AMATEUR CONCERT PHOTOGRAPHY HOUR: BLACK SABBATH @ FirstOntario Centre, Hamilton, February 21, 2016

This was the first time I’ve ever paid for a concert VIP package, and quite likely the last time, too. Most of the bands I’d pay that kinda money to see have already been crossed off my bucket list…mind you, if Maiden made me a similar offer, I might be tempted to take them up on it.

Of course, I had seen Sabbath a couple times before (make that a handful if you count Heaven and Hell), but the deal here was that the first 10-15 rows were reserved for VIPs, at prices ranging from $400 to $1,500 and up. I was not prepared to pay top dollar for front-row tickets, but I did want to get close enough to actually see them play, where I didn’t hafta look up at the video monitor. I ended up in Row 10.

There were some added perks for 400 bucks, as well. I got a limited edition picture book with photos from all their tours with Ozzy, conveniently skipping both Heaven and Hell lineups as well as the Only Iommi era. It also came packed with picks, replica tickets and show posters that clearly weren’t the real deal, but still pretty cool. It would be the perfect coffee table accessory, if I actually had a coffee table.

Oh, and we got to see the sound check, too.

Wasn’t expecting much from the sound check—the drummer and (hidden) keyboardist went through the motions, and were joined by Tony and Geezer for an instrumental “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” before Ozzy sauntered onstage to sing “Iron Man.” The whole thing was MC’ed by a stage manager who was Ozzy’s nanny on The Osbournes (I’ve never actually seen that show), and he made a point of introducing the rest of the crew to us. Then, those who paid even more money than I did got to stick around for a meet ‘n greet with the band, under the strict conditions that they neither make physical contact nor ask for autographs. I guess getting someone’s signature’ll cost ya more than 1,500 bones!

I did not take any pictures of the sound check—they even went as far as confiscating our phones. As the stage manager explained, we paid good money for these tickets, so why let people watch all this on YouTube for free? A fair point, if you ask me. That said, I did get several shots of the gig itself:

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IMG_5652HAND OF DOOM!!!!1

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Gruesome Greg

Seahawks/Stamps/Flames/Zags/Jays/Raptors fan and lifelong metal head with a beer gut and a self-deprecating sense of humour. Reviewer/blogger (Yon Senior Doomsayer) for Hellbound.ca.