Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
January 8, 1999
San Jose Arena
San Jose, CA


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


You can view the photo gallery for this concert here.


From: (Jerry Martin)
Date: Sat, 23 Jan 1999 13:56:53 -0600
Subject: San Jose Arena Concert Review


Got there about 8 o'clock -didn't really care if we missed the opening acts. The place was absolutely packed-with not a seat left in the place! Even the whole section directly behind the stage was full. ( Gee, we wonder how it sounded being behind the stage. ) But Ozzy didn't forget about them- he constantly turned around and acknowledged them and told them to get LOUDER! The San Jose Arena is a pretty large place and is only about 7-8 years old ( this is where the San Jose Sharks play ). This is the first time Connie and I have been to this place. Man were we PSYCHED UP in the last few days leading up to this concert! I really couldn't believe I was going to see the original line-up AGAIN! ( It had only been since August of '75 on the Sabotage tour since I'd seen them last! )

We were seated to the left of the stage, lower section, 22 rows up. Geezer was on the left side of the stage, Tony on the right. If you've read any of the B.S. newsletter reviews, you'll know how they entered the stage from the bottom -ascending through fog while the sirens wailed for War Pigs. My adrenaline was flowing and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up.Like many other people who posted, I also felt that it was a spiritual/religious type of experience that I will ALWAYS remember!

( It's kind of depressing now that it's all over, because we looked forward to it for so long and anticipated all the excitement. Now it's over and all we can do is savor the memories. And reminisce with you right now.)

War Pigs sounded really good, but that song we all know and have heard MANY times.

Song Two ( We're going in chronological order here of the setlist that we wrote down at the concert. ) Oh, before we forget, they came on stage at 9:15. Song two-your FAVORITE, Roxie !! N.I.B. "your love has just got to be reallll..."This song was flawless and awesome, with everyone in the crowd singing along ( as was the case with most songs sung ). Ozzy was right on- I don't think his voice ever slipped.

Song Three: F.W.B. Now this song kicked serious ass and was a REAL ROCKER. ( One of my wife's favorite tunes! ) The whole arena was rockin' and this song also sounded especially good. Tony Iommi's guitars were monstrous and the tone was much higher and crisper than that on the Reunion album. This had been mentioned by other people who went to the shows and also have the Reunion Cd. I would definitely have to agree with them on this. It was almost like he was going back to his "old sound" Sabotage and earlier.

Song Four: This was the surprise song on the tour- "After Forever". This was another kick ass song! It sounded especially good-Ozzy's vocals were right on! The crowd was REALLY into this song as well!

Song Five: "Electric Funeral" Tony was awesome with his wawa peddle on this tune. This song was extremely tight and sounded close to the album. Anotherone the crowd was really into!

Song Six: "Sweet Leaf" -Ozzy's cue for everyone to light up (this song is a 50-50 chance to be played after our show-at some others it wasn't on the set list ).This song went off very well. Ozzy sang it perfectly!

Song Seven: "Into the Void" This one BLEW ME AWAY as well as the other 15 to 20 thousand people who witnessed it. This song sounded awesome, to say the least!!! Bill's drumming was INCREDIBLE all night on every song! Like Ozzy said in some interview, Bill doesn't just play the drums, he "F____ing" DEMOLISHES them!!! Well, in our opinon, he did just that on this night too! Connie was screaming all night, "Mr. Bill, Roxie LOVES YOU!! Roxie says hello!!" We wanted her to be there in spirit too, as she's one of his GREATEST fans!

Song Eight: "Snow Blind". Ozzy was perfect with his singing-especially in the middle of the song where it slows down.....and Ozzy says, "my eyes are blind, but I can see...". This part was flawless!!!! ( Thank God we saw them early on the tour, the fifth show- before he got sick with the flu. )

Song Nine: "Dirty Women" one of my favorites, off one of my most favorite albums, T.E. This song had me singing every word- another magnificently executed song. We have to admit that most of the crowd didn't seem to get into this tune as much as we did. Maybe the younger audience doesn't know this song too well. The second part of the song, where Tony cuts in with that really heavy riff, was mind-boggling! Also, the end, where Ozzy is singing, ...."walking the streets , I wonder, will it ever happen..." it seems like someone was harmonizing along with him nicely. ( I wonder if it was Bill and/or Geoff Nicholls ). This part of the song, to me, was especially beautiful to hear. Tony Iommi's lengthy guitar solo, on the wawa was the perfect ending to it!!

