Concert review: Black Sabbath, Vector Arena

By Troy Rawhiti-Forbes

Ozzy Osbourne performs with Black Sabbath during The End farewell tour.
Ozzy Osbourne performs with Black Sabbath during The End farewell tour.

One Prince has fallen already this month, but the Prince of Darkness and his closest comrades are marching on to a fate of their choosing.

In a year when music legends have been vanishing like sparks in the night, Black Sabbath have been taking full, joyous control of their final chapter; delivering defiant farewells nation by nation, city by city, show by show, until millions have finally seen The End.

Unlike fellow Brit David Bowie, whose beautiful and vital valedictory was delivered as rhyme and riddle in his stunning final album Blackstar, the fathers of heavy metal have been as clear as a starry night to their fans worldwide: "Go f***ing crazy" now, or forever hold your peace.

In Auckland, at Vector Arena, there was no peace to be held. Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath's one constant member, rained riffs down on Geezer Butler's basslines which were as tight and as mighty as an audience should expect from a professional of 50 years' experience.

Behind the drums, journeyman drummer Tommy Clufetos channeled the power of the band's original glory days.

Vector Arena has played host to this mighty unit before. In 2013, the Herald hailed the return of an Ozzy Osbourne-led Black Sabbath to New Zealand for the first time since 1973 as a "set to remember" with a glow that may last another 40 years.

Thankfully only three years' worth of afterglow were required, but the radiance of this final performance will have to shine forever. As a band leaving not at the peak of its powers but with plenty of fight, it is the right way to go. The only way to go - 2016 and its George RR Martinesque approach to rock history be damned.

The show, and the night, belonged to Ozzy, now rivaling Keith Richards as rock n' roll's greatest survivor. To a grateful audience, he was a lightning rod of charisma and energy, leading clapalongs and playing the role of a pantomime artist extraordinaire.

To his bandmates, he was the glowing thread stitching the thunderous fabric of their timeless music together.

To the world, Black Sabbath are true originals. We will never see their like again.

* What did you think of the show? Post your comments below.

- NZ Herald

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