Zakk Sabbath at the Varsity Theatre 8.13.19

By Danny Sigelman

As soon as the intro music went up so did all the horns. With the smell of sweet leaf in the air, guitarist Zakk Wylde was all over the place completely shredding on the most vintage, metal and completely evil Black Sabbath songs for the next two hours at the Varsity Theatre.

With the unmistakable churn of “Supernaut” Zakk’s power trio tribute band, Zakk Sabbath pummeled the full house of metal fans into a bleeding, sweaty pulp. Literally wasting no time for pleasantries between songs, Zakk maintained his perch on stage through each  – looking not ‘unlike Cousin It in a kilt – blending every solo and riff into the next song. Bassist JD and drummer Joey Castillo providing a solid foundation for “Snowblind” as Zakk delivered his best Ozzy vocal style and rousing the audience all the while pulling riffs with both hands and agin melting into an oblivion of notes during deep cuts “A National Acrobat” and “Under the Sun”.

Conjuring the full feeling of Black Sabbath for “Tomorrow’s Dream” with jazzy guitar melodies, for “Wicked World” Zakk went full throttle into thrash mode. Diving up and down the scale, Wylde clearly demonstrates his knowledge of the songs and pays tribute with his own style, which is basically equivalent to about 100 Tony Iommi’s in terms of note count per guitar solo.

Not before teasing the crowd with the three chords of the song “Black Sabbath” for a minute the band performed an honorable “Fairies Wear Boots” bringing the song to new heights  

Zakk went literally “Into the Void” and to the center of the main floor at Varsity. Flanked by security, Wylde continued to shred with gnarly execution, basically falling into a trance of flurried guitar licks. Back on stage with a double time version of “Children of the Grave”, Zakk eventually took a break and introduced the solid rhythm section as JD vamped on the “Hand of Doom” groove. Finally the biggest sing-along of the night so far, “N.I.B.” found the bass player channeling his inner Geezer Butler with everyone in the audience chanting along, “Oh Yeah”.

As it’s been released as a single and video, it wasn’t a big surprise the band saved their most wicked, “War Pigs” for the final song of the night. Again the audience took over vocals and Zakk found himself pacing back and forth to both sides of the balcony, continuing his shredding marathon. Wrapping up back at the front and on his perch, Wylde let his guitar scream as he triumphantly pounded his chest like a maniac and leaving the stage with no encore. Get it in, get out. The audience loved every moment and feeling included in the tribute, one could imagine Satan himself in the crowd, laughing and spreading his wings.

Setlist: Supernaut – Snowblind – A National Acrobat – Orchid – Under the Sun – Tomorrow’s Dream – Wicked World – Fairies Wear Boots – Into the Void – Embryo – Children of the Grave – Lord of this World – Hand of Doom – Behind the Wall of Sleep – Bassically – N.I.B. – War Pigs