Every man, woman, and child that ever professed to love Heavy Rock, all love Black Sabbath. The legendary band, who in their original four-man format, developed the blueprint that countless bands have followed. The innovators, the originals, and the inventors of a musical style and genre. Although the lineup, and as such the musical output, has been slightly diluted over subsequent years (post-Dio), the reunion shows which I attended for 2 sold-out nights in Birmingham in 1997 for many was the true farewell. It featured all four original band members. I will not go into the relative band politics which led to Bill Ward not being included in both of the band’s final 13 albums, or indeed its subsequent farewell tour.
To review this DVD is to examine the band’s final show – its relative merits and, if any, its subsequent failings.
The track listing itself is presented as anthem after anthem. Certainly, no surprises but at the same time, each carries an air of pathos and poignancy for knowing that this would be the last ever time that the tracks would be played before a live audience. For me personally, in recent years the lure of the legends has slightly dimmed purely in light of the limitations of Ozzy’s vocal style. Sure, he’s always been an entertaining visual presence on stage. However, in recent years his vocal failings have become sadly ever more apparent. There were never any reservations about the talents of Tony Iommi or Geezer Butler. The enthusiasm and energy levels are consistent throughout the performance from the fans and also the band. Slight traces of sadness and some visible recollections from the band as the set draws to its conclusion. A great farewell and send off to the heavy metal legends, I hope that they are not tempted back time after time to tarnish that legacy.
I particularly like the studio tracks attached to the Live DVD as extras, as the band returns to play four songs that did not actually feature on the final live tour. The bonhomie and joie de vivre between the three musicians is clearly apparent as they reflect just how far they have traveled on their musical journey since they first started out in Aston Birmingham all those years ago. The End concert certainly marks the conclusion of Black Sabbath as a live entity. However, it’s just a footnote in an everlasting legacy that will prevail for eternity.