Black Sabbath in NZ

21:06, Nov 27 2012

So it was announced last week that Black Sabbath will play one New Zealand show next year as part of a world tour with the original lineup. The original lineup minus drummer Bill Ward. As I said here, Ward is crucial to the sound of Sabbath - and while it's always explained away as the easiest position to fill, I'm not sure I would want to see Sabbath without the great drummer.

Okay, so Ward might not be up to the gig anyway, he probably doesn't have the chops to play like he did over 40 years ago on the Paranoid album (listen to the whole album). Such a masterpiece, that. A couple of years back I gushed about Sabbath, particularly the Paranoid album; my favourite.

I should be excited, then, about the Sabbath announcement - it should seem exciting thatt they're playing New Zealand, 40 years after they headlined the Great Ngaruawahia Festival too.

But I just can't get excited about this.

Geezer and Tony have done nothing of interest or value since the very early days of Sabbath. I'll let them have Heaven and Hell (the first post-Ozzy album - featuring Dio). But really, by then it had long become trace-around gimmickry; all but phoned in.

And Ozzy did go on to - arguably - release some interesting solo material. And then he ruined his legacy by becoming a joke. And then the joke was well and truly killed as he became a reality TV star. Ozzy's legacy is crippling self-parody.

Also, have you heard him sing? He was never great - but he had something. Well that's long gone.

The 2008 Rock 2 Wgtn show was Osbourne's last visit to New Zealand and he sounded ghastly. And he lambasted the crowd for offering little in the way of energy - when his set seemed to exist just so he could tell the crowd to try harder while doing nothing of the sort himself.

If you asked me now or tomorrow or way back when if I was/am a Black Sabbath fan, the answer, always, is yes. I love this band.

The early albums still sound amazing to me - blueprints for a sound I've hardly ever heard bettered.

Do I want to see three-quarters of the original lineup struggle across the finishing line?

Not a chance. I'm not remotely interested.

I can't get excited about this at all.

Is that wrong? Do you believe in going along to pay your respects, as a thankyou for all the music? I used to believe in that ideal myself. Not now. It just seems sad.

Last night I took a punt on The Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group, which turned out to be his new group Bosnian Rainbows. It was amazing. It was a real treat. I'll look forward to their album but if it doesn't deliver I'll always have that gig, and the memory of it.

With Sabbath it's the reverse. I want no memories of gigs. Not now. This might seem sad to you but when Black Sabbath plays next year I'll be parked up listening to my Paranoid LP. It seems a better use of time. Don't you think?

So are you a Sabbath fan? Are you excited about the news that the band - three-quarters of it - is touring New Zealand? Or do you agree that no Bill Ward means no Black Sabbath? Or would you not go even if Ward was there?

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