Review: Black Sabbath, Sheffield Arena

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The mood was one of dread: could this collection of calcified rockers even hope to come close to the brilliance that marked them out as progenitors of heavy rock circa 1969?

Almost five decades have passed since Black Sabbath emerged as a unique outfit cloaked equally in inky black and cod satanic majesty. The line-up has altered over the years. Yet, 43 years after their first success the classic line-up of guitarist Tony Iommi, bassist Geezer Butler and vocalist Ozzy Osbourne – drummer Bill Ward was replaced by Tommy Clufetos – proved that old doesn’t have to equal redundant. The set list represented the glory days of the 70s with songs like opener War Pigs and Fairies Wear Boots sitting comfortably alongside new (but strangely familiar) tracks from the new album, 13. And it didn’t matter that on Under the Sun Osbourne was seriously flat because for the most part his vocals equalled what he put on vinyl so long ago. It was a momentary blip in a concert that harked back to faraway days whilst proving the relevance of men whose collective age tops 250 years.