Black Sabbath make triumphant live return in Birmingham

Heavy metal legends play first hometown gig in 13 years

Black Sabbath made their live return last night (May 19) with a homecoming gig at Birmingham’s O2 Academy.

Back in city for the first time in over a decade, Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, and Geezer Butler, together with drummer Tommy Clufetos – the replacement for original sticksman Bill Ward, whose contractual disputes with the rest of the band remain unresolved – blazed through a career spanning set to a sell-out crowd.

Billed as a warm-up for their forthcoming headline slot at this year’s Download Festival, the heavy metal pioneers opened with ‘Into The Void’ from 1971’s ‘Master Of Reality’.

Shortly after ‘Under The Sun’, the emotional crowd began chanting Tony Iommi’s name – a clear demonstration of their support for the guitarist, who is currently battling cancer. The gesture didn’t go unnoticed by Osbourne, who hugged the guitarist on behalf of the fans.

Ripping through ‘Snowblind’, the crowd – including Ozzy’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne – were once again whipped up into a frenzy, which continued throughout the rest of a set. The band treated their fans to classic tracks such as ‘War Pigs’, ‘Black Sabbath’ and ‘Iron Man’ and finished their triumphant set with ‘Paranoid’.

Posting on his website shortly after the performance, bassist Geezer Butler thanked the “best fans ever” and praised his friend and bandmate Tony Iommi.

He wrote: “Thank you, thank you, thank you Birmingham. Best fans eve r- you brought out the best in us. It was a privilege playing for you tonight. Tony was a hero – you were the best medicine he has had. Proud to be a Brummie.”

Black Sabbath played:

‘Into The Void’
‘Under The Sun’
‘War Pigs’
‘Wheels Of Confusion’
‘Electric Funeral’
‘Black Sabbath’
‘The Wizard’
‘Behind The Wall Of Sleep’
‘Fairies Wear Boots’
‘Lord Of This World’
‘Tomorrow’s Dream’
‘Sweet Leaf’
‘Symptom Of The Universe’
‘Drum Solo’
‘Iron Man’
‘Dirty Women’
‘Children Of the Grave’
‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath’

Black Sabbath will headline this summer’s Download Festival along with The Prodigy and Metallica over the weekend of June 8-10. To check the availability of Black Sabbath tickets and get all the latest listings, go to NME.COM/TICKETS now, or call 0871 230 1094.