Ozzy Osbourne with Black Sabbath at Shoreline Amphitheatre. Photo by Geoffrey Smith.
Ozzy Osbourne’s notorious drug-fueled career in 70s and 80s is the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll cliché—how is the guy still standing after more than 40 years? What isn’t cliché is the performance Black Sabbath delivered Monday night at a nearly sold out Shoreline Amphitheatre.
For two hours, the iconic hard rock band ran through four decades worth of songs with the same churning persistence that brought Sabbath international fame and cemented the group as one of the founding members of the heavy metal genre.
The band set the tone opening with “War Pigs” as Ozzy jumped in place holding the mike stand. Guitarist Tony Iommi hit his classic two-chord riff and solo like it wasn’t a big deal, Geezer bobbed cooly with his bass and tour drummer Tommy Clufetos added some muscle behind double kick drums topped with an arsenal of toms, cymbals and a giant gong.
Ozzy screamed “I can’t fucking year you” and “let me see your fucking hands” about a thousand times, dunked his head in buckets of water, blessed the crowd with the leftovers and told us “It’s fucking great to be crazy.” And it was great to be a Sabbath fan with nearly flawless takes on classics “Snow Blind,” “Black Sabbath,” “Sweet Leaf,” “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Iron Man” and “Children of the Grave.”
Newer songs like “God is Dead?” from this year’s full-length 13 were met with less enthusiasm but stayed in form enough to fit with older songs and keep the crowd’s interest. Clufetos added to the mix with an epic extended drum solo midway through the set.
The night peaked with the Iommi’s best guitar solo of the night on “Dirty Women” before the band hit the encore like a ’71 Camero redlining down the 101 with “Paranoid.” Despite the wear and tear, the Sabbath machine has a few miles left.