Black Sabbath say last rites on touring in homecoming

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Black Sabbath, the pioneers of heavy metal, ended their last-ever tour with a final concert in Birmingham, their home town where it all began nearly 50 years ago.

The godfathers of the genre bowed out on Saturday with a farewell show at the 16,000-capacity National Exhibition Centre Arena in the central English city.

Guitarist Tony Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bass guitarist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward got together in 1968 and created a sound filled with the brooding menace of horror films.

Sabbath kicked off their mammoth farewell run of 81 concerts, entitled The End Tour, in January last year in the United States.

The world tour took them to Australasia, Europe, North America again, South America, then back to Europe to finish in Birmingham with shows on Thursday and Saturday.

Iommi, 68, the only ever-present member, Osbourne, 68, and Butler, 67 — Ward has not played with the band since 2012 — took to the stage one last time, joined by drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboard player Adam Wakeman.

Their final song was streamed live on Facebook. The band bowed out with “Paranoid”, their breakthrough chart hit from 1970, as ticker tape and balloons blew out over the audience.

Pyrotechnics went off as they took their final bow. The band put their arms around each other and posed for a farewell picture with the cheering crowd behind them.

“Thank you, goodnight, thank you so much,” Osbourne said as they left the stage, Iommi giving a thumbs up as he waved goodbye.

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