In 2017, Black Sabbath performed the two final gigs of their touring career in Birmingham.
Their retirement stint was not particularly memorable for the band due to the absence of founding member and drummer Bill Ward.
Bill was not part of that line-up and now, Ozzy Osbourne is insistent that it should have been the four of them playing out the final set of gigs.
The four original members were Osbourne, Ward, guitarist Tony Iommi, and bassist Geezer Butler. All four were supposed to comprise of the live line-up when the band announced a final reunion in 2011, but due to what was described as an “unsignable” contract, Ward pulled out.
Meanwhile the final Black Sabbath album, 13 was recorded with Brad Wilk, who was the drummer with Rage Against the Machine and Tommy Clufetos replaced Ward behind the kit on what turned out as a very successful farewell tour.
According to Ozzy, the band didn’t feel that Ward was up to a tour as he was not in great physical health at the time. CoS revealed what Osbourne said about the farewell tour in a recent interview:
“I didn’t like the fact that Bill Ward wasn’t there, for a start. People put that down to me, but it wasn’t me, honestly. We didn’t have the f*cking time to hang around, we had to get going, but I’m sorry it didn’t work out with Bill.”
He added that it should have been ended with Bill in tow:
“Tommy did great, but the four of us started this, and it should have been the four of us ending it. Those final gigs in Birmingham were bittersweet because you think of how far we came, and how much we did, and it would have been good to have shared that together. Maybe one day there’ll be one last gig, I don’t know.”
When Osbourne spoke to the Philadelphia Inquirer last year, he mentioned that the final Sabbath tour was not such a positive time for him: “With them, I’m just a singer. With me [as a solo act], I get to do what I want to do. I was getting bad vibes from them for being Ozzy. I don’t know, what the f*ck else can I be?”
There may be a reason to hope that Sabbath will call a final show with Bill Ward on the drums, but while that idea is in negotiations, Ozzy will be touring Europe and North America in 2020. He had to postpone all 2019 dates due to illness and a fall that resulted in serious injuries.
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