Live at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario on April 13th, 2014.
Black Sabbath is one of those bands that need no further introduction. When I heard that they would stop by at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, I purchased my ticket at a surprisingly fair price. The ticket was in fact much cheaper than what I would usually spend on a ticket for a match of the Ottawa Senators who didn’t play very well this season to say the least. The problem with this location is that it’s really far away from the city centre. One has to take the express line for around forty-five minutes to get there and after the concert one has to hurry up to catch the last ride back because a taxi from that location back to downtown would cost a little fortune.
I arrived at time for the concert though in a crowded bus. It was a quite colourful crowd as well. Some poor people were running around in front of the location in the hope to sell some tickets at quite expensive prices that they had bought earlier. From children and teenagers up to old fans who could have been as old as my parents or even older, there were all kind of people attending this event. To my surprise, some seats were still empty though, I would guess that there were around fifteen to twenty percent of the places still available at the start of the show. I had found a spot with a perfect view between a two generation family that had taken some seats that didn’t belong to them including an older and slightly drunk woman who really rocked out that night and a young couple consisting of a Toronto Blue Jays fan and his Muslim girlfriend.
Before the British legends hit the stage, there was an opening act that was very well received by the crowd that started to perform around eight o’clock for forty minutes or so. They went on stage with a really dissonant sound and started to jam around before they kicked off their show. The band is called Reignwolf and plays rather dirty garage hard rock. To me, it sounded like a retarded brother of Muse with some unclean alternative rock influences and I didn’t really like it. Instead of communicating with the crowd or playing a few more songs, the guitarist and singer preferred to pose around and play drums and guitar at the same time at some time. The crowd enjoyed it but I thought it was rather childish and embarrassing. Reignwolf’s performance ended as weird as it began as they left the stage without any words. For a while, I wasn’t sure if this was just another element of their show or the end for real. Thank God, it was the end of their performance.
Then, it was time for the best concert I have ever seen so far in my life. Before the show started, one could already hear Ozzy Osbourne talking to the crowd. I had heard many things about Ozzy Osbourne and most people tend to say negative things about him but that night I met a dynamical and sympathetic entertainer who performed all of his material very well and who had amazing interactions with the fans right from the start. I couldn't think of a better frontman than him.
The band hit the stage around nine o’clock for around two powerful hours. The visual effects with a big screen showing some interesting clips including mostly half naked women and Occult elements were catching my attention but there was a lot going on onstage as well. Ozzy Osbourne sang like a young God, Geezer Butler was precise as a Swiss clockwork, Iommi underlined his reputation as the master of the riffs and drummer Tommy Clufetos was a true powerhouse behind the kit and delivered the most gripping drum solo I have seen in concert so far. The band played tighter than many bands that are half as old which really surprised me after all this band has been through. Their performance was even a lot stronger than on the “Live… Gathered In Their Masses“ DVD that I had purchased a few months ago.
The set list was like a dream coming true and I say this as someone who is not even a die-hard Black Sabbath fan. The band opened the show with the amazing “War Pigs” and from the first few lines on, the entire crowd was cheering and singing along with the Prince of Darkness. Even the songs I appreciate less on the records such as “Age Of Reason” were simply amazing live. In fact, every song was hitting the crowd very hard and there wasn’t any filler material included that night.
My three personal favourite songs were the amazing bass solo “Bassically” followed by the charismatic “N.I.B.”, the melancholic new single “God Is Dead?” and the heavy anthem and perfectly chosen encore “Paranoid” after minute-long standing ovations following the end of the regular set with “Children Of The Grave”. During the entire concert, I was singing and yelling along, playing air bass, air guitar and air drums. The whole location was filled with a magical and raw energy. I really wished this concert would never stop.
Once the concert was over, I didn’t want to buy a t-shirt for an exaggerate price of forty-five dollars but I simply had to buy it to cherish the best concert I have seen so far in my life. Almost everybody present that night had the same idea. When I took the bus back to downtown, fans were still cheering and singing during the forty-five minute long ride. Time went by so fast after this concert that the long ride in the crowded bus seemed to last twenty minutes only. Over the next few days, I completed my Black Sabbath discography with a few more records and I can’t stop listening to them right now. I really liked the band before and I have known them for many years but since this concert, I consider myself a real fan. It was an almost mind-changing experience. Whenever I get the chance to see this band again, I will definitely be there and you should do the same as long as these legends are still around.
Photos taken from www.daily-rock.ca and www.ticketmaster.com
Live at Southam Hall, National Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario on March 30th, 2014.
Some people might say that progressive rock legends Yes are not worth to be mentioned on a metal portal but I guess I have to disagree. The influence of this band on several progressive metal acts and on rock music in general is so important that I think it’s worth to cover the band’s recent tour that let them through Canada. I was lucky enough to catch them up in Ottawa where the band performed in the stunning National Arts Centre in the beautiful Southam Hall in the heart of Canada’s capital.
The band delivered a visually stunning, technically appealing and emotionally convincing concert of around two hours without any opening act. Yes performed three of its legendary records in their entirety. After a nice visual introduction of these albums underplayed by the sounds of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Firebird Suite”, the band hit the stage to perform its milestone “Close To The Edge” in a psychedelic and spiritual atmosphere. New singer Jon Davison didn’t feel out of place at all with the older members Steve Howe on guitars, Chris Squire on bass guitar, Geoff Downes on keyboards and Alan White on drums and percussion. His vocals recalled the performances of original singer Jon Anderson in his best years. He was visibly enjoying his presence on stage and the band conquered the quite mixed crowd by storm. The band went on to perform the famous “And You And I” as well as the atmospheric masterpiece “Siberian Khatru” to close the performance of this record that can easily be cited as one of the best progressive rock albums ever made.
Up next was the album “Going For The One”. While it’s not the band’s strongest output in my opinion, I think that it’s still a fairly underrated record. The five songs from the album worked very well on stage and were almost as captivating as the first three tracks of the set. The vivid rock and roll anthem “Going For The One”, the floating “Turn Of The Century” and the highly diversified “Awaken” were probably my personal highlights. The band did a short intermission of around twenty minutes after this second part of the set which gave me some time to have a drink at a surprisingly reasonable price and to realize that the merchandise section of the band was rather expensive and incomplete.
Last but not least, the band went back to its early days by performing “The Yes Album” in its entirety. While the record is not as strong as “Close To The Edge” in my opinion, it is quite close and the live performance was really magical with classics such as “Yours Is No Disgrace”, “Starship Trooper” and “I’ve Seen All Good People”. At this point, the crowd on the three different levels of this theatre truly celebrated the band with standing ovations after each song. By the end of the last song of the regular set, nobody in the crowd wanted the band to go.
Yes came back to perform a very last track, the sophisticated and technically challenging “Roundabout” from their “Fragile” album. While the song is surely great, it’s not the best track to close a concert with in my humble opinion. On the other side, it was simply great to see this legendary band play for such a long time even though one could see that bassist Chris Squire was struggling with his leg after suffering from an aneurysm in 2009.
In the end, the British progressive rock legends played a great concert around two hours plus a short intermission in a very beautiful and sophisticated location for a reasonable price. The band will continue to tour the United States of America all summer long with a live performance of the entire “Close To The Edge” and “Fragile” records. As one never knows how long these five men will still be able to tour the world at their age, anybody who cares for progressive music should try very hard to catch them up. It’s really worth it.
Photos and videos taken from Yesworld.com and Youtube.