By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Ask any random long-haired, denim-clad, reefer-smoking dude hanging out at the food court at Valley View mall what his favorite band is and I'll wager that one out of three says, "Black Fuckin' Sabbath!!!!" The strange thing is that if you asked the same question at a Microsoft office party, you'd most likely receive the same response. Black Sabbath is one of the heaviest, most evil, most influential rock 'n' roll bands ever. Most people think of Black Sabbath with Ozzy Osbourne as the singer, and although these days Ozzy resembles some kind of Lovecraftian, shambling, pill-damaged mound of Jell-O, I think most of us can agree upon one thing: While he used to be one of the greatest rock vocalists of all time, it's time for Ozzy to go night-night. When Ozzy was fired from Black Sabbath way back in 1979, he was in a similar state; the only difference is that he was about 150 pounds lighter and could still kind of sing. Wasting no time, Tony Iommi, kick-ass guitarist and the "brains" behind Black Sabbath, quickly snatched up another of rock's greatest vocalists, Ronnie James Dio.
Dio is not a big man; in fact, he barely breaks the 5-foot mark. But packed inside that elfin frame is an extremely powerful voice that has been blowing minds and wetting seats for more than three decades. Most Sabbath fans tend to dismiss all post-Ozzy albums as inconsequential, but just one listen to the title track of Heaven and Hell will silence any naysayers. Hopefully, this tour will help fans of Ozzy-era Sabbath realize that there is life after Ozzy, and with opening acts Megadeth and Machine Head along for the ride, there will be so much "hard 'n' heavy" in the air, concertgoers will need an aqualung to breathe. And, no, that was not a Jethro Tull reference.
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