Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
December 31, 1998
Bank One Ballpark
Phoenix, AZ


  • Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
  • Tony Iommi - Guitar
  • Geezer Butler - Bass
  • Bill Ward - Drums
  • Geoff Nicholls - Keyboards


None - do you have any?  Let me know.


From: "Cris Hagen" <>
Subject: New Year's Evil
Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 11:49:49 PST

I'm 26 years old and I've been listening to heavy metal and attending metal concerts for 20 years. I was heavy into Sabbath by the age of eight. I got to see Ozzy for the first and only time (until last night) on the 1984 Bark at the Moon tour. So, this has been a very long awaited show for me. I have to say that the New Year's Eve show was one of the (if not "the") best all around show I've ever seen. All the bands KICKED ASS (even Megadeth)! Kerry King, from Slayer, came out and jammed the song "Fucking Hostile" with Pantera. The crowd was huge and wild. Ozzy was his usual self; running around, jumping up and down, yelling "I can't fucking hear you" and "let's go fucking crazy", and dropping his pants to moon the crowd. The guys looked and sounded great. Of course, we all know that Ozzy isn't capable of hitting some of those high notes any more. But it doesn't matter because they fucking rock! Some of the highlight tunes for me were Killing Yourself to Live, a Symptom of the Universe Jam (no lyrics unfortunately), and a tune from Master's of Reality that they opened with, the name has escaped my mind right now but one verse goes..."when you think about death do you lose your breath or is it part of you, would you like to see the pope on the end of a rope do you think he's a fool". In fact that opening song pretty much made the evening for me. See, I came down from Washington state to see this and I don't have my albums to look up the name of that song...I feel ashamed that I can't remember it. At midnight they started playing "Black Sabbath"...the lights were low, the lighters was awesome. For the encore they played Paranoid, the roof on the Bank One Ball Park opened and after the song there was a huge (several minute) fireworks display in the stadium.

Anyway, sorry to those who couldn't or didn't make it. But, you probably missed the best all day Heavy metal concert ever played. I'll see ya at the show in Seattle on the 12th.

Long live metal!

Date: Fri, 1 Jan 1999 15:11:35 EST
Subject: Phx Reunion Review 12/31/98!

Thought you may be intereseted... let me know.

Great show in Phoenix on December 31st, 1998! This being the first show in the U.S. with all members, I expected a lot; the guys delivered and more. For this show, held on New Years Eve, they really outdid themselves. The roof was rolled back at the conclusion of the set and Ozzy asked the crowd to æget as loud and crazy as you have ever been in your whole fucking life". With that, the encore with 5 minutes of fireworks and confetti inscribed with the words æBlack SabbathÆ filled the stadium. They literally blew the roof off of the stadiumà. Awesome!

The stage is incredible; a gilded, goth assembly with lighted torchieres and a huge chandelier, create the setting for this tour. Lights are extravagant and the sound quality adequate. In this venue (Bank One Ballpark), the stage seemed conservative in width. At perhaps 160 feet, the side views are poor. If you are still buying tickets for later shows, get them on the floor or in front.

>From memory here are many of the songs showcased on this eve:
Into The Void
Psycho Man

Killing Yourself to Live
Children of the Grave
Black Sabbath
Electric Funeral
Fairies Wear Boots
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath
War Pigs

Missing in my opinionà Planet Caravan and Laguna Sunrise. Some aesthetics, look for the killer explosions during the opening and closing songs! I did notice that the set list has very few graduated transitions, I am sure they will tighten this up as the tour makes it way across the land. Right now, look forward to breaks of 30 seconds to 1 minute between each song. Interestingly, the composition of the audience in Phoenix was pretty youngà very few songs were recognized. They of course recognized Iron Man. Sweetleaf, a song that many in this crowd would undoubtedly endorse, went off with few of them ægetting itÆ. Best and greatest presentation of the night? Look for a killer version of Black Sabbath; this song will rock you!

