SCOTIABANK SADDLEDOME, APRIL 20, 2014
In August, my friends and I travelled to the Gorge in Washington to see Black Sabbath play at the incredible natural amphitheatre. Not to be that guy, but nothing could surpass that experience, to the point where I was worried seeing them again in Calgary would detract from it. It didn’t. Instead, witnessing the more or less identical set list simply reaffirmed the memories of the first time around, despite the punishing Saddledome environment.
The obnoxiously energetic opening act did their best Black Keys impression, which included the frontman half-assing both drums and guitar at the same time. That gimmick would make sense if he didn’t already have a perfectly competent backing band. Reignwolf they were called, and they kept asking me if I was satisfied. I was not, but I would be.
Black Sabbath’s set was exactly that, completely and totally satisfying. They played a greatest hits style set-list with a few new tracks that, while falling flat on the overproduced 13 album, actually sound raw and doom-y in a live setting. The sound was exceptional, especially Geezer’s bass tone, which highlighted one of my favourite tracks, “N.I.B.” In fact, they played most of my favourites, although I would have welcomed a more obscure track or two. Ozzy was a bit flat and looked dangerously like he was just going through the motions, but can you blame him? This is not about seeing the band in their prime, it’s about seeing the most influential heavy metal band in history one last time, and for that, it was more than satisfactory.
By Ian Lemke
Photos by Sarah K