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Flying Solo at My First Black Sabbath Concert

Flying Solo at My First Black Sabbath Concert

 

 

I’ve never been so sad to leave a concert.

After driving seven hours by myself from Minneapolis to Tinley Park, a Chicago suburb that gathers some of the strangest people for concerts at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, I wasn’t tired… I was ready to rage.

Once I arrived and saw all the crazy Black Sabbath fans drinking beer outside my hotel, I got an indescribable adrenaline rush. I finally made it! I’m 22 years old and I’m about to lose my mind at Black Sabbath. After all the stressful traffic and $20 in toll fees, I was more than relieved to be there – I was excited as hell. I took one of the best showers of my life and had a couple beers in my nice, big room that I had all to myself. I even made some friends down the hall who ended up paying for my cab ride to the concert. Tonight I was one lucky gal.

Once I got to the show I wandered around for a bit and ended up meeting a ton of people from all over the place. The beer line is the absolute best place to meet crazy fuckers. The two overflowing Bud Lights I bought suddenly became a burden when I heard Ozzy laughing and yelling out to us from behind the curtain.

I booked it down to the floor, beers in hand, without even glimpsing at my seat, and got as close to the stage as I could. I almost passed out when I looked up and saw Tony Iommi shredding in my face. It was like everything I ever wanted in the world was becoming a reality. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long. I got escorted to my seat at the end of War Pigs, but as soon as Into the Void started playing I knew I couldn’t stay back there. They were nice seats but I’m stubborn and have bad eyes so I couldn’t see anything. I found an open seat about four rows up and managed to stay there through Under the Sun/Every Day Comes and Goes.

As soon as Ozzy announced Snowblind, I realized I couldn’t possibly release the way I needed to in this little amount of space. I had to find a spot with at least two or three open seats. The lack of space was the biggest issue for me. Sabbath fans need room to rage, and there was no pit at this venue. It didn’t hold me back any, it just pissed off the majority of people around me.

Most people were cool about it and were going crazy themselves, but I did run into a handful of uptight suburban folk at this concert. Seriously, why the hell did you come to see Black Sabbath if you’re going to stand there like a stone cold statue? Ozzy wants to see you move! You gotta show him your fucking hands!

From the start of the show I was really excited to see which songs off 13 they were going to play. By the time Age of Reason began, I found myself in an even closer seat next to some true Sabbath fans. But that wasn’t even the best part: I was standing directly in front of Ozzy; I was in his sight. I know I might sound crazy – and I do seem to say this other concerts I’ve seen – but this time I’m certain Ozzy and I locked eyes.

I was the only crazy blonde chick in his line of view shaking my hair and jumping up and down like a mad woman. There is absolutely no way he didn’t see me. I reached out to him, screamed out how happy I was and went completely insane. Closer to the end of the show he even said “Alright, we’ll play another song but only if you go fucking crazy!” I know he probably wasn’t just talking to me, but whatever Ozzy says, goes.

As the show continued, I ended up climbing up on two chairs in front of me so I could move my arms around without jabbing anyone in the face. This is the point where I began to lose it. The band took it back to the beginning and played Black Sabbath – the first track and one of the heaviest songs off their first self-titled album. The blues/heavy metal mix of the album helped pave the way for everything Sabbath went on to illuminate.

The performance was actually frightening and my entire body became covered in goosebumps. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Ozzy was drenched with a mix of sweat and water that he had poured on himself, and the eerie voice he used when he sang the first lyrics of the song: “What is this that stands before me / Figure in black which points at me” will forever replay in my mind and bring me back to that moment. I was craving old school Black Sabbath at this concert and I got a heavy dose of it.

Next came Behind the Wall of Sleep and N.I.B. – which has some of my favorite Iommi guitar moments in Sabbath history. I was still standing on the chairs at this point, singing along word for word with Ozzy. As Iommi prepared himself for his moment (which he did so in the most nonchalant, badass way) I let everything go. Some force took over me and I almost fell off the chairs. After that I was kindly asked to go back to my seat by the two young pretty boys in front of me whose hair I was basically ripping out during my rage blackout. I can say that I successfully made love to Black Sabbath during that set.

