Founding fathers of heavy metal Black Sabbath may be playing their last ever concert this summer in London on the 4th of July. Guitarist Tony Iommi told Metal Hammer that after the Hyde Park gig, which is the last stop on their summer 2014 tour, Black Sabbath has no further plans to tour.
The band is scheduled to perform at the Barclaycard British Summer Time outdoor festival alongside Soundgarden, Faith No More, Motörhead, and Soulfly. The concert will be the last stop on a whirlwind, month-long tour of Europe for Black Sabbath.
Iommi’s announcement comes after two years spent managing major health issues while on the road. His lymphoma diagnosis in 2012 threw a wrench in Black Sabbath’s comeback, but Iommi has tirelessly pressed on, shuttling himself between arena shows and hospital visits. He returns to England every six weeks for treatment, so Black Sabbath have arranged their touring schedule around their bandmate’s medical needs. On the future of Black Sabbath tours, Iommi expressed mixed feelings:
“It [our Barclaycard British Summer Time performance] could be the last ever Sabbath show. I don’t want it to be, but there’s nothing really planned touring-wise after that show, so for all we know that could be it, really. To be honest, I don’t want to be touring to this extent too much longer, because it makes me feel so bad.”
Iommi’s bandmates are supportive of Iommi regardless of Black Sabbath’s future. On Iommi’s efforts to keep doing live shows in spite of his health problems, singer Ozzy Osbourne told Metal Hammer, “My hat goes off to him ’cause he really is Iron Man. … He’s my hero, I swear to God he is.”
Soon after the band reunited in 2011, they recorded 13, their first LP since 1995. After its release in 2013, 13 became the first Black Sabbath album to reach No. 1 in the United States. It also received three Grammy nominations.
The future of Black Sabbath as a touring band is still unknown. Iommi’s comments indicate that the band wants to slow down, but he’s left the possibility of future shows open. For now, learn more about the British Summer Time event (and search for tickets) here.