Song Ten: Arguably the best song of the night, "Black Sabbath". Okay, let us tell you about this song! They had ten "tiki-type" torches lit up with two VERY LARGE ones, one at each back corner of the stage, and eight smaller ones positioned around the stage-VERY COOL!! The fog also came rolling out for this song. Now this song was SO CLEAR and VERY LOUD and sounded SO TIGHT!!! Ozz was on, word for word on this one.We didn't hear his voice crack, or anything. My words can't begin to describe how AWESOME this song was! The demonic look Ozzy made with his eyes was SPOOKY, but almost funny, because he was really getting into the theatrics of THIS song. He was really enjoying himself on this one and the crowd was loving it!

Song Eleven: "Iron Man" Another very well done song. The crowd accompanied Ozzy on the vocals big time! Geezer was flailing away on the bass and was his usual magnificent self!

Song Twelve: "Children of the Grave", another spectacularly sounding song to listen to that night. We all were singing along to this one as Ozzy did his magic on vocals and Tony performed to perfection the guitar work.

Song Thirteen: (the encore ) You guessed it..."Paranoid". It sounded so powerful and so clear-the place was jumping!! This song ROCKED!! It waskind of reminiscent of them on the David Letterman show. ( Where they also sounded VERY VERY good!! )

At the end of this they blew out tons of black confetti with Black Sabbath printed on it in silver letters. It looked like a flock of millions of little bats as it floated down. VERY VERY COOL ending we must say! We wondered why it was so dense in our area, so we turned around and looked up to see that there was a blower two rows behind us, so we were ankle deep in the stuff. And the whole arena was aflutter with it! And yes, we made sure we scooped up a few handfuls of it before we left! This was the last song and boy was that anti-climatic! All of the sudden-IT'S OVER!!! And you can't believe it, because you want more!!!! It was 10:50 and that was the fastest one hour and thirty five minutes you could imagine, but we'll cherish it forever! Now I REALLY know I've come full circle with the Sabs. They were my first concert ever ( in '75 ) and now they'll have been my last, ( for now). This was much more than a concert to me-this was a very moving, spiritual experience that I'll treasure always! Can you tell that  I'm bummed that it's over?! Well, my Sabbath experience of Friday night, January 8th, 1999 at the San Jose Arena is indelibly etched in my memory.Thanks for letting me share this momentous occasion with all other Sab-heads.


From: "Paul & Beth Ritter" <>
Subject: Great Fuckin' San Jose Show
Date: Sat, 9 Jan 1999 00:10:59 -0600

Greetings all Sabbath Faithful,
I JUST got back from seeing Black Sabbath LIVE at the San Jose Arena!! *****It was FUCKING GREAT**** All Sabbath fans should go see them on this tour!! The set list was the same as posted from LA, but that was OK with me. They rocked! All songs were loud, clear and down and dirty! Ozzy was alive, looked and sounded good. His voice only cracked a couple of times. He was smiling, laughing, jumping and screaming at everyone to get "Fuckin' Louder"...The Arena was sold out and the crowd was loud... Tony, Geezer and Bill all JAMMED!!!! They have not missed a beat even after all these years. It was a pleasure and an honor to be there. I don't care what people say about Bill, he can STILL play them drums. He played hard, loud and with a lot of emotion. (He looks the oldest of the 4, crew cut & overweight..) Tony and Geezer didn't miss a thing. Both were perfect and talking & laughing with Ozzy. I went with 9 of my friends and all commented that the band all appeared to be having FUN!! I grabbed a bunch of the black confetti with "Black Sabath" written on it. They sprayed it ALL over the place after Paranoid. The lads played for about 90 minutes. I can't believe this concert has come and gone already....The rest of you where BS is touring are in for a great time. Don't miss it!! ***Keep it BLACK*************Paul**Rock&RollDetective***********

