It’s been a sad few months for those of us who thought the Black Sabbath reunion tour would be the must-see show of 2012. A few months ago, it was announced that legendary Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer and would be undergoing treatment in the UK. This was the first sign of trouble, but a few weeks later it was reported that original drummer Bill Ward would be holding out on the tour due to contact issues. The tour which was originally branded as the Black Sabbath reunion, will now be called “Ozzy and Friends” and will only feature two of the original four members. Sounds lame, but there is still enough here to make this worthy of your hard earned cash.
The band will still play one show as Black Sabbath, and that will be the UK Download Festival in June. Iommi will be present at that date, and it should set up a memorable and emotional night for the band and fans. Iommi will be deep in his battle against cancer, and we salute his strength and courage to make this appearance. Wish we could say the same for Bill Ward, who has neither confirmed or denied he will take part in the tour amongst contract issues and lawyer babble. Come on Ward, get it done and get the bullshit over. We don’t know if he’s really getting a bad deal here, but for a reunion tour of this caliber to be derailed because of contract issues is as lame as it gets. Remember when it used to be about the rock n’ roll and not the cash? Figure it out dudes.
With Iommi only available to play one date, Ozzy has enlisted some other legendary guitarists who he has played with before- Slash and Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society. No need to really introduce those two, but they’ve played with Ozzy before and you don’t get much better replacements than that. Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler will be playing all the dates, which at least gives fans half of the original lineup to see every night. The tour has been cut down to less than 20 dates, with none occurring in the US at this point.
Yes, this is disappointing news for fans and especially the fact that Iommi was absolutely on board for this until the health issues came up. The most important thing is that Iommi gets back to good health, and that the show will go on, even though some of the members might be a little different, but just as recognizable and capable.
The remaining “Ozzy and Friends” tour dates:
May 23: Helsinki, Finland (Hartwall Arena)
May 25: Stockholm, Sweden (Stadium)
May 27: Jelling, Denmark (Jelling Festival)
May 29: Bergen, Norway (Bergen Calling Festival)
May 31: Oslo, Norway (Spektrum)
June 2: Malmo, Sweden (Malmo Stadium)
June 4: Dortmund, Germany (Westfalenhalle)
June 6: Prague, Czech Rep (O2 Arena)
June 10: Donnington UK (Download Festival) — as Black Sabbath
June 15: Vitoria, Spain (Azkena Rock Festival)
June 17: Clisson, France (Hellfest)
June 22: Dessel, Belgium (Graspop Metal Meeting)
June 24: Milan, Italy (Gods of Metal Festival)
June 26: Vienna, Austria (Stadthalle)
June 28: Belgrade, Serbia (USCE Park)
July 1: Athens, Greece (Rockwave Festival – Terra)