Geezer is flawless, his power is awesome. Tony appears to be the master of subtlety. DonÆt let his appearance fool you. He is absolutely incredible.. Look for the close-ups, via the live video screens, to check out these masters. They are especially phenomenal on Electric Funeral. Ozzy sounded good, although I suspect this will be a tough tour as the days and dates take the toll.

I looked for a sense that these guys are enjoying their newly revived band. I could honestly not tell. The interplay between all four original members should denote a sense of camaraderie visible to all. It may develop as they work the kinks out of the actual show and the many elements that must come together both soundwise and visually. As far as I could tell, this was a test-run done to the extreme. Everything worked; now it is time to make is smoke!

A few words on the other bands, Soul Fly, Megadeth, & Pantera. Megadeth proved to be very good. Great songs and well delivered. Pantera was pretty weak. Not enough substance, too much drunken (or seemingly so), profanity; do the songs and forget the "Eat Pussy till your Jaw breaks in 1999" stuff.

This tour will go done in history for any Black Sabbath fan. I met a 24 yr. old who told me he has been waiting his æwhole lifeÆ to see this show. From the energy of his responses to each and every song, he loved every minute of it. Ozzy, Bill, Tony and Geezer-thanks for bringing us this rare opportunity to enjoy your music live and with all of the right the elements.

Glen Synoground

Ed Note: I & Psycho Man were not played.

Black Sabbath rattles the rafters at BOB (This originally appeared online here:

By Justin Schmid
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 1, 1999

0101tucson.jpg (19264 bytes)Bank One Ballpark's had its first pitch, its first home run and now its first concert.

Metal legends Black Sabbath and a horde of hard rockers rattled the rafters at BOB on Thursday. The group launched its first tour in 25 years featuring original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward.

Osbourne and company rose from the stage, swathed in red-tinted fog. A very tatooed, pierced and anxious crowd howled as they kicked off the set with "After Forever".

Osbourne's unearthly voice kicked the crowd into overdrive. He stalked the stage, urging the audience to get loud.

And it did.

The crowd roared along with Sabbath classics such as "Iron Man", "Sweet Leaf" and "Electric Funeral". Fans in their early 20s shouted out lyrics along with long-time Sabbath maniacs.

The band showed why they deserve a loyal following. Iommi's guitar work was tight, precise, confident. Butler attacked his bass, pouring all his energy into rattling BOB, while Ward's drumming cemented the group.

And then there was Ozzy.

Nobody else sounds like him, and few can match his showmanship. He hurled buckets of water onto fans crowding the stage, strutted around the stage and even mooned the audience to get the crowd hopping (Some fans could've done without the last one!).

Still, he's almost old enough to get a senior discount at Luby's. And it showed every time he had to prance across the stage; full-speed ahead isn't what it used to be for the Ozz-man.

Unlike many bassists who fade into the background, Butler was surprisingly energetic -- he pumped the crowd with cheerleader-like enthusiasm. Iommi was more subdued, wrenching riffs from his guitar with machine-like precision.

Sabbath finally closed the two-hour set with "Paranoid" and a skyful of fireworks. The crowd kept roaring long after the band left the stage.

Sabbath was solid and professional, but BOB's accoustics dulled the polish. Sound bounced off the metal and concrete like a Ping-Pong ball. When the massive roof rumbled open during the encore, the sound improved noticeably.

Sabbath and the opening acts (Soulfly, Slayer, Megadeth and Pantera) would've sounded far better with the roof open.

Local band Megadeth got a strong reception from the crowd. Surprisingly, the group played before Pantera. But there was a strong Pantera following lined up on the field. Bonfires, mosh pits and general mayhem were on the menu for the opening acts.

BOB's tinny accoustics definitely took its toll on Pantera and Slayer. Megadeth's more melodic sounds and slower tempos were less muddied.

Still, BOB survived its first concert. And if it can handle Black Sabbath, it can handle anybody.

