Written by Adam Waldman
Earlier this week, Black Sabbath posted the image above. It states the beginning and end dates of the band. The image was posted with no parting words, just #TheEnd. After an 81-date tour, appropriately dubbed The End, Sabbath returned home to Birmingham for a sold-out final show. To be clear, this looks like the end of the touring days for Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler, but Iommi has previously stated that one-off shows could still happen in the future.
“I wouldn’t mind extending the tour for another few gigs. There’s a lot of people who won’t get to see us, but I don’t think that it’s going to happen. We started off as four guys from Aston who had a dream, and it came true beyond our wildest dreams. We were manipulated, ripped off, conned. We lost each other within each other. But it’s great to have got this back just to end on a high note.”
If any band has earned the right to call it a day, it’s Black Sabbath. There is nothing left to prove after 49 years. The remaining members from the original lineup are all pushing 70 years of age. Most bands probably would have tried to extend the tour to make it to an even 50 years, but Sabbath isn’t most bands. Maybe they’ll come back for a show or two to celebrate their 50th anniversary; maybe they won’t. It doesn’t matter.
Selfishly, fans would like to see Black Sabbath tour forever, myself included. This band has not only provided the soundtrack to the lives of generations of fans, but they are the ones that laid the foundation for metal and all of its subgenres.
There’s a saying that states…“don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Over the past few years, we’ve all learned the hard way that our heroes can be taken from us at any moment. I, for one, am thankful that Black Sabbath got to say goodbye on their own terms, and not because one of the members passed away.
Even if the show in Birmingham was the last time that Black Sabbath ever takes the stage, the band will live on forever (or at least as long as metal exists in any form). For my money, there is no band in the history of music that was as influential as Sabbath, and no band in the future will ever surpass their influence. If you’re a Sabbath fan, you aren’t necessarily a fan of all things metal, but if you are a metal fan, you are a Sabbath fan.
To say that this is “The End” of Black Sabbath doesn’t seem appropriate. It’s more accurate to say that the band’s touring days are over. Generations from now, there will be metal created by musicians that may never know the band, its music or its influence, but indirectly, they will have Sabbath to thank for blazing a trail for them.
Rather than saying a sad goodbye to this legendary band, I would much rather celebrate their 49-year career and offer my gratitude for all of the contributions that they made to the music that is part of who I am today, and the lifestyle surrounding it. Black Sabbath forever!