Heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath have brought down the curtain at their final show.
Nearly half a century since their first gigs, the Brummie hellraisers returned to their home town with indomitable frontman Ozzy Osbourne for their swansong set.
Thousands of headbangers from around the world descended on Birmingham’s Genting Arena to see the Prince of Darkness, guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler blast out their hits together one last time.
Famed for once biting the head off a live bat on stage, Osbourne, 68, signed off with a performance of their 1970 classic, Paranoid, and thanked fans as balloons and confetti rained down.
Eoin Spelman tweeted from the crowd: “Nearly fifty years ago, four Brummie lads got together to make the heaviest music anyone had ever heard, thousands have tried to imitate them, but there will only ever be one Black Sabbath.”
Fan Johnny Wilson said: “Tonight I took my dad to see Black Sabbath at their LAST EVER SHOW. Like ever. Should come as no surprise that they were awesome. Was great to be a metalhead again for one night!”
Ahead of the final performance Osbourne said his emotions were “all over the place”.
Rehearsing for the big finale, he told the BBC: “Since I’ve got to this building, I’ve been happy, I’ve been tearful. Let’s see what happens.”
Credited with creating the heavy metal genre in the depths of 1960s industrial Birmingham, the band went on to release 19 studio albums and 31 singles.
“One of the proudest things I have in my heart is the fact that Black Sabbath wasn’t a band that was created by some big mogul,” Osbourne said.
“It was four guys who said, ‘Let’s have a dream’, and it came true beyond our wildest expectations.”
He described his life with the band as “the most incredible adventure”, but conceded that Sabbath had “run its course”.
Fans need not be completely disheartened by the end of Black Sabbath, however, as Osbourne will continue to perform as a solo artist.