Date: Fri, 01 Jan 1999 19:50:27 -0700 (MST)
Subject: new years evil update

songs played at Bank One Ballpark, not necessarily in this order but as far as I can remember these sonds were performed

Sweet Leaf
After Forever
Children of the Grave
Into the Void
Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath
Killing Yourself to Live
War Pigs
Iron Man
Farries Wear Boots
Electric Funeral
Black Sabbath

See you in Vegas, LA, and Portland.

joseph rheaume

Date: Sat, 2 Jan 1999 17:44:26 EST
Subject: Re:Sabbath at New Years Evil

Hello everybody,Im proud to say I was at the best show in the world at new years eve ( or new years evil) I enjoyed the other bands but I dont know them very well.They had three big screens and a stage set-up with a screen as like a mirror,before they came on they play old footage on the screen of the band playing,they came out and played "After Forever". Im pretty sure because I hide a camera to bring in and was taking pictures the first three songs.Sabbath didnt play either of their new songs but played an instrumental of "Symptom Of the Universe" and also played"Killing Yourself to Live",and the regular set of songs:NIB,Black Sabbath (with special theatrics from Ozzy),Sabbath Bloody Sabbath,Paranoid,Iron Man,Sweet Leaf,Snowblind,War Pigs,Children of the Grave and etc,also the radio station(KUPD) sponsoring the show said that a DJ from another show in Phoenix where the GooGooDolls were playing told the audience that Ozzy died of an overdose! I dont know if anybody heard that but thats what the DJ from KUPD said the morning after the show and was telling everybody who was calling that the DJ from the other radio station is an idiot and that was not funny.I cant forget to mention the girls who took there tops off!! and fires started in the mosh pits during Pantera and the fantastic fireworks afterwards with an Ozzy solo song playing after the fireworks.PS>I would also like to send Joe some pictures of the show.(thank you Joe and thank you Black Sabbath and Bank One Ballpark and KUPD) fuck Elvis,Ozzy is the King!

Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 15:30:08 -0800
From: Chris Irvin <>
Subject: Belated Phoenix Update

Just got back from a wild weekend in Phoenix and hoping to get my voice back in time for my 2nd of two Sabbath shows this Fri-1/8. Two guys wrote fairly thorough reviews of the New Years Eve show in Phx. BUT, how could you both neglect to mention SYMPTOM OF THE UNIVERSE, Glen & Joseph! And I'm sorry to say they didn't play either I or Psycho Man, Glen. The Boys played 15 total songs starting at 10:50pm. It was absolutely grueling waiting for the secondary bands to finish up and make room for the MASTERS. Sorry MegaDeath, Pantera & Slayer fans, but this ol' fart just can't hang with the new wave Heavy Metal acts. They shocked me by starting off the show with my favorite song, After Forever. From that point, I'm almost sure the order of songs were Snowblind, Into The Void, Killing Yourself To Live (another pleasant surprise), Fairies Wear Boots, War Pigs, NIB, then Sabbath Bloody Sabbath & Symptom Of The Universe back-to-back (I thought I was in heaven!), Electric Funeral, Sweet Leaf, Black Sabbath (as powerful as ever), Iron Man, Children Of The Grave and finally, Paranoid as they opened up the stadium roof and had a huge pyro- technical ending. Bill and Geezer were in top form and Ozzy came off as if he had never taken a 20 year Sabbatical (excuse the pun) from the group. He also looked like he went through an intense physical regime as he seemed to be 15-20lbs trimmer than I can ever recall in the recent past. Ah, and then there was Mr. Iommi! Tony played effortlessly throughout the entire set with precise, machine gun-like accuracy. My wife (who is not into the hard rock / heavy metal scene) was awed by his performance. She continued to watch him through binoculars and kept saying over and over again, "THIS GUY'S NOT EVEN BREAKING A SWEAT!" He is the greatest guitarist of our time and he reiterated this opinion on New Years Eve. THANK YOU, BLACK SABBATH for making some of us feel young again! See all you fellow San Joseites this Friday night!!

