Well, the Summer of 1995 saw me take another journey to see Black Sabbath. Again, I trucked the 1700 miles from Dallas to Philadelphia to see them. Only this time, this would be my only chance. I did the same thing in Feb of 1994 to see them on the Cross Purposes tour, only then, they also played Dallas. Not this time. (See later in the review for more towns they're playing this time around). Philly would be my only chance. FORTUNATELY, I'm on the Black Sabbath Mailing List. The reason for this is that Black Sabbath was originally slated to play the Tower Theatre in Upper Darby on Wed the 12th. However, late the week before the concert, it was announced that the concert was moved from the 12th at the Tower to the 11th at the TLA. The problem with this is that they moved it UP a day, and not back a day, so I'm going to wager that a lot of people who bought tickets for the Tower show actually showed up there, not knowing that they had moved the concert to the night before. I'd also wager that I was the person who traveled the furthest for this show, and if I had to miss it because of this reason, I would have been ROYALLY pissed off! Also, the somewhat negative thing about this move was that the Tower holds about 5 thousand, and the TLA holds AT MOST maybe 1,000 people. The people that were there really got into the show from what I saw, but the fact that Sabbath had to move to the TLA because of not being able to sell the Tower is pretty disappointing. As a die hard, I'll go see them if there's only 20 people in the audience, but the point here is that if this is the best they can do nowadays, I'm concerned that they might not even bother coming over here anymore, since they're certainly not going to make very much money (if any at all) playing places like that. If by some chance Black Sabbath happens to SEE this review, guys, don't stop coming back. There's a ton of us that will continue to go see you until you drop. Don't ever stop coming over here (oh yeah, and play Dallas!).

The stuff for sale there was the usual stuff. They had a cross for sale that I bought on the Dehumanizer Tour, and had two styles of baseball caps, both with "Black Sabbath - Forbidden" on them. There were a couple of types of T-Shirts, only one of which I recall the style of. The shirt was black, and the front was the Forbidden album cover. The back had a giant sickle around the edge of the shirt, and at the front of the sickle was one of the characters from the Forbidden cover art. It was the guy who was on a motorcycle with what looked like pilot goggles on his head. The rest of it listed other cities on the tour. This is what the shirt had as the cities on the US Forbidden Tour.

New Haven, CT | Wilkes Barre, PA | Cleveland, OH | Columbus, OH
Clarkston, MI | Kalamazoo, MI | Chicago, IL | Milwaukee, WI
New York, NY | Philadelphia, PA | Boston, MA | New Britian, CT
Hampton Beach, NH | St. Catherines ON | Toronto, ON | Montreal, PQ
Ottawa, ON | Kitchener, ON | Minneapolis, MN | Denver, CO
Seattle, WA | Portland, OR | Eugene, OR | S.F., CA
Sacramento, CA | Los Angeles, CA | Las Vegas, NV | Phoenix, AZ


There were two opening bands on this tour. The first band is one I never caught the name of. They were already on stage before the announced start of the concert at 8PM, and they didn't say their name onstage that I can recall. They said something about being from Sweden (I think), and they sounded a lot like Type O Negative (but miunus the distintive vocals) from the 2 or 3 songs they played. They weren't bad at all, but I wish I knew who they were.

Added Later: From other reviews I've read since I originally read this, it was Tiamat. Still don't know who they are. :)

Motorhead was the other opener (same as on the Cross Purposes Tour). Lemmy said that the night of the concert was also the day their new album was released. As with the last time I saw Motorhead, I didn't know a whole lot of their material, but it was good, fast, and loud, so it was cool. Their first tune was Ace of Spades, and about 3/4 of the way through it, they blew their speaker system. There was no sound at all. It was quite funny to watch them realize that they weren't making noise, yet still playing. ;) When Lemmy realized this, he just kind of stood there, and danced in the middle of the stage, shrugging his hands like "What else can I do now?". They went off for a little bit while the roadies fixed it up, and when they came back, the guitarist had some feedback problems that were quickly fixed. Very good stuff I thought, and I usually don't dig sets by bands that I don't know the material from.