Date: Sat, 09 Jan 1999 01:39:15 -0800
From: Chris Irvin <>
Subject: San Jose Review

It's about two hours after the conclusion of the 1/8-SJ show and Sabbath did not disappoint. The crowd was a little older and more "Sabbath-oriented" than for the New Years Eve show in Phoenix. Definitely more enthusiastic and raucus. They performed 13 songs in comparison to 15 on 12/31. The stage seemed very small and at times, seemed to crimp Ozzy's style. He was very animated nonetheless and proved again to be quite the showman. Geezer was an absolute machine, fingers flailing away constantly on his bass. Bill had a very strong effort but seemed very tired when taking his final bows. Tony had said something to Bill very early on during the first song. It looked somewhat confusing. And Mr. Iommi, as always, played with precision-like accuracy, the consummate professional. He did have a very concerned look on his face when he encountered some sound problems midway through the show. The setlist went like this (yes Joe, I brought my pen and paper):

1. WAR PIGS (always wanted to hear them open with this)
2. NIB
3. FAIRIES WEAR BOOTS (Ozzy got a rise out of Tony twice, getting the serious one to laugh & smile. It was great to see!)
4. AFTER FOREVER (my personal favorite)
6. SWEET LEAF (heard the cough distinctly this time)
9. DIRTY WOMEN (only song they didn't do in Phoenix)
10. BLACK SABBATH (precise & powerful)

(I was bummed that they didn't do anything off Sabotage or Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, my favorite album; mainly Killing Yourself To Live, Sabbath Bloody Sabbath and Symptom Of The Universe. Guess you can't have it all.)

Well, a dream came true as I saw my favorite group perform twice within nine days! I'm getting up in years (43) and can't begin to tell you how physically exhausted I was (and still am!) after jammin' at each show. I have the utmost respect for these four gentlemen as they continue to play these energetic sets on the US reunion tour. PLEASE Tony, Ozzy, Geezer and Bill; get back in the studio and create some more AWESOME music. I love you!

Best regards, Chris "The Rock" Irvin

Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 12:43:24 -0800
Subject: Re: San Jose show
From: (Anthony L Howard)

San Jose show was ROCKIN They kicked ass just like i thought they would. I also know that Metalica was there to see the show.If any of you are Metalica fans, Like myself, well I got to witness history repeat it's self and see SABBATH the way they were in the beg. Granted they are a little older but They put on a AWESOME LOUD!!!!!!!! show. from northern CAL. see yaaa KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK JOE>> ANTHONY

Date: Sun, 10 Jan 1999 22:25:24 -0800
From: "Alan C. Miller" <>
Subject: San Jose gig

Saw Sabbath at the San Jose Arena January 8.

The set was

War Pigs
After Forever
Fairies Wear Boots
Electric Funeral
Sweet Leaf
Into the Void
Diry Women
Black Sabbath
Iron Man
Children of the Grave

Good points:

The band was having a good time
The band played well (although it was hard to tell due to the sound)
Bill Ward played well (almost, see below)
After Forever live

Bad points:

A very predictable set
Terrible house sound
Stupid fireworks
Too short a set
Left out all the good songs from the live album and only played one surprise
Bill Ward came in way too early on War Pigs while Tony was shaking his
head for him to stop hitting the high-hats--they finally pulled it
together, though.
Stupid audience members shining laser pointers into the audience


I don't think Geoff Nicholls was there ( Ed Note: He was)

Date: Tue, 12 Jan 1999 19:57:36 EST
Subject: San Jose - by JCRYIAD

This is not a review.

This is for those of us who are looking a bit deeper into this. It is not intended to be a comment on Sabbath. This is simply a perspective I have. Actually, I have several, but I'll try to wrap them into one semi-coherent babbling session.