Regards, Chris "The Rock" Irvin

Date: Mon, 04 Jan 1999 23:18:15 -0700
From: Eric godfrey <>
Subject: Re: Black Sabbath, #846

Hey everyone,

Just wanted to write a brief note about New Year's Evil.. Seems just about everybody loved the show with one glaring exception who had almost nothing positive to say. I started listening to Sabbath in the early 70's and they have always been the best band in the world (in my opinion). I wish every one would quit arguing over who / when was the best. Enjoy each album for what is good on it. You may not like a song, I may love it and vice versa. My first concert was Ozzy solo on Blizzard of Oz with Def Leppard. I've seen him a dozen times and got to interview him once for a college station. Only saw Black Sabbath once with Dio -- Mob Rules tour.

All that finished---- New year's eve was absolutely great. Bitch all you want, I've always caught Ozzy at the end of his tours and this one of the best concerts I've heard him do. He seems sober and his showmanship is as good as ever (Could have done without the totally full moon enlarged on the jumbo screen, but hey.. he thought it was called for at the moment). Tony was absolutely masterful as he always is. Geezer was the heartbeat of the concert with his steady rhythms leading the way.... This was special for me because of Bill Ward being there. Remember everyone, the man had a heart attack last year. I'd be happy just to see him sit on stage and watch someone else play his drums. Yeah, it was not the best performance I've seen on drums, but it was the fucking original band. I waited nearly 20 years to see this and it was worth every bit. I thought Ozzy letting the fan stay on stage was great. I saw Dio in Baltimore years ago and the one time a fan went on stage he kicked the poor bastard in the face. (I love Dio's stuff, but that was a bit much). Anyway get your tickets the show was great. Best song was Black Sabbath . Surprised they didn't do Psycho Man. Let me know if they do anywhere else. If you care Pantera was pretty good, Megadeath was really good. Slayer and Soulfly are not really my bag. The mosh-pit crew seemed to enjoy it...Whatever.

My only negatives.... Bank One Ballpark's first concert and they did not handle it well at all. They sold 10,000 field tickets and 45,000 seats. I paid $75.00 to be on the floor ( it was worth it and I would do it again) It just pisses me off that no one ever looked at my ticket inside and there were at least 20,000 on the field. Most of which only paid $26.00 for their upper deck seats. Sure I'm jealous cause I had to pay full price, but I also didn't need the extra 10,000 in the area I paid to be in. Also they should have kept the roof open the whole time. The acoustics were terrible until they opened the roof during the next to last song. But those are problems with the venue, not the band. Rock on and keep writing about the concerts. I can't wait to hear about them.

Eric Godfrey
Phoenix, AZ

From: (JT)
Subject: Phoenix Show :(

I have to honestly say that for the first show of their tour, Sabbath was terrible! I tried to overlook a lot being the huge fan that I am, but this was truly dissapointing.

Ozzy was cracking big time, he missed lyrics and dropped low in the middle of a few verses. I didn't expect him to be this weak considering how active he's been lately with touring. He did look cool up there with the band though.

Tony was pretty damned good, the only thing I noticed were a few solos where he fell apart a little but he was always in key and his sound was great.

Geezer appeared to be playing his ass off but was nearly inaudible. During the "bassically" intro to NIB, all I could hear was the high end click of his bass notes and the awful sweep of the wah pedal he was using. (it sounded like pink noise through a phase shifter to me if anyone can relate), and he played through the intro at about double speed and half the notes. overall I beleive he was doing a decent job but it was difficult to pick him out of the mix.

Bill Ward - This is what killed the show for me. The drums were wretched. I don't think that one of the fills were correct. I never saw him do any of the high-hat work I'm used to hearing either. It was as if he re-learned every song with straight beats, and then put in the easiest fills he could get away with. I was very surprised when in a few places he actually just stopped playing for a beat then caught back up to the band. Truly amateurish.