At 9.20pm Lemmy and friends took the stage. "Is anybody here who doesn't know us? We are MOTORHEAD! And we're gonna kick your asses!" Lemmy says it and proves it immediately with playing


Unfortunately, I forgot my watch, so I didn't get any start/stop times, nor do I know how long they played. However, that's sometimes good, because if I have a watch with me, I get too worried about how long they're going to play, and forget to have a good time. :) Anyway, here's the set list they played tonight.

1. Unknown (Taped Intro. See note below)
2. Children of the Grave
3. Neon Knights
4. The Shining
5. The Wizard
6. Get a Grip
7. Headless Cross
8. Iommi Solo (short)
9. Rusty Angels
10. When Death Calls
11. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
12. Can't Get Close Enough
13. War Pigs
14. Mob Rules
15. Black Sabbath
16. Heaven & Hell
17. Iron Man (encore)
18. Paranoid (encore)
19. Laguna Sunrise (Taped outro)

The taped intro is something that I don't know the origin to. I also heard this same thing on a bootleg I have from the Headless Cross tour. However, the tape played during the Headless Cross tour also included the instrumental from the HC Album, "The Gates of Hell". The Gates of Hell was not there on the tape played on the Forbidden tour. Does anyone know what this bit is?

I was so glad on the Cross Purposes tour when they retired Heaven & Hell. It's a great tune, it's done a lot for Sabbath, but I think it should have stayed down. There's a ton more material that they can play, including probably enough material that's NEVER been played live to fill a set on its own. I'd prefer that some tunes stay gone. They tried to retire Iron Man last tour, but it came back. I'd like to see some of the old classics be shelved, play some newer stuff, and move on. The ones I'd like to see retired are Iron Man, Heaven & Hell, and War Pigs. I really dig them all, don't get me wrong, but just the three of these take up a good chunk of time, and you could probably get at least 5 songs in their place.

Either that, or have Sabbath go to a 2.5 hour set! I would love a 6 hour set (or more). Go for it! :)


The stage set was well, non existant. The speaker stacks were even smaller than they were during the Dehumanizer/Cross Purposes tours, when they essentially looked the same. These were about half as long, and about half as high. Of course, the TLA in Philly is a tiny place, so it's quite possible they just didn't have room. Someone on the Sab Mailing List said there was a backdrop behind Sabbath with gravestones that had the names of Ozzy, Geezer, Ronnie, etc, on it. This was not here, but if it had any kind of size to it, I would imagine it was because of the venue. I would have liked to have seen that. The stage was really kind of like a High School stage. Not much of anything. No curtain, and a brick wall on the back. Lighting was surprisingly decent considering the place they were in, and was used well. I've seen much better light shows in gigs when there really was "no light show", but considering the small place they were in, it was quite good. They didn't have any of the problems that Motorhead had with sound, and it also sounded good. Of course, I'm a die hard Black Sabbath fan, and even if it sounded like total shit, I'd probably like it anyway. :)


Well, this is gonna be a sore spot for many readers of the Sabbath mailing list. Well, deal with it. :) I like Tony Martin. Is he the best live vocalist they've had? Of course not. Does he sound like a Dio clone? Well, he used to, but not anymore. Does he have a limited range? Yes. Was he entertaining? Most DEFINITELY YES. Tony Martin seems to have taken lessons from someone on audience participation, since he's MUCH MUCH more into the crowd and the gig than I've seen him before. I don't know if it was the fact that we were in such a small place, or something else, but Martin was much more into the show than the two times I've seen him before live with Sabbath. Also, he has a new look. He had a moustache and a goatee this time around. He most certainly took some getting used to with that. :) His command of his voice was much better this time, too. He still needed help from Geoff Nicholls on a few tracks (Headless Cross and Neon Knights), but I don't think they used any tapes this time out. He also seems to have learned how to properly play The Wizard, since they used a tape for the intro on the CPurposes tour (while Martin played the rest), but this time, Martin played the whole thing. From what I can gather, he takes his position in the band very seriously, especially if he improves his rapport with the audience, and the back Sabbath catalog. I also don't recall him blowing any lines, either. Every singer blows lines from time to time, but Martin seemed to have a habit of it for awhile there (However, no one touches Glenn Hughes's mutilation of War Pigs, if anyone has the Detroit, MI Seventh Star bootleg). Martin on the Forbidden tour really seems to have gotten his act together. I'm already a Martin fan, so I would have enjoyed it anyway, but the increased audience rapport, plus the better handling of his own (limited) vocal range, and the command of the material made it the best Tony Martin performance I've been to, or have heard on audio or video. Oh yeah, his outfit was pretty generic. Black jeans (it seemed) and shoes, and a rather long shirt that came halfway down his legs almost to his knees. He also seemed to act the roles of the songs a bit, too. For "Black Sabbath", he did the evil eye stare thing most of the time. Also, for the first time I can recall in any performance of the song "Black Sabbath", the famous laughter was done by the audience. He pointed the mike out at the audience for that, and we sang it (followed by a short laugh by Martin). The guy I went with wasn't a big Tony Martin fan, and he left the concert saying "I didn't think anyone except Ozzy could do the old Ozzy tunes, but DAMN, this guy was good!" (It was his first time seeing Tony Martin).

