Although if propped up in a wheelchair, being shuffled about the place by Sharon, Ozzy with his drooped, rumpled face would not look too out of place in your local Bupa care home, onstage this true rock legend still sounds like that spiky, yawping young Brummie who brought heavy metal to thr world. Likewise, Tony Iommi’s barrage of shrilling, apocalyptic riffs defy his lymphoma diagnosis whilst Geezer’s darting bass lines throw caution to his floppy, thinning hair.
Aside from the band’s druggy shenanigans which among many include beheading bats and doves maiming Richard Branson’s fish with some leftover pyrotechnics, and the odd bit of snorting some hapless ants through a straw, Black Sabbath with this their swan song will go down in history as one of the greatest.
On January 24, 13,000 people ushered by ScotRail’s message to ‘take the train into the void’ packed out the SSE Hydro for one last fling with the founding fathers of satanic rock n’ roll. A mass of black, patched-up, studded leather jackets and other vintage paraphernia lia flooded the north-bank of the Clyde, showing the vast hype and idolatry that has followed the band around 74 cities and 4 continents in the last year.
Ominously the curtains plunge and vanish upwards to reveal the shuddering chimes of Sabbath’s opener, ‘Black Sabbath’. Ozzy cries “I’m the chosen one” and turns to face the devil. From its crushingly heavy and sinister beginnings the track launches up into a howling, slashing guitar solo that epitomises everything that is Black Sabbath. However, amidst the headbanging and thrashing wildness of ‘N.I.B’, ‘Hand of Doom’, and ‘Rat Salad’, the more grooving, swinging sections of ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’ bring out a funky, bluesy swagger in which Tommy Clufetos really lets loose. This, with the psychedelic, rippling visual backdrop sends the crowd into a delirious frenzy.
The spiralling whirlwind of ‘Snowblind’ and the sludge of the blaring sirens of ‘War Pigs’ somewhat subdue the audience. But then ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Dirty Women’ crank everything up gain.
The customary chants of “one more tune, one more tune” leads the band into one final rendition of ‘Paranoid’. It hurtles along at a furious rate and concludes Bath Sabbath’s long relationship with Glasgow. Ozzy, with his black eyeliner trickling and swirling down his face, bows and leaves the stage to a giant banner simply saying ‘THE END’.