Nearly every song had multiple problems. I had started writing notes with each song, but there were so many glitches that I gave up. I'm talking about big problems like the band not punching an ending together, Ozzy coming in early with vocal parts, Drums cutting in and out. I even saw Tony and Geezer throwing funny looks at Bill during the show.

Overall, I was very let down and a little embarrassed that these were my idols on the stage. I don't know if they were just not yet in the pocket (being the first show), or if they just need more rehearsal. It was everyone collectively who made the show sloppy and I felt a bit betrayed by all of the hype and the deceiving "Reunion" album. If that was Bill Ward on the album, then I don't know what the hell happened to him now. It was unbeleivable. All in all they made typical "garage band" mistakes, which surprised me. It was as if they were just learning these songs and still unsure of each other.

In defense of the band, the mix in the ballpark was awful. It was as if someone had unplugged the midrange cabinets. The low-end was thunderous and the high end was in the mix, but there was no punch at all.

The crowd was okay, but very tame. A lot of the younger people didn't seem to know any of the Sabbath material, and that was a bummer. I ran into some of the old-timers who were as disgusted as I was. It was not just me. I wanted to make this show great, I had a great attitude about seeing it, but it plain sucked.

I hope to see some honest reviews of the next shows, because I'm seriously considering selling my seats to the Fleet Center on Feb. 3rd.

Sorry to complain, the high point for me was KYTL. they did a nice job with this one for sure. LOTW was not too shabby either.

I honestly feeel they would benefit by replacing Bill Ward. He was holding the band back in a huge way. Vinny Appice would be a welcomed replacement IMHO.

Flame away, I don't care. I just traveled 2000 miles to be sorely dissapointed :( -JT

Remove the "not" and delete the "dot" to reply

Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 12:54:57 EST
Subject: The "Best" Reunion Show....Phoenix!

Even though a couple of people desecrated the New Years Evil show with  their opinion ,I most positivly disagree with this view,one guy even went  as far as to call Bill Ward "amateurish"!!!!,who in their right mind would  do such a thing unless they were trying to stir the turd, also the guy who  was sitting up in the assigned seating!,why spend $25-$30 to sit up where  nothing is happening guys!!!!!, I drove 6 hours from San Diego ,spent $70  on the floor and $105 for two nights at Travel Lodge Inn!!! ,do you people  who didnt go to the show and accept these opinions really think the "other"  shows can even compare to the set list of the Phoenix show? I DONT THINK  SOOO! .Give me a break and stay off the band wagon.Sabbath Bloody   Sabbath,Killing Yourself To Live,and Symptom Of The Universe....which show   would you want to go to if you had the choice.

Date: Tue, 26 Jan 99 19:16:03 US Mountain Standard Time
Subject: Sabbath Show on New Years

I'll start off by saying that the Dec. 31 show was the most BEAUTIFUL thing i've ever seen. I've been waiting since i was 13 to see those four guys together, now i'm 31 and it was worth the wait.

Anyway, in 1988 i commissioned an artist to do a charcoal portrait of Black Sabbath. The picture was my favorite of the band, and it did cost me some hard earned money. So, i took the portrait to the show. Me and my group actually missed Soulfly, Slayer, and most of Megadeth, cause we found a spot where the "roadies" were having dinner. I pumped as many as i could for info on where i might see the band. I found out that they were filming a movie, and about how they were going to open the roof at the end of the show and shoot off fireworks. The most important thing i did find out was when and where the band would leave Bank One Ballpark.

So, after the show i hustled out to the car and drove around till i found the area they should be coming out of. After waiting about half an hour, the large coach i was standing next to, started to back up and swing around. As it did, i saw that Geezer Butler was standing towards the middle of the bus. I held up my portrait so he could see it throught the windshield. And thank God he did!! He walked up to the coach driver and told him to stop. Geezer and another fella stepped off the bus, and he signed just below his picture "Geezer Butler '99". I thought i'd drop dead.

