Watch Tony Iommi make a surprise appearance to play Paranoid at the opening night of the Black Sabbath ballet in Birmingham, which also had Geezer Butler, Sharon Osbourne, Robert Plant and Bev Bevan in attendance

Tony Iommi, Robert Plant and Bev Bevan smile backstage at the Black Sabbath ballet
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Saturday night (September 23) marked a new chapter in the legacy of the band that invented heavy metal as we know it, as the official Black Sabbath ballet made its debut at the Hippodrome theatre in Birmingham, the hometown of the beloved metal icons.

Featuring eight reinterpretations of classic Black Sabbath tracks alongside brand new music inspired by the genre-defining work of the band, the ballet has received enthusiastic reactions from those who were in attendance, with some real rock and metal royalty present for the historic occasion. As well as original Black Sabbath members, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, also reported to be at the show were Sharon Osbourne, Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant and former ELO drummer Bev Bevan.

In fact, not only did Tony Iommi watch the show, but during the production's final number, which featured hallmark Sabbath anthem Paranoid, the legendary musician rocked up on stage to play live guitar on the track, surrounded by dancers, to the delight of the onwatching audience. 

"Thanks to everyone who supported us at the Ballet, we had a great premiere last night," Iommi said on social media the day following the show. "I'm honoured to be involved with these talented dancers." 

Don't expect Iommi to be up on stage for every Black Sabbath ballet show, however - he also confirmed that, sadly but understandably, he "won't be joining every performance."

Watch Iommi play Paranoid with the Black Sabbath ballet below.

Earlier this year, Tony Iommi explained to Birmingham World that the arrival of rhe Black Sabbath ballet has helped him see his band's music in a whole new light.

"I'm looking at our music differently now with this, because it is being interpreted in a different way," he said. "It's still got the basic things, but then it did have in the different orchestral things coming in. And then I never thought for a minute we would have people dancing to Black Sabbath and War Pigs and Iron Man. But here we are, you know."

Merlin Alderslade
Executive Editor, Louder

Merlin moved into his role as Executive Editor of Louder in early 2022, following over ten years working at Metal Hammer. While there, he served as Online Editor and Deputy Editor, before being promoted to Editor in 2016. Before joining Metal Hammer, Merlin worked as Associate Editor at Terrorizer Magazine and has previously written for the likes of Classic Rock, Rock Sound, eFestivals and others. Across his career he has interviewed legends including Ozzy Osbourne, Lemmy, Metallica, Iron Maiden (including getting a trip on Ed Force One courtesy of Bruce Dickinson), Guns N' Roses, KISS, Slipknot, System Of A Down and Meat Loaf. He is also probably responsible for 90% of all nu metal-related content making it onto the site.