Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
You wouldn't have guessed it was a weeknight judging on the amount of tailgating going on in the parking lots of Verizon Wireless in Irvine for Wednesday night's concert, featuring the Godfathers of heavy metal music, Black Sabbath.
Everywhere you looked, the band's impact was felt. From the parents with their families to the younger couples, visibly not even as old as the band itself, the music of Black Sabbath has to only survived the test of time it has united and impacted the lives of fans spawning three generations.
Irvine Police gave a clear and known presence out side of the venue, but that didn't stop people from tailgating one bit. Black Sabbath as a solo act in concert brings out as many fans and partiers as all the OZZFEST tours combined. It was a panoramic scene of food, beer, loud music and metal heads socializing. Oh and did we say beer???? Unfortunately though, hundreds if not thousands of fans were still waiting in line to enter the venue, just as the band, took the stage at 8:30 p.m. sharp, causing a panicked mass of rabid fans rushing to the front of the line at once, making security guards work extra for their money.
Black Sabbath's monumental sound stretched all across the venue from the first row to the far corners of the lawn, all packed with fans squished together like sardines. From the onset of their two hour set, classic songs like 'War Pigs,' 'Behind the Wall of Sleep,' 'Snowblind,' 'N.I.B.' and many more hits both from older classic albums and more recent songs including the hit single, 'God is Dead,' from the new album, 13.
Fan favorites included 'Under the Sun/Everyday Just Comes and Goes,' and a very haunting rendition of the classic song 'Black Sabbath,' from the 1970 debut self-titled album.” This is one that goes back to the very beginning,” Ozzy yelled to the crowd. Ozzy's vocals (for this song in particular) sounded amazing.
Despite the fact that bassist Geezer Butler, singer Ozzy Osbourne and guitarist Tony Iommi are all over age 60, each was full of spirit and a radiance could be felt on stage that could only be described as magical. Ozzy did he best to run around, slowly bang his head and body, wave his arms madly, throw pails of water into the front row, and incite the crowd yelling a them to scream, “I can't F*****G hear you!” to the 15,000 fans in the amphitheater.
See also: Top 10 Creepiest Black Sabbath Songs
Someone lit up the skunky weed, and the scent wafted from the orchestra and lodge, for classic hallucinogenic musical tale, 'Faries Wear Boots,' the iconic hit 'Iron Man,' and the instrumental jam, 'Rat Salad,' which featured a extended (15-minute) drum solo by replacement drummer Tomy Clufteos(drummer for Ozzy's band, Rob Zombie and more), who filled in for original drummer Bill Ward. But from the sheer amount of force, soul and precision Clufetos proved that he was not just a no name fill in drummer. His smashing of the drums and tight control of the percussion stood out, among the legendary trio of musicians in the band.
After just under two hours, the band's encore included the classic 'Children of the Grave,' and perhaps the best known song, 'Paranoid.' Cheering from the audience lasted more than five minutes. The band also came out and hugged/bowed before exiting the stage.
For fans that missed this show in Orange County, Black Sabbath will be playing in Downtown, LA on Tuesday Sept. 3rd, at the LA Sports Arena.
The Crowd: With over well over 10,000 fans in attendance, this was way more diverse than just any average metal show. There were many families, and well as a younger generation of fans who also appreciate Black Sabbath. Tons of middle-aged men (40s and 50s) wearing Black Sabbath shirts, families including husband, wife and kids, couples, and tons of beautiful ladies. From long-haired stoners and hippies, to short haired punks and businessmen in suits, Black Sabbath fans come from all walks of life.
Interesting Fact: Black Sabbath have had a tumultuous yet successful past year, with Iommi's health problems(cancer treatments due to Lymphoma), and original drummer Bill Ward's public feud with and absence from the band over what he claimed to be contract disagreements. Despite this, the band has for the first time in its career earned a No. 1 record on the Billboard 200 chart, with the release of 13 earlier this year.
Overheard In the Crowd: “Man, we could have left after Warpigs, and still got our moneys worth!” said a drunken fan in an OZZY t-shirt, stumbling into the parking lot after the show ended at 10:30 p.m.. “Seriously though Ozzy's hanging in there; you can tell on every song he's hanging in there he's no spring chicken anymore, but you still gotta love him!”
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