After that i went back to the gate as before, and , many of the crew and security stopped to check out the portrait and the autograph. One crew guy stopped by in a golf cart and said that he had seen me befor the show trying to get info or autographs, and said he'd give me an ""A" for effort". He also confided in me that Tony Iommi and Bill Ward had left directly after the show (oh God no!), but, that Ozzy was still inside and would probably leave in a short while. So, i stood my ground, and, a little while later, a passenger van drove out the gate. The windows were tinted, but, i could see the outline of the front passenger, and, whoever it was was wearing round glasses. So, i ran up alongside the van as it came by. The van slowed to a stop, the window rolled down, and who should stick his head out but Ozzy Ozbourne!!!! He leaned out and asked if i had drawn the portrait, i said that i hadn't, that i had hired an artist to do it, and he said "well it's fuckin wonderful". He then signed it, shook my hand and drove away. It was the greatest moment of my life.

Well anyway, I'll take the portrait to work and take a digital picture of it so i e-mail it to you. Also i snuck a camera in to the show. We were in the nose bleed section, so, they aren't the best of quality. But if you would like a set ( i have 6), you could give me a P.O. box or address to send them to, as they wouldn't look very good on the computer.

Thanks for letting me tell my story, i don't know many people that appreciate Black Sabbath they way i do (and they way you apparently do), so, it's nice someone else will know who and what the hell i'm talking about.

P.S. if you know how some might get in contact with some kind of Black Sabbath P.R. company, i'd really like to get those other two autographs.

Thanks again, i'll be sending you a pic by e-mail, and i hope to hear back from you.

The Biggest Black Sabbath Fan In Tucson
James Marques

From: "Blaine Bennett" <>
Subject: Reunion Tour Report
Date: Sun, 21 Feb 1999 16:36:46 -0000

I went to the show new years eve in phoenix and it rocked. It was the first time I saw Black Sabbath live. The whole night just kicked ass the only band that didn't do as good as I thought they should of was megadeth. don't get me wwrong the were still kick ass but they lacked something the other bands had. Pantera was just the shit they had every body on their feet. that was nothing compared to when black Sabbath went on. Black Sabbath is the best band ever and will always be the best band ever.

Date sent: Tue, 04 May 1999 15:15:21 -0600
From: Ram Prasad <>
Subject: Reunion Tour Report

What can I say? Breaking in the New Year with Slayer, Megadeth, Pantera, and of course the godly Sabbath couldn't have been better. I had floor tickets and was totally pumped. Soulfly came on first, and i didn't gain any more respect for them then i had before. I liked Sepultura, but soulfly has got to go. Next came Slayer, and my gosh, they kicked ass. I've loved them for a long time, and this was my first time getting to see them. Megadeth was on next, and though this was my second time seeing them, this one just seemed more special. They were really good. Pantera tore up the stage too, playing all their good shit, and Kerry King(Slayer) and Scott Ian (Anthrax) even came out and joined Pantera on "Fucking Hostile". Finally, the moment of truth was upon the sold out Bank One Ballpark. Sabbath would be on in a few minutes. They appeared on stage and everyone went fucking insane! You would think that everyone would be all tired from moshing to Slayer, Megadeth, and Pantera, but these guys must have eaten Wheaties for breakfast, because the pit was the wildest and most violent during Sabbath! I didn't mind though because i was going crazy all over the place. Ozzy was of course his usual self, not being very happy with the energy in the place, he kept on shouting "LOUDER! I CAN'T FUCKING HEAR YOU! LOUDER!" Of course, every soul in the building obeyed his commanding voice and the place was litteraly shaking! They played a killer set, "Iron Man", "Sweet Leaf", "Killing Yourself to Live", Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, "Electric Funeral", everything was great. This is a concert i will ALWAYS remember, and I'm hoping to go see Sabbath for the last time on Ozzfest 99, in Phoenix, again. If you missed out on this concert, i pity you, because it would have been the best fucking concert you ever went to.

Abhishek Prasad