last another 40 years.
Wellington rock heavyweights Shihad opened proceedings with a punishing performance, featuring songs from the heavier corners of their back catalogue.
Frontman Jon Toogood told the thousands before him that it was an honour for his band to support their boyhood heroes.
"I get to tell my grandkids I played with Black Sabbath," he announced with his trademark blend of Kiwi humility and rock attitude.
Black Sabbath will headline again at Vector tomorrow night.