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REVIEW: Black Sabbath rocks Tampa

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Black Sabbath AP 2012

Ozzy Osbourne of Black Sabbath performed Monday, July 29, 2013, at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. Here he's pictured with Black Sabbath at Lollapalooza on opening day in Chicago's Grant Park on Friday, Aug. 3, 2012. (Photo by Steve C. Mitchell/Invision/AP)

Black Sabbath opened and closed the show with songs from a classic album that came out more than four decades ago. But the band’s performance Monday at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa soared far above a mere stroll down heavy-metal memory lane. It amounted to an immensely entertaining, first-rate rock show that brimmed with vitality. Black Sabbath’s core original three members performed as if they still had something to prove and with the youthful pride of having just released the superb new album “13.”

Sure, Ozzy Osbourne played the stumbling, mumbling family jester for the MTV cameras a decade ago but looked and, yes, sounded great Monday. Remember, Osbourne’s voice was never the prettiest or most consistently in tune instrument even in his prime. It has deteriorated minimally and worked wonderfully reviving a slew of fan favorites and smartly selected new material that fit the setlist seamlessly.

Iommi_Kristin

Guitarist Tony Iommi on the big screen Monday during Black Sabbath's performance at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. COURTESY PHOTO / KRISTIN TATANGELO

Osbourne’s charisma, though, is what truly makes him one of the best front men working today. He hops around the stage and cajoles the crowd to wave their hands while giving props to his band mates. Osbourne repeatedly told the audience “we love you” and, at one point, said, with the utmost sincerity, “Thank you for my life.” I don’t think I was the only metal fan there who nearly shed a manly tear.

Black Sabbath interview: Tony Iommi

While not nearly the showman as his old high school pal, Osbourne, Tony Iommi’s  constantly clever, crushing and spot-on guitar work propelled the show from start to finish. The 65-year-old battling lymphoma – tour dates have been arranged around his treatment – cranked out all the amazing riffs he started composing in the late 1960s with expert precision and even worked in explosive improvisational touches. Dressed in a black frock coat, he looked and sounded every but like a stoic guitar hero, occasionally flashing a smile when Osbourne would drop by to throw an arm around his longtime friend.

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Bassist Terry "Geezer" Butler on the big screen Monday during Black Sabbath's performance at MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa. COURTESY PHOTO / KRISTIN TATANGELO

Chief lyricist Geezer Butler’s bass playing thundered throughout with him having no problem locking in with new drummer Tommy Clufetos. He’s also the drummer in Osbourne’s solo band and clearly knew the material and excelled at providing propulsive foundations with several cool personal touches. In fact the band even busted out the “Paranoid” album instrumental “Rat Salad” so Clufetos could impress with a knockout solo. (Founding Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward dropped out of recording "13" and the group’s tour because of contract disputes.)

Black Sabbath discography: Ozzy Osbourne era

The show opened with ominous air raid sirens and then Osbourne leading the super-stoked crowd of about 14,000 through a sing along of the pro-peace protest song “War Pigs,” the first song on Sabbath’s second album, “Paranoid.” The band followed with a flurry of 1970s masterworks including the cocaine ode “Snowblind,” which Osbourne joked was about the “sticky-icky stuff we can’t do anymore.”

The momentum continued with the new song “Age of Reason” and then hit a new high for the evening with the band’s signature song, “Black Sabbath,” the one most responsible for launching the whole heavy metal genre. Of course, “Iron Man” caused near pandemonium and by the time Sabbath returned to "Paranoid” to perform the title track as an encore it’s hard to image anyone leaving feeling anything but elated.

Setlist:
1. “War Pigs”
2. “Into the Void”
3. “Under the Sun/Every Day Comes & Goes”
4. “Snowblind”
5. “Age of Reason”
6. “Black Sabbath”
7. “Behind the Wall of Sleep”
8. “N.I.B.”
9. “End of the Beginning”
10. “Fairies Wear Boots”
11. “Methademic”
12. “Rat Salad”
13. “Iron Man”
14. “God is Dead?”
15. “Dirty Women”
16. “Children of the Grave”
17. Encore: “Paranoid”


Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: July 30, 2013
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