Watch Tony Iommi Wail on Guitar During 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony
Guitar legend Tony Iommi was among the performers taking part in the opening ceremony of Birmingham's 2022 Commonwealth Games Thursday night (July 28). The guitarist recently revealed his participation in the event, announcing that he'd be playing alongside saxophonist Soweto Kinch for the "dream sequence" performance of "Hear My Voice."
Side-stage footage was shared by the Language for Fun Lichfield Facebook account, giving viewers a glimpse of how Iommi's wailing guitar riffs worked so perfectly with Kinch's saxophone playing. The song they were playing was "Hear My Voice," which was based on the title track from the 2020 film Trial of the Chicago Seven, and reimagined by singers Indigo Marshall and Gambini. Check out the footage below.
The opening ceremonies also included a performance by Duran Duran. The XXII Commonwealth Games will continue through Aug. 8. Among those tuning in for the evening were Iommi's Black Sabbath cohort Ozzy Osbourne, who commented about seeing his old bandmate performing, "Tony Iommi, I was really proud to see you tonight at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in our home town of Birmingham."
For Iommi, this was a bit of a full circle moment playing with a saxophone player again. Sabbath's 1960s proto-lineup — prior to them adopting the famous moniker — included a sax player and a slide guitarist, as Iommi recalled on the podcast Backstaged last year.
Indeed, back when he, singer Ozzy Osbourne, bassist Geezer Butler and drummer Bill Ward first came together in 1968 as the Polka Tulk Blues Band, the group featured saxophonist Alan "Aker" Clarke and slide guitar player Jimmy Phillips.
According to Iommi, when the act ultimately chose to strip down to the core four, a faux breakup was required. "It didn't seem to be going anywhere at first," the guitarist recalls. (Hear it around the 19:30 mark in the player below.) "We had a sax player and another guitar player, a slide guitar player. And it was a horrendous row, to be honest."
The band "carried on with it" for a while, he adds, "and then we decided we didn't need a sax player and a slide player. So the only way we felt comfortable about sort of removing them was to say we're gonna break up, we're not gonna carry on. So that's what we did, and then we broke up for a week or whatever, and then we got back together just the four of us. … It was just a playground when it was the six of us — everybody was trying to do a solo at the same time."
Though Black Sabbath are no longer active, Iommi can currently be heard playing alongside Ozzy Osbourne on Osbourne's new solo track "Degradation Rules." The track appears on Osbourne's upcoming guest-filled album, Patient Number 9, which is due Sept. 9.