Last year it was announced that Black Sabbath would reunite with the original four members yet again, but with a new twist.
They would actually record an album of new material, the first with the original four members in thirty-three years.
It was then announced Rick Rubin would be producing, and the reunion was reportedly a result of his prodding and poking the original members to work together again.
Being a big Black Sabbath fan this was definitely exciting news, but it sure didn’t take long for all this to hit several snags. First original drummer Bill Ward quit in disgust when he wasn’t getting the business deal he wanted, with many blaming the heavy hand of Sharon Osbourne, then riff master general Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma.
Because of Iommi’s health, instead of doing a full blown world tour this year, Sabbath would only play one North American show, Lollapalooza in Chicago on August 3. The reviews for the show were mixed, with several pointing out Ozzy’s performance problems. As we’ve seen on The Osbournes reality show, many years of heavy duty drug abuse have definitely taken their toll on the man, and several reviews wondered how much longer he can keep going.
Entertainment Weekly wrote, “The set list was unimpeachable,” and “Ozzy still has the will of a manic frontman, but neither his body nor his voice seem to be able to match his intent, and he seemed vaguely off for the better part of the evening.”
For some reason, there was also a lengthy drum solo, which Sabbath never did before, and perhaps it was to give the band a break, because EW remarked the band came back strong in the last round. “Should they keep going? The jury is still out.”
Rolling Stone also wrote, “Sabbath’s star power laid squarely in the hands of guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler. With Osbourne’s voice noticeably lacking, the well-oiled twosome held things together.” Onstage, Ozzy also called Iommi “the true Iron Man,” and it’s always good to see Tony riffing it up come hell or high water.
The set list was, in order, Black Sabbath, The Wizard, Behind the Wall of Sleep, N.I.B., Into the Void, Under the Sun, Snow Blind, War Pigs, Electric Funeral, Sweet Leaf, Symptom of the Universe, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, Dirty Women, Children of the Grave, and the encore was Paranoid.