posted on June 11, 2012 11:59
Better late than never, sunshine graces the Download Arena as the stage screens go black in anticipation of the Godfathers of metal, Black Sabbath, headlining and closing out the 10 year anniversary of the festival.
An intro video of highlights is played, shamelessly thin on clips of Bill Ward who is not performing with the band tonight due to a public online spat over 'contractual issues'. It is Ozzy's tour drummer Tony Clufetos who is to take his place.
As the skies begin to darken, the maniacal signature laughter of Ozzy Osbourne can be heard behind a black curtain across the stage, which is lifted to reveal the band with huge screens featuring a flaming backdrop of the Black Sabbath logo, straight into namesake track 'Black Sabbath'.
Whilst Ozzy appears to have an abundance of energy, playing harmonica and careering about during 'The Wizard' there is a zombie-like quality to his movements these days, which is sort of disturbing, yet sort of endearing and as the band launch into 'Snowblind' Ozzy's sweat beaded brow and crazy eyes are projected on screen whilst he screams for everyone to jump.
Ozzy's second-puberty voice is crackling as he gets more excited and screams "I can't fucking hear you" repeatedly, and the stage goes black once more for the air-raid sirens of the iconic 'War Pigs'. Thousands yelling out the lyrics "Generals gathered in their masses" is a spine-tingling thing to witness and Black Sabbath absolutely blast it out. Despite Iommi's public battle with illness he is shredding as hard as ever with Geezer Butler providing the signature Sabbath rhythm to the sound.
A massive Tony Clufetos fuck-you-BW drum solo makes the crowd roar as they drop into 'Iron Man' after Ozzy laments on Iommi being "The real Iron Man" and then into 'Fairies Wear Boots'. Ozzy gets down on his knees and praises the crowd, and the band encore with the inevitable 'Paranoid' and a bombardment of fireworks for a sensational finish. You might be forgiven for saying Ozzy's voice isn't quite there anymore, or that it wasn't the fast-paced go-nuts finisher of a festival, but, this is original metal, in the original home of metal, with the Prince of Darkness. It's metal cubed, and everyone loved it.