Tony Iommi made a surprise appearance during the premiere performance of a new Black Sabbath ballet Saturday night (September 23rd) at The Hippodrome Theatre in the band’s hometown of Birmingham, United Kingdom.
The ballet was commissioned by Birmingham Royal Ballet’s director Carlos Acosta and Ballet Now, and features eight re-orchestrated renditions of iconic Black Sabbath songs, as well as new compositions inspired by the heavy metal pioneers.
Iommi had been present for some of rehearsals for the ballet and made his cameo during the final number, playing guitar on “Paranoid.” The guitarist then took a bow with the cast and crew at the conclusion of the performance.
Other notable names in attendance for the premiere were Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, Sharon Osbourne, Led Zeppelin singer Robert Plant, and Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan (who served as the touring drummer for Sabbath from 1983 to 1984 and played drums on 1987’s The Eternal Idol).
Posted Iommi on Facebook following the premiere: “Thanks to everyone who supported us at the Ballet, we had a great premiere last night. I’m honoured to be involved with these talented dancers. I’m afraid I won’t be joining every performance.”
In addition to “Paranoid,” the other songs featured during the performance included “Iron Man,” “War Pigs,” “Black Sabbath,” “Solitude,” “Orchid,” “Laguna Sunrise,” and “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.”
Back in April, Iommi was interviewed by Birmingham World regarding Black Sabbath’s music soundtracking a ballet.
“I’m looking at our music differently now with [the ballet], because it is being interpreted in a different way,” he said. “It’s still got the basic things, but then it did have in the different orchestral things coming in. And then I never thought for a minute we would have people dancing to Black Sabbath and ‘War Pigs’ and ‘Iron Man’. But here we are…”
On Birmingham Royal Ballet’s interpretation of the material, Tony added: “Birmingham Royal Ballet are very conscious of the work being what it is — the Sabbath music. We don’t want to change it so you can’t recognize it. So they’ve held that part of it, but added another dimension to it. So I was very happy with that.”
The performance, titled “Black Sabbath – The Ballet,” is set to run through September 30th.