Guitar legend Tony Iommi was among the performers who took part in the opening ceremony of Birmingham’s 2022 Commonwealth Games on Thursday night (July 28). The guitarist recently revealed his attendance at the event, announcing that he would be playing alongside saxophonist Soweto Kinch for the “dream sequence” performance of “Hear My Voice”.
Sidestage footage was shared by Language for Fun Lichfield’s Facebook account, giving viewers a glimpse of how Iommi’s wailing guitar riffs worked so perfectly with Kinch’s sax playing. The song they played 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. Watch the footage below.
The opening ceremonies also included a performance by Duran Duran. The XXII Commonwealth Games continue through August. 8. Among those who tuned in for the evening was Iommi’s Black Sabbath cohort Ozzy Osbourne, who commented about seeing his old bandmate perform: “Tony Iommi, I was really proud to see you tonight at the opening of the Commonwealth Games in our hometown of Birmingham.”
For Iommi, this was a bit of a full-circle moment playing with a saxophone player again. Sabbath’s proto-lineup from the 1960s – before they adopted the famous moniker – included a saxophonist and a lazy guitaristas Iommi recalled on the podcast Backstage last year.
Actually when he was a singer Ozzy Osbournebassist 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 guitarist Jimmy Phillips.
According to Iommi, when the act ultimately chose to strip down to the core four, a fake 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 saxophonist and another guitarist, a slide guitar player. And it was a terrible argument, to be honest.”
The band “kept at it” for a while, he adds, “and then we decided we didn’t need a saxophonist and a slide player. So the only way we felt comfortable removing them was to say that we’re breaking up, we’re not continuing. 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 — everyone was trying to do a solo at the same time.”
Although Black Sabbath are no longer active, Iommi can currently be heard playing with Ozzy Osbourne on Osbourne’s new solo track “Decomposition rules.” The track appears on Osbourne’s forthcoming guest-studded album, Patient number 9which must be submitted on Sept. 9.