They say all good things must come to an end, and with Black Sabbath that time has finally come with the band having retired following their farewell tour. It’s an odd time to do it – a year short of their 50th anniversary, but sadly they’re not young any more and retirement was inevitable. Happily though their final show of the farewell tour, which took place in Birmingham in February, was filmed and is now being released on DVD.
It’s available in multiple formats – CD, BluRay, DVD, CD/DVD or Vinyl. With the DVD/CD package, you get the full concert on DVD plus “The angelic sessions” as a bonus feature. The CD with it only contains the Angelic sessions rather than being a live CD of the concert. If you want the concert on CD then you’ll have to buy the CD version.
With any live DVD you should be able to rely on knowing you’ll get top quality audio and high quality video too, and in most cases that is true (sadly some bands release substandard video though), and certainly with this release the audio is excellent. The video too is very good – a few minor issues with the lighting not really working well for video, but overall it’s high quality. The show was filmed with multiple cameras and importantly it’s been edited well. The editing of shows is often the bit that makes or breaks a live release – too few changes of camera angle can lead to it feeling a bit dull, while too many is distracting, but when you get it right as they have done here then it works perfectly to show all the action without being distracting.
So, it’s all good in terms of quality, but what about the show itself? Well it’s a pretty damn good demonstration of what made Black Sabbath such an iconic band. The show is packed with some of the greatest metal songs ever written, and it’s both fantastic to hear but also slightly sad as it sinks in that they’ll never be touring again. Ozzy is the usual focus of criticism and when you see him on TV he usually comes across as a shuffling old man, but put him on stage and the energy from the crowd seems to revitalise him and he’s a lot more mobile. Sure his voice isnt as good as it used to be in his youth, but so what – it’s still Ozzy and his voice still works with those Sabbath classics. I suspect the setlist was probably chosen to omit the songs he’d struggle with, but it’s still a great setlist.
A great DVD of the final show of a legendary band.