The sound of heavy metal was born nearly five decades ago in Birmingham, England by four working class men who out of desire to avoid factory jobs turned to rock ‘n’ roll. Their influence and songs live on but the band known as Black Sabbath took their final bow on Feb. 4, 2017 in front of a hometown crowd.
Dubbed “The End,” it was understandably filmed for infinite consumption by fans around the world, and there is nothing here to disappoint. The concert along with a handful of tunes members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler played shortly afterwards in a small studio are collected on DVD+CD, Blu-ray+CD, double CD, triple 180gm vinyl and a limited deluxe collector’s edition.
The band with drummer Tommy Clufetos on drums and Adam Wakeman on keyboards and guitar sound fantastic. Despite all his infamous and controversial antics, Osbourne is in strong voice while Iommi plays with extreme precision, creating timeless riffs and Butler grounds it with deep rumbling bass lines.
The hits are represented in “Iron Man,” “Paranoid,” “War Pigs,” “NIB,” “Chidren of the Grave” and “Fairies Wear Boots” but the setlist also goes deep into their catalog with tracks from “Master of Reality” (“After Forever” and “Into the Void”), “Vol. 4” (“Under the Sun” and “Snowblind”) and “Technical Ecstasy” (“Dirty Women”).
The stage lighting keeps the members in the shadows while Ozzy with white make up looks like a gleeful vampire after an all-night binge at the blood bank. But, the multi-generation crowd wasn’t there for production values. They’re on hand to pay their respects and embrace a history of anvil heavy material one last time.
For the home audience, director Dick Caruthers uses a host of camera angles, tracking shots and unobtrusive edits that keep pace with the energy of the evening.
Sadly, there was no kiss and make up moment with former drummer Bill Ward whose differences with a contract for the last tour caused him to be out of the lineup. Like the sold out crowd there, hope rested on the possibility of Ward showing up for at least one number. Still, that bit of intra-band gamesmanship isn’t enough to dull the power and success of this concert and its subsequent recording. The end.