Black Sabbath played a homecoming show Saturday night (May 19) at the O2 Academy in Birmingham, the first of only three gigs the band have announced this year. It was Sabbath’s first show in seven years and the 4,000 fans in attendance hung on their every note. Check out the footage below.

Despite the bummer of drummer Bill Ward not being a part of this reunion, the fans accepted the already well versed in the ways of Sabbath Tommy Clufetos on drums, since he plays in Ozzy Osbourne’s band. Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Clufetos ran through 18 songs, opening with ‘Into the Void’ and closing with the classic ‘Paranoid.’

Geezer Butler wrote on his website after the gig, saying, “Thank you, thank you, thank you Birmingham. Best fans ever — you brought out the best in us. It was a privilege playing for you tonight. Tony was a hero — you were the best medicine he has had. Proud to be a Brummie.”

Black Sabbath’s remaining concerts this year are June 10th at the Download Festival in the UK, and August 3rd Lollapalooza, which takes place August 3-5 in Chicago.

Black Sabbath’s May 19 Setlist:
Into the Void
Under the Sun
War Pigs
Wheels of Confusion
Electric Funeral
Black Sabbath
The Wizzard
Behind the Wall of Sleep
Fairies Wear Boots
Tomorrow’s Dream
Sweet Leaf
Symptom of the Universe
Iron Man
Dirty Women
Children of the Grave
Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (Intro)

Bassist Geezer Butler said on the morning of the concert in Birmingham that Bill Ward had asked for too much money for the Download Festival gig next month. Yesterday, Ward posted this response to Butler’s comments on his website:

“Dear Sabbath Fans and Musicians,

I have read Geezer’s statement of May 19, 2012 titled “Heavy Heart.” Out of respect for the Birmingham gig, I wanted to wait 24 hours before releasing this statement. There are some points he brought up which I want to respond to.

1) I had indeed notified Ozzy, Tony and Geezer, well before my first public statement, that I was having contractual difficulties.

2) I came out into a public forum to be accountable to the fans primarily, and to say at a public level there’s a problem. The band members stopped talking and corresponding with me some time ago, with the exception of a nice letter from Tony on my birthday. Prior to that, Geezer and I were corresponding, but that stopped abruptly in late February after I emailed a specific question to him.

3) In my statement of May 15, I clearly stated I would play Birmingham for free. That was not a problem – charity or otherwise.

4) My Download fee was not an extravagant amount. Originally, when Download was part of a full tour, I had asked for a decent fee. More recently, as we were negotiating just Download/Birmingham and Lollapalooza, I told my attorney that I would accept the proposed small Download fee, but there were other parts of the offer that were unsatisfactory.

I will continue to be honest and respectful towards the band and our fans. I will also confront any untruths about me, and any fault finding missions aimed at me that come to my attention.

I hope the band and the fans had a good gig in Brum.

Stay safe/stay strong.
Bill Ward