Back when Jennifer and I first met, we quickly found a common interest in music, though our tastes differed. I preferred more aggressive bands in the punk and metal genres while she liked country and ‘70s pop. I was in a band at the time and she thought that was cool, but she may have had second thoughts when she found out we had original songs called Death Threat From My Mom and Working in the Missile Silo. And I shuddered a bit when she told me that her favorite place to hang out was a country bar called Toad Holler. Toad Holler.
But we eventually found a lot of common musical ground and even expanded each other’s tastes. To this day, she taps her foot and sings along with AC/DC and the Ramones, while I listen to Patsy Cline on the car radio even when she’s not there.
We still do make occasional sacrifices for each other in attending live shows, though. She found nothing interesting about the Rush concert a few months ago, and it took every ounce of courage I could muster to take her to the Australian Bee Gees show in Vegas a while back. (I even went the extra mile and broke out my best disco moves on the dance floor toward the end of the performance.)
Jennifer made perhaps her biggest musical sacrifice last night by attending the Black Sabbath show in Omaha with me. They are a little dark for her, and she was concerned for her immortal soul. (Apparently, Part I of this blog didn’t seem to make her feel better.) And she had her concerns about what the crowd might try to get away with.
Of course, she had no reason to worry about either thing. With the average age of the audience nearing the age of the band members themselves and with a security frisking so thorough that I expected a tip afterwards, there wasn’t much illegal tomfoolery going on.
And all Black Sabbath conjured up was the heaviest of metal from the bowels of rock-n-roll Mordor. All in their late 60s (hired-gun drummer Tommy Clufetos is 36), the band can still deliver the goods. Giving fans all the “hits” and a few more obscure gems, they rocked as hard as a band can for two solid hours. Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler have influenced virtually every guitarist and bassist who has ever turned their amps up to 11, and their playing was still as tasty and technically proficient as ever. Given what Ozzy Osbourne has put his mind and body through over the years, he probably shouldn’t even be able to walk on a stage. So when he was on pitch for maybe three out of every four songs and didn’t teeter into the first row, that was okay with me. Many long-time fans are upset that original drummer Bill Ward is not onboard for this farewell tour, but Clufetos guided all the awesomeness with the power and subtlety of a jackhammer.
The show had some cool pyrotechnics and video boards, but at its heart it was an old-school, no-frills concert with the music at the forefront. Near perfection from the guys that invented heavy metal. Go see them.
And Jennifer’s review? When I asked her what her favorite song was, she grinned and answered, “I liked them all the same.” Then on the way home, Paranoid came on the radio and she asked, “Did they play this one?” That would be kind of like me asking if the Aussie Bee Gees had played Stayin’ Alive, but she’ll probably remember the song the next time it comes on—then quickly change the station.