There was no way I was returning to my seat. As I noticed the two open seats a couple rows up, I actually cried with excitement. This was my moment. Sabbath continued on with End of the Beginning, which was terrifyingly pleasurable. I cried so hard at the end of that song. The lyrics are breathtaking – “Don’t look back live for today, tomorrow is too late.” In fact, all of the lyrics from 13 are beautifully comprised. After that we went back in time yet again with Fairies Wear Boots, and I nearly lost five pounds jumping my ass off.

Drummer Tommy Clufetos had his moment during Rat Salad and his drum solo that followed. It was amazing. I have never been more inspired to learn how to play the drums in my life. Clufetos was phenomenal, and not to mention sexy as hell. My neck has never worse hurt after a night of head banging…

I loved that the guys infused their old material in with their new songs. God is Dead? followed Iron Man poetically, and allowed the band to morph their persona in order to play Dirty Woman and Children of the Grave. However, I really I missed Bill Ward’s drumming here. The way he plays Children of the Grave is unique and powerful, and I wish I could have seen that live. I also had hoped they would have played Wicked World, though I don’t know if Clufetos could have pulled it off. Ward’s style in those two songs, and many more in fact, is irreplaceable. Period.

The encore was heavy but it ended with a tease. Paranoid was fun and had the whole crowd letting loose. Zeitgeist, one of the most lyrically powerful songs off 13, started softly playing after the band said their farewell to the stage. However, it was no second encore; there was no live performance of it. It was just the studio recording playing in the background. I couldn’t believe it was over.

I was waiting on edge throughout the whole show for them play that fucking song. Being the crazy – often unsatisfied – fan that I am, I pushed through the drunken zombie like crowd to the front of the stage. I screamed out the lyrics hoping Ozzy (or someone) would hear my cries and come play for me. Man, I must have asked five or six security dudes to ask the band if they’d be interested in meeting me. All I wanted was someone to ask them for me. All I wanted was a hug.

Finally the last guy I asked told me that the band had already left. Can’t say I believed him. Hopefully, next time I’ll have more balls and more connections. OK, so I’m a bit of a groupie – and a bit dramatic – I’ll admit it. But these are my rock and roll heroes, what would you do?

There were a few moments during the show when the guys were waiting to hear someone scream out a request. As they were preparing to exit the stage, I was screaming and begging them to play Sweet Leaf. If only they could have heard me. I was too far back and my voice was completely shot.

Some other songs I would have loved to hear: You Won’t Change Me, The Writ, Tomorrow’s Dream, Hand of Doom, Sabbra Cadabra, A Bit of Finger/Sleeping Village/Warning, The Thrill of It All, and Supernaut. The truth is, I’ll never be satisfied until I hear it all.

But maybe I’m asking too much of them. They are older now and they can’t just play all night for me. They played an amazing two hour show and that wasn’t enough? What the hell is wrong with me?! It was a fantastic set but I really could have gone all night. I’m so terrified that could have been the last time I’ll ever see them.

Geezer Butler recently told the Chicago Sun Times that he thinks this tour could easily be their last. “I don’t know. I just got a feeling,” he said in the interview. “It’s getting tough, it really is. I can’t lie about that. I’m old now. It really is tough going on every night.” Man, I hope he’s bluffing. The guys played so well together and I honestly doubt this is their last tour. I mean come on, I watched Geezer Butler play with my mouth wide open; my jaw dropped to the floor every time I looked at him. I’ve never seen someone’s fingers move so fast! That’s a talent that can never get too old.

I still can’t shake the fact that I saw Black Sabbath live. I’ll never get over how close they were to me. Iommi is actually God. Ozzy sang to me and made me rock out harder than I ever have before. I literally felt I was doing aerobics at one point. He made me sweat, and when it was time to recuperate between songs, he was like a goddamn yoga instructor preparing the crowd for what was about to proceed.

I am incredibly happy that I got to experience my first Black Sabbath concert on my own. I had the absolute freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted. I bounced around through the crowd and had nothing holding me back. The only thing I regret is not having more courage to sneak down to the front row. But I’ve been kicked out of concerts for being too reckless before and I didn’t want to risk it. There is always next time! God willing…

Black Sabbath stole my heart Friday night in Tinley Park, IL. To see Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler on stage together was a dream come true. I’ve now become infatuated with the idea of seeing them again. I’m hoping this isn’t their last tour, and I really hope Bill Ward can join them next time for a real reunion. I have yet to meet them, and I won’t settle for anything less.