Added in during 2004: In re-reading my own review from 9 years ago I don't know what I was thinking about saying he has no vocal range. He certainly does - I had my head up my arse then.


What can I saw about Tony Iommi? I've liked this guy for a long time, and if it wasn't for him and his sound, I would have given up on Black Sabbath a long time ago, due to the ever shifting personnel in the band. He doesn't seem to have aged a whole lot over the last several albums. In fact, the last (to me) noticable visual change Iommi had was during the time between Born Again and Seventh Star, except his hair seems more puffed from time to time. :)

Anyway, his outfit was all black, of course, with a giant cross around his neck. The last couple of tours, and especially on the CPLive video, it seemed he had a rather heavy black jacket on, but this time it was some non-descript black clothing, and he definitely smiled a lot. I've been a Sab fan since 1981, and for years, I kept hearing the press about how Iommi doesn't smile much, and how he doesn't talk. However, on this tour, and on the two Cross Purposes shows I saw, he smiled an AWFUL lot. He may really be content with the situation as it is, which is fine with me. His solo was mercifully short. That's the one thing I've never liked about Iommi, were his solos. They always seemed to be programmed, not a whole lot of variance. In the 6 times I've seen Sabbath now since 1983, the only solo of his I really liked was the one on the Seventh Star tour. That one seemed more spontaneous than all the others.

Also, Iommi seemed to play most of the gig with his ancient red guitar that he recorded the first album with. I had heard that he still had that guitar around, and if he does, he had it converted to wireless, since Iommi was most definitely not dragged down with a cord. This gave a slightly different sound to some of the songs that weren't played on them originally. They weren't bad, just a bit different sounding at times. Overall, another stellar performance for a man who definitely has to be doing this for the love of the music these days, since he's not a commerical draw over here by any stretch of the imagination. Too bad. He produces better tunes than Ozzy and Dio musically, in my opinion. Let's see what Geezer can do on his own now. :)


This was the first time I got to see Cozy Powell live. Sabbath never came over here on the Tyr tour, and I could NOT go see Sabbath when they played in Philly on the Headless Cross tour. I was not, however, looking forward to seeing that annoyingly long solo thing Cozy does. Steve Quarrella knows what this is, but I don't. He did it on the Tyr tour, and used to do it in his Rainbow days, I think. I was disappointed that they didn't do ANY drum solo. The only thing that passed as a solo wasn't really a solo. Cozy extended the end of Heaven & Hell a bit (last tune of main set). In all the concerts I've ever been to in my life, this was the first time I was bummed that there was no solo. Cozy's one of my fav drummers, and didn't get to hear him shine. He did mix it up on a lot of tunes, playing "slightly" different drum bits. They sounded the same, but Cozy added a few new things in there that weren't there before. Sounded really great.

