The metal icons played the Philadelphia leg of the fundraising concerts on July 14, 1985, which marked the first time the original line-up – featuring Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward – had appeared on stage since 1978.
Reflecting on the show for SiriusXM’s ‘Live Aid Look Back: 35 Years Later’, Iommi said: “It was great. It was great being with the guys again. It was a bit surreal, to be honest, because, basically, I had been in the studio working. It was an unusual thing for me to come from the studio, and then suddenly, here we are, in the next couple of days, on stage in front of all the people.”
Iommi explained that the band rehearsed for just one hour before making their return at the charity show.
“We’d never really done that before. We’d always sort of rehearsed for a proper show for a while,” he said.
“But this was a quick rehearsal for an hour or whatever it was, and then the next day, of course, on stage. So it was a bit nerving, because you don’t know how things are gonna go with the equipment and all this stuff. We hadn’t been on stage together for so long. You have to sort of suck it and see what’s gonna happen.”
The Boomtown Rats singer and musician Midge Ure were the masterminds behind the 1985 fundraising concerts in London and Philadelphia.
The concerts raised more than $127 million for the victims of African famine and were watched by nearly two billion people worldwide, over 40% of the world’s population.