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Black Sabbath Triumphantly Return to the Concert Stage


On Saturday night, Black Sabbath played a concert for the first time in seven years — and the 4,000 fans in attendance hung on their every note.

Sabbath’s homecoming show at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England sold out in minutes, likely because it’s one of only three gigs the band is scheduled to perform this year. And while there’s been plenty of reunion-related strife since drummer Bill Ward decided not to join his old outfit on stage, Tommy Clufetos proved a more-than-capable fill-in — hardly surprising, though, since he plays in Ozzy Osbourne’s band and was already intimately familiar with Black Sabbath’s material.

But if anyone in attendance was upset about the switch, it didn’t show. Instead, the concert-goers seemed focused on the return of guitarist Tony Iommi, who’s been fighting a long battle with cancer, chanting “Tony! Tony! Tony!” throughout the evening. (You can hear some of that on the fan videos that were quickly uploaded to YouTube after the event — watch a couple below.)

Sabbath’s set included some 18 songs, opening with ‘Into the Void’ and closing with the classic ‘Paranoid.’ And after all was said and done, bassist Geezer Butler took to his website with words of gratitude for the warm hometown reception, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you Birmingham. Best fans ever — you brought out the best in us. It was a privilege playing for you tonight. Tony was a hero — you were the best medicine he has had. Proud to be a Brummie.”

If you missed Saturday night’s show, you’ll have two more chances to catch Black Sabbath in concert this year: June 10 at the Download Festival in the UK, and at Lollapalooza, which takes place August 3-5 in Chicago.

Black Sabbath’s May 19 Setlist:

‘Into the Void’
‘Under the Sun’
‘War Pigs’
‘Wheels of Confusion’
‘Electric Funeral’
‘Black Sabbath’
‘The Wizzard’
‘Behind the Wall of Sleep’
‘Fairies Wear Boots’
‘Tomorrow’s Dream’
‘Sweet Leaf’
‘Symptom of the Universe’
‘Iron Man’
‘Dirty Women’
‘Children of the Grave’
‘Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Intro)’

Watch Black Sabbath Play at the O2 Academy in Birmingham

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