I have no intention of proofing this baby, once I'm out of gas it is gone. So be forwarned, typos will probably run rampant through this little diatribe.

Go see Sabbath. This is a 1999 document of what once was. This isn't what once was. It is better, and it is worse. Instead of going through the song list routine, I think I'll just try to explain my experience. Suffice to say that the reported song lists have been pretty much accurate. We got the same thing as LA on the 2nd night I think. No songs from SBS or Sabotage. One from Vol.4, one from TE

This is spectator sport. If you understand this before going I think you will be much more prepared to enjoy this for what it is. This is the big deal for them. This is IT. I have never seen that many people packed into an Arena show. You know the type of show where it seems like they sold way more tickets than capacity? Well, that's what I'm describing here. I was in the upper deck, about halfway up the right hand side of the stage, and some people would give up on even trying to get up the stairs to their seats. It was packed. The arena holds 20,000, and I wouldn't doubt they packed 24,000 in that place. The whole place was standing.

I arrived late. Yes folks, I won't even bore you with how frustrating this was. Thanks to Sabbath changing the start time of their set, and to some personal hassles getting everything wrapped up to take off down to SJ from SF, I hit the show during Fairies. The problem is that I am not a metal fan as such. I figured since everybody had been saying 9:55, I'd not worry about getting there at 8:30 - 9:00. I am somehwhat famaliar with Pantera, and think they nail what they are trying to do. But, I wasn't going to see Pantera. Nor was I concerned with seeing the other opening act. Unfortunately I just simply couldn't get down there, and finally walked in at about 9:45. I was shocked to hear they were on, and was really dissapointed. When I got situated in an isle, FWB was on. It sounded like the biggest warbled glub I have ever heard from Sabbath. The sound was just distortion from up where I was. I really couldn't distinguish very much at all, but the energy in the place was cooking. What happened next changed everything. The sound guy got it together! I had some and Black Sabbath played Sweet Leaf. Now, I have never been a huge fan of this song, but it has hit me a couple of times listening to boots just how amazingly powerful it can be. It sounded mammoth! It was just HUUUUGE!!! The middle section was beyond belief! Like watching these guys just play jazz like the Mahavishnu Orchestra on acid!

As the concert went on, they were pretty damn strong. The sound was decent, but it was a reverb messhall at times. All the guitar solos pierced through beautifully, and Iommi's wah work was just beyond belief in Dirty Women. Iommi is the Miles Davis of rock. I mean the Miles of the early 70's. He is just so unique and off in his own world you really can't compare him to anyone. He is a fuzz scientist out there. His rythm parts chugged away like volcanic ecstasy. His leads were very good, but he seems to be favoring a more emotional style of playing. He plays less of the fast runs, and really bends notes in a way that I think would make sense to a Leslie West fan. He does shred it up as well, but it is restrained. And that I don't mind. In fact, I've come to think it makes sense, espcecially in Tony's case. For him to overdo the fast stuff in an age of Diambag Daryl and Ygnwie Malmsteen would be fun, but seeing him just nail the bluesy stuff like nobody in metal is better. He plays minor pentatonic as good as anyone in rock.

Various comments:

Ward sounded pretty good to me.

Ozzy is Elvis. He is a star. He sang good but more importantly he was a comedian.

They have injected some humor into the whole approach and I think it is great.

They should add to the set-list.

The middle section of Iron Man was instrumental wizardry. Geezer was on fire. Iommi was perfect. It sounded like they had a train wreck right before the middle section, but it may have been the sound reverberating so much that my mind was on overload.

The idea that Sabbath with Ozzy is an underground band is a historical argument. This thing is amazing. People were slowly waving their arms back and forth during the finale of Dirty Women where Ozzy is singing "Walking the streets alone......" The floor looked like they were in trance from it. It was an event unique to my concert going experience.

This will be the beginning, not the end.

