Telling the truth unconditionally is paramount in our line of work, and while it occasionally lands us in hot water, it’s far better than the alternative of lying.
Long story short, if I were to tell you that Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules was in any way a decent album, I would be worthy of the same repercussions that CBS' Dan Rather faced for his unsubstantiated report on George W. Bush’s service in the Texas Air National Guard. If I said with utmost confidence that Black Sabbath was even worthy of being called Black Sabbath while Ian Gillan and Tony Martin were vocalists, I would deserve the same infamy that NBC's Brian Williams faced for his disproven tale on covering the Iraq War from a helicopter.
The Black Sabbath that everybody knows and loves is that of Ozzy Osbourne and, although some would consider it a generous concession to include him, Ronnie James Dio. Any incarnation of the band that didn’t include either of these frontmen could, at best, be considered Black Sabbath In Name Only (BSINO).
With that in mind, let’s take a look back at all the real and significant Black Sabbath shows that took place in North Texas.
Friday, March 26, 1971 (Paranoid Tour)
Four months before the release of their seminal album Master of Reality, Black Sabbath paid their inaugural visit to our city and played exactly zero songs from the album. Considering that they had already recorded “After Forever” at this time, they could have at least given the audience a short teaser of what was to come.
Still, the Ozzman cameth, and he rolled out hits such as “Paranoid” and “Fairies Wear Boots.”
Sunday, August 24, 1975 (Sabotage Tour)
You know that scene in Almost Famous in which Patrick Fugit’s character goes to a Black Sabbath show per Lester Bangs’ orders and ends up on a wild goose chase in interviewing the derivative hard rock band of an opener? We like to imagine that’s what this show was like, because Brownsville Station opened.
Dallas Convention Center
Tuesday, October 26, 1976 (Technical Ecstasy Tour)
We’re not going to pretend that Technical Ecstasy was anywhere close to being the best Black Sabbath album, but there’s something to be said about Journey and AC/DC taking part in this tour. Unfortunately, those two bands skipped Dallas, where Boston opened.
Dallas Convention Center
Saturday, November 25 and Sunday, November 26, 1978 (Never Say Die! Tour)
Like its predecessor, Never Say Die! wasn’t a crowning achievement for the band, but a full decade after Black Sabbath’s formation did they carry out this tour with the original lineup of Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Bill Ward and Geezer Butler, and that alone justifies a two-night stand such as this one. The cherry on top? Van Halen opened both nights.
Dallas Convention Center
Saturday, July 5, 1980 (Heaven and Hell Tour)
Osbourne’s replacement, Dio, was certainly not ideal, but as Black Sabbath made painfully clear a mere two years later, any other contender for the vacancy would inflict profound injustice on the band’s good name. Dio was a talented and versatile singer, and to his credit, Heaven and Hell wasn’t the botched abortion of an album that Mob Rules was.
The tour that accompanied this actually-pretty-decent album rolled through Dallas, and Riot opened.
Coca-Cola Starplex Amphitheatre
Sunday, June 1, 1997 (Ozzfest/Black Sabbath Reunion Tour)
Technically, Black Sabbath was still together before Ozzy's grand return in 1997, but not in any way that matters.
Not only did the original members, sans Ward, return to headline Ozzfest, they even co-headlined the affair with Osbourne’s eponymous solo band. Pantera, Type-O-Negative, Neurosis and others opened.
Other subsequent Ozzfest appearances
Black Sabbath made a triumphant Ozzfest return to Dallas in 1999, where Rob Zombie, Deftones, Slayer, Primus, System of a Down and Slipknot opened. Later years include 2001, 2004 and 2005.
Thursday, May 3, 2007 (Heaven & Hell Lineup w/ Ronnie James Dio)
So Heaven & Hell was a band that Dio formed with Butler, Iommi and Vinny Appice, and while that’s not Black Sabbath per se, two original members plus one ancillary member with respect for his name shouldn’t not be considered Black Sabbath.
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Wednesday, September 7, 2016 (The End Tour)
Heritage acts of Black Sabbath’s caliber have an infamous tendency to cry wolf when it comes to retiring, but Osbourne’s checkered medical history made the fact that the tour was the band’s last a relatively safe bet.
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