Added later: Dammit! Cozy left again. This was my only shot to see him with Black Sabbath, and there was no solo. I'm *REALLY* annoyed now. Bobby Rondinelli again? Ah well, the changes keep on coming. Who's left to try from that camp? Chuck Burgi? :)


Neil's going to be someone I won't write much about. The reason is that I don't know much of his material at all. I only know his stuff from the two albums he's recorded with Black Sabbath (Tyr & Forbidden), and one Whitesnake album, Slide it In. Neil is most certainly competent, and can certainly play circles around most people, but I'm rather annoyed that it wasn't Geezer. That's not particularly fair to Neil, but I'm a big Geezer Butler fan.

Anyway, regarding Neil, he seemed much more taller in person than the videos I've seen him in seemed to relay. He did play a cool bit on "When Death Calls" during the intro. In fact, this is the second time that seeing Sabbath live has rekindled interest in a song for me. Mainly due to Neil's work on the live version this tour, I got back into 'When Death Calls'. It's a great tune, but I had burnt it out by listening to it too much. (The other one was War Pigs on the Dehuamizer Tour.)

I'd like Neil to stick around for more albums and tours. I don't dislike him by any stretch of the imagination, I suppose it's my lack of familiarity with his work that gives me this rather placid opinion of him. As I sit here and think of Tyr and Forbidden, there's good work on here, and I'd like to see more. Neil's part of this review was written in Aug, almost a month after the concert; I don't recall what he was wearing right now. :)


A trooper. That's the best way I can think of to describe Geoff. Keyboards have never been that intregral to the sound of Sabbath, and when they were tried to be brought into the mix for classic tunes (War Pigs on Seventh Star tour), it didn't work usually. Geoff's been in the band now for 15 consecutive years, more than anyone else ever except Tony Iommi. Geoff's worked with everyone who's ever been in Sabbath except Ozzy. I'm somewhat annoyed that he was never listed on albums as a full member before he finally was on Cross Purposes. The only speaking I've ever heard him do was on the vid "Sabbath Story Vol 2", and I don't think he's ever had a keyboard solo. It wouldn't fit, of course, but it would be nice to see.

Since keyboard virtousity is something that doesn't get a chance to shine much on its own in Black Sabbath, it's difficult to judge him. However, just his presence alone has made several of the lineup changes work for me. I wish he had been there since 1970. Would have been cool.

In regards to this show, it was easy to see him considering the small size of the stage (and my location on the floor), but I couldn't see what he was wearing. He did come out for the bow at the end, but I was busy trying to get an Iommi pick from the floor (failed). I did see him giving Tony Martin a hand on Neon Knights, and Headless Cross, but otherwise seemed to be much like a cheerleader. I did *NOT* once see him play a guitar as has been suggested. In fact, I looked for that. Spotted him singing backup on the CPurposes tour, so I knew he did that. I'm glad to have him here, and after this long with Iommi, and after so many other people coming and going, I don't see him going anywhere, either. :)


Overall, an incredible show. Black Sabbath is easily my all time favourite band ever, and any time I get to see them live is a treat. In fact, I've pretty much stopped going to most concerts. However, I'll keep on going to Black Sabbath until they don't play anymore. A Black Sabbath concert will always draw me. My next goal is to see Black Sabbath play live in the UK.

I've seen them 6 times now since 1983. Born Again was the first tour I got to see them on. I got into Black Sabbath when Mob Rules was current, and they had just left Philadelphia on that tour. Damn. Anyway, I've also seen them on the Seventh Star tour, Dehumanizer, Cross Purposes twice, and now Forbidden. I remember saying when Tyr came out that I was very happy with the direction they were taking, and was again proud to call what made Tyr "Black Sabbath". The name of Black Sabbath is a difficult thing to pin down, but the Iommi/Martin/Powell/Murray/Nicholls lineup did it for me. There was "something" about this lineup that worked for me. I'm glad I got a chance to at least see it at least once before it breaks up, knowing the history of this band. :) I was not disappointed that I travelled 1700 miles to see 'em. It was a great show.

A comment about Black Sabbath on CD-Now! said something like "Black Sabbath marches on into the 90's oblivious of the declining attention and record sales". My comment is so what? They still make great music, and still play it for the people that care. Even if they don't sell, the fact that Iommi and Co. chuggs on undaunted by all the personnel changes shows me that the music is cared for, and for that I'm grateful.

Posted by: Joe Siegler Author Profile Page at July 13, 2010 11:56 AM