"I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is to try to
please everyone."
-Bill Cosby

Subject: Set List, Jan. 8 Show
Date: Thu, 14 Jan 1999 16:00:18 PST

Here's the song order for the San Jose Arena gig: Show started 9:06 pm

Started with the film showing the old days, same one used at all shows: Lineup: Ozzy, Toni ,Geezer, Bill , NO GEOFF NICHOLLS OR KEYBOARDS

2. NIB
10. BLACK SABBATH(lamps with fire around the stage and fog)

Ozzy mentioned that we were the best crowd they ever witnessed and kicked ass over the one's in LA. Interesting note:Toni seemed pissed off at a roadie during the gig. During one song, he kept looking at the side of the stage and was pointing to stage left. Ozzy ran to stage left and looked like he was trying to fix it for Toni.

Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 12:49:07 EST
Subject: RE: San Jose/Geoff Nicholls

I was at the Jan 8th show. I saw Geoff Nicholls with my binoculars. He was off stage on the left hand side right by Geezer. In fact my room mate thought it was Don Airy, until I corrected him. I saw Geoff play guitar on one song, while Tony played a solo in one song; it might have been Dirty Women but I can't recall exactly. I was curious to see what type of guitar he was playing, if it was a Gibson SG, or something. But there was a speaker in the way so I couldn't see anything but the headstock. It looked to be a type of Gibson.

Also scanning the area just beyond stage right with my binoculars, I saw Jack Osbourne. And later during "Black Sabbath" Lars Ulrich, of Metallica. I was surprised to see the SJ arena had sold the seats behind the stage as well. I wonder how the show was from that vantage point?

In response to the guy that said:

>Stupid fireworks> Obviously we have a firework connisuer amongst us. And
>he MUST know something we don't! Left out all the good songs from the live
>album and only played one surprise. I see the performance as a celebration
>of the legacy the band & the songs. I'm always hopeful for a different
>set, but it was played well. So I can look past my expectations. Bill Ward
>came in way too early on War Pigs while Tony was shaking his head for him
>to stop hitting the high-hats--they finally pulled it together, though.

my friend was at a different spot at the venue & he said he saw Tony yelling at the monitor guy, that Bill had no volume in his monitors on stage during War Pigs.

Not everyone on this list is a performing musician, so I don't expect everyone to understand. I'm a guitar player & have been playing on stage for about 7 years in different bands & such. When a band is on stage, usually the guitars volume is kept at a minimal level, and miked up through the PA. Considering this, when you're on stage, you're pretty much relying on your monitor to hear your bandf. I've played several shows all the way through, where I never heard myself but I could follow our drummer. And my friends in the audience will say they could hear everything perfectly. It's realy disorienting, and you have to know your material inside & out, backwards & forwards, to get through that type of thing. It's murder for a drummer not to at least hear a guitar or a bass during a performance, he can totally get lost otherwise, as in this instance with Bill. It's like he's playing alone. It can be quite scary.

Whatever the case I thought the show was great. I've heard a few people say the same things about the show as this guy did. But Like I said it was a chance for us to all celebrate the long history of Black Sabbath, & be able to witness it one more time, in the midst of the people who created it. I think that's more important than how good a firework was, or a missed drum part.

From: "Tom Aartman" <tommyboy29@WORLDNET.ATT.NET>
Subject: Reunion Tour Report
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 08:49:14 -0800

i attended the january 8th show in san jose and it was in truth more than i   expected. i didnt expect to see ozzy jumping around like he did in the  early days. so full of energy and awesome vibe. they played 13 songs all  from the reunion album. i wanna say i wish they had played either or both  Psycho Man and Selling My Soul but i surely wasnt disappointed in any way.  This was by far the most fun concert i ever went to. i saw sabbath two  different times before, once with Dio on the dehumanizer tour and with Tony  Martin on the forbidden tour and this show by far blew both them away together.

our seats were on the floor about 35 rows back and the way the arena was  layed out i didnt miss a view of anything. if i get the chance im definitely going to see them again somewhere close.

all i can really say about these guys is father time definitely isnt ticking away on them. the energy and vibe they put out during these shows was probably stronger than they have ever been before. and i know will only continue to be stronger. if you choose to email me back my address is Long Live Black Sabbath.

a die-hard fan forever