So, a cover band played to a SOLD-OUT crowd at The Opera House in Toronto this past Thursday night. Cover bands are normally reserved for sleepy bars who are looking to bring in more asses for the seats with happy little Top 40 hits. That is NOT what this band is about. Take one certified guitar-wielding madman, Zakk Wylde, one equally pedigreed bass-playing bringer of thunder, Blasko, and one 100 mph – 100% of the time drum smasher, Joey Castillo, and you have the trio of Doom that is Zakk Sabbath. And who better to build a setlist of Black Sabbath’s biggest hits and tour them across the world than Wylde and Blasko who are Ozzy’s current guitarist and bassist respectively. And Castillo, who has pounded the skins for bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Scott Weiland and the Wildabouts most recently.

Wylde and Co. hit the stage after the standard Black Sabbath rain and thunder intro and tore into “Supernaut” and “Snowblind”. As a music fan and a fan of musicians, it was so good to hear those so familiar riffs and rhythms filling the venue and watching the screaming fans, fists pumping and heads banging bringing the band to life. “A National Acrobat” came next and was a welcome surprise for most fans who roared their approval for the often overlooked, but killer anthem.

Wylde dressed in his standard bad-ass denim, leather and impossibly wide studded guitar strap that kept his “Master of Reality” purple buzzsaw guitar secure, spent much of the show perched high on his metal stand in a tornado of hair. Guitar solos are Wylde’s signature and extending songs, his specialty. Most guitarists work with wireless gear for better mobility. Not Wylde. Fully wired he still ventured into the crowd three times, 200 foot guitar cord and all, with his stage manager feeding it from centre stage. In this time of madmen inflicting terror on all manner of public venues, Wylde still chooses to live his life and embrace the fan interaction experience up close and personal. The third time in the crowd was spent in the centre of the GA floor, crammed in with all the fans, for an extended shredding session during the show ending “War Pigs”.

Castillo is nothing less than a machine behind the kit. During the aforementioned extended guitar solos, you’d think the drummer would lighten up a bit and take a break. Not Castillo. He was fully engaged and working the skins for the entire 2 hour set. He and Blasko provided a perfect interpretation of Black Sabbath’s epic catalog to go with Wylde’s, where billions and billions of notes were served up hot. Openers Them Evils from Huntington Beach California worked a powerful set of straight up rock originals and a few classic covers.

Zakk Sabbath Setlist:

A National Acrobat
Embryo (Intro)
Children of the Grave
Lord of This World
Orchid (Intro)
Under the Sun
Never Say Die
Fairies Wear Boots
Into the Void
Hand O’ Doom/Band Intros
Behind the Wall of Sleep
War Pigs