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Black Sabbath Mark Their Return To the Stage With Hometown Show

Black Sabbath
Dave Hogan, Getty Images

While the Black Sabbath reunion has had a bit of a black cloud hovering over it, all of that was put to rest last night (May 19) when they returned to the stage at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, England for their intimate homecoming show to a crowd of about 4,000 people.

The show, which served as a warm-up for their upcoming appearance at the Download Festival, marked the band’s first concert since 2005 and the first in their hometown in nearly 13 years. Anyone lucky enough to score a ticket to the gig, which sold out in less than ten minutes, would see the band perform one of only a handful of shows scheduled for this year – three to be exact.

With drummer Bill Ward officially bowing out of the reunion, Tommy Clufetos quietly sat behind the kit. Clufetos also plays in Ozzy Osbourne’s band so he’s no stranger to the material.

It also marked the return of guitarist Tony Iommi, who was diagnosed with lymphoma shortly after the band announced that the original lineup was getting back together for a world tour and has been battling it ever since. Seeing him on stage seemed to invigorate not only the rest of the band but the crowd who you can hear chanting “Tony, Tony, Tony” throughout some of the fan-filmed videos.

The band powered through a set of over 18 songs that was reportedly filmed for future use. For now, check out some clips below. They opened the show with ‘Into the Void’ and their set included classic tunes like ‘War Pigs,’ ‘Iron Main’ and an encore of ‘Paranoid.’ The set list, seen below, featured songs primarily from Sabbath’s first four releases but there was a surprise or two thrown into the mix.

After the show, bassist Geezer Butler took to his website to thank the fans for the evening, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you Birmingham. Best fans ever – you brought out the best in us. It was a privilege playing for you tonight. Tony was a hero – you were the best medicine he has had. Proud to be a Brummie.”

In addition to Download Festival, Black Sabbath is set to perform at Lollapalooza this year, scheduled for Aug. 3-5 in Chicago, Ill.

Black Sabbath Set List (May 19):

Into the Void
Under the Sun
War Pigs
Wheels of Confusion
Electric Funeral
Black Sabbath
The Wizzard
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Fairies Wear Boots
Tomorrow’s Dream
Sweet Leaf
Symptom of the Universe
Iron Man
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Intro)

Watch Videos From Black Sabbath’s Show at the O2 Academy

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