Black Sabbath - Cruzan Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach - July 31
Better than: Seeing a legacy group perform with backing tracks
Last night, the reunited, and mostly original, Black Sabbath triumphantly returned to South Florida. It was a balmy summer night, and Palm Beach's Cruzan Amphiteatre was dense with darkly-clothed denizens of metal, all of whom had answered the call to worship at the altar of the original lords of heavy-metal.
The band has been riding the high of its first ever number one album in the United States, simply titled 13, and the energy that clogged the air prior to the legendary band's set was beyond electric.
Helping to stir the already excitable crowd into a proper frenzy was musician/personality Andrew W.K.
W.K. mounted a raised DJ tower that was set mid-stage to a roar of applause from the crowd, and then proceeded to kick Pantera's "A New Level" through the PA at full tilt as purple lighting blared up at him from below. Let's be clear when we say that we were not excited about seeing Andrew W.K. hit the play button on an iPod in lieu of an opening band: It was a serious cop out on the part of the powers that be. But, the dude played a Pantera track at really high volumes -- one of life's only remaining true joys, so we're going to kind of let it slide.
W.K.'s DJ set had no flow to speak of -- it simply relied on playing a few old favorites and a bit of air drumming -- but the highlight of his "set" came during a "spin" through Metallica's "Master of Puppets," when a heavyset, tattooed, shirtless, breathing archetype took it upon himself to further solicit a reaction from the crowd in the seats behind his row. The shirtless man stood proudly singing the lyrics to the old Metallica favorite into an imaginary microphone, gesturing for folks to rise up and get stoked with him. Eventually, another man joined him, and together they sang a duet into imaginary mics while leaning in closely to one another. The large man that instigated the glorious moment in metal karaoke walked back to his seat after some applause, violently shaking a hotdog overhead before taking a big bite. Epic.
Ozzy's familiar laugh broke through the music at one point, followed by the request: "Let me hear you!" The crowd broke into cheers and grunts and all manners of excited expression. However, it was a false alarm, and everyone quickly returned to the interest of their astronomically priced beers. Shortly after, the house music was broken yet again by the unmistakable sirens that signal the start of "War Pigs," and behind a curtain was the Prince of Darkness, his arms outstretched to greet the crowd of fans.