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Tony Iommi reveals why Geezer Butler was a no-show at Sabbath reunion

Ozzy Osbourne and Tony Iommi onstage at the closing ceremony
(Image credit: Eddie Keogh / Getty Images)

Tomy Iommi has revealed why Geezer Butler didn't perform at the closing ceremony of this year's Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. The Black Sabbath bass player was a notable absentee as Iommi, singer Ozzy Osbourne, drummer Tommy Clufetos and stand-in bassist Adam Wakeman joined forces at the Alexander stadium to play the intro to Iron Man and the classic Paranoid.  

Now Iommi has revealed why Butler didn't take part, telling Birmingham Live, "I don't think he wanted to come over as he hadn't been well with Covid. He'd been on holiday to Kenya and to Italy and had had an accident on a boat, cracking or breaking a rib about three weeks ago, so he was not quite in fine fettle to come over to play. It's a shame because we'd talked for a long time about the possibility of playing at the Commonwealth Games." 

Sabbath brought the curtain down on their career at Birmingham's Genting Arena in February 2017, but Ozzy told ITV News the following year that he'd consider playing at the Commonwealth games. “Yeah, that would be fantastic," he said. "With Black Sabbath or on my own. I’d like to do that. We’re all Brummies after all.”

The same month, Tony Iommi responded, telling Birmingham Live, “I think that it would be a great thing to do to help represent Birmingham. I’m up for it! Let’s see what happens!”

In the aftermath of the closing ceremony, Queen guitarist Brian May posted a thank you message on Instagram, saying, "That’s the way to do it! Must say I got a bit emotional seeing Ozzy and Iommi on stage together again. Epic!"

Ozzy has also dashed hopes that the Birmingham performance might herald further reunion shows, telling Louder's Paul Brannigan, "Sabbath are over: we made our mark.” The full interview will appear in an upcoming issue of Classic Rock

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 36 years in music industry, online for 23. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.