Born Again Tour 1983

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Born Again 1983 Tour
World tour by Black Sabbath
Born again world tour.jpg
Associated album Born Again
Start date7 August 1983
End date4 March 1984
No. of shows96
Black Sabbath concert chronology
  • Mob Rules
  • Born Again
  • Seventh Star

The Born Again Tour 1983 was a global concert tour by in support of Black Sabbath's Born Again album. Both the album and the tour were the only ones of Black Sabbath's to feature former Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan on lead vocals. Ex-Electric Light Orchestra drummer Bev Bevan was hired to replace Bill Ward, who had returned to the band for the recording of the album after a two-year hiatus, for the tour. This was the final tour to feature original Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler until 1992's Dehumanizer tour.

Black Sabbath British heavy metal band

Black Sabbath were an English rock band, formed in Birmingham in 1968, by guitarist and main songwriter Tony Iommi, bassist and main lyricist Geezer Butler, drummer Bill Ward, and singer Ozzy Osbourne. Black Sabbath are often cited as pioneers of heavy metal music. The band helped define the genre with releases such as Black Sabbath (1970), Paranoid (1970), and Master of Reality (1971). The band had multiple line-up changes, with Iommi being the only constant member throughout its history.

<i>Born Again</i> (Black Sabbath album) 1983 studio album by Black Sabbath

Born Again is the 11th studio album by English heavy metal band Black Sabbath, released in August 1983. It is the only album the group recorded with lead vocalist Ian Gillan, best known for his work with Deep Purple. It was also the last Black Sabbath album for nine years to feature original bassist Geezer Butler, and the last to feature drummer Bill Ward until he played the studio tracks on their 1998 live album Reunion. The album has received mixed to negative reviews from critics, but it was a commercial success upon its 1983 release, reaching No. 4 in the UK charts. The album also hit the top 40 in the United States.

Deep Purple English rock band

Deep Purple are an English rock band formed in Hertford in 1968. The band is considered to be among the pioneers of heavy metal and modern hard rock, although their musical approach changed over the years. Originally formed as a progressive rock band, the band shifted to a heavier sound in 1970. Deep Purple, together with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, have been referred to as the "unholy trinity of British hard rock and heavy metal in the early to mid-seventies". They were listed in the 1975 Guinness Book of World Records as "the globe's loudest band" for a 1972 concert at London's Rainbow Theatre, and have sold over 100 million copies of their albums worldwide.



"There had been conversations during the Born Again sessions about going on tour," Bill Ward recalled, "and I was barely making it through the sessions, let alone touring. The thought of touring put me in such a state of panic, anxiety and dread that I couldn't possibly face the idea… but I was too ashamed to tell everybody. And rather than tell everybody, I drank and I disappeared. I escaped. That's how I used to do things: when I couldn't handle a situation, I would just drink and just run away… I came back to the United States, got hospitalised a couple of times, ended up back on the streets and, in the early part of January 1984, I went into my final detox. And from that point on I haven't taken a drink. And I haven't used any narcotics." [1]

Meanwhile, between 7 and 14 August 1983, the band used the National Exhibition Centre, in Birmingham, England, to rehearse. The first leg of the tour consisted of seven European shows in August, followed by a second European leg in September and October, featuring 16 shows.

National Exhibition Centre exhibition and conference centre in Solihull near Birmingham, England

The National Exhibition Centre (NEC) is an exhibition centre located in Solihull, England. It is near junction 6 of the M42 motorway, and is adjacent to Birmingham Airport and Birmingham International railway station. It has 20 interconnected halls, set in grounds of 611 acres (2.54 km2) making it the largest exhibition centre in the UK. It is the busiest and seventh-largest exhibition centre in Europe.

Birmingham City in the English Midlands, 2nd highest population of UK cities

Birmingham is the second-most populous city in the United Kingdom, after London, and the most populous city in the English Midlands. With an estimated population of 1,137,100 as of 2017, Birmingham is the cultural, social, financial and commercial centre of the Midlands. It is the main centre of the West Midlands conurbation, which is the third most populated urban area in the United Kingdom, with a population in 2011 of 2,440,986. The wider Birmingham metropolitan area is the second largest in the United Kingdom with a population of over 3.7 million. Birmingham is frequently referred to as the United Kingdom's "second city".

England Country in north-west Europe, part of the United Kingdom

England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to the west and Scotland to the north-northwest. The Irish Sea lies west of England and the Celtic Sea lies to the southwest. England is separated from continental Europe by the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south. The country covers five-eighths of the island of Great Britain, which lies in the North Atlantic, and includes over 100 smaller islands, such as the Isles of Scilly and the Isle of Wight.

"We were on flight 666 to Helsinki," recalled Geezer Butler, "and even the baggage label said 'HEL'. We were all shitting ourselves getting on that plane. I got pissed, of course. I was severely boozing then. I was pissed for that whole tour." [2]

Geezer Butler English musician, bassist and lyricist of Black Sabbath

Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He has also recorded and performed with Heaven & Hell, GZR, and Ozzy Osbourne. He currently serves as bassist of Deadland Ritual.

Helsinki Airport international airport serving Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki Airport is the main international airport of the city of Helsinki, its surrounding metropolitan area, and the Uusimaa region. The airport is located in the city of Vantaa, about 5 kilometres (3 mi) west of Tikkurila, the administrative center of Vantaa and 9.2 NM north of Helsinki city center. The airport is operated by state-owned Finavia.

Alcohol intoxication psychological state induced by the ingestion of ethanol (alcohol)

Alcohol intoxication, also known as drunkenness or alcohol poisoning, is the negative behavior and physical effects due to the recent drinking of ethanol (alcohol). Symptoms at lower doses may include mild sedation and poor coordination. At higher doses, there may be slurred speech, trouble walking, and vomiting. Extreme doses may result in a decreased effort to breathe, coma, or death. Complications may include seizures, aspiration pneumonia, injuries including suicide, and low blood sugar.

Two North American legs consisted of 36 shows from October through November, then 34 shows from January through March 1984. [3]

There were many cancellations during the North American tour owing to problems with an oversized Stonehenge stage set. This was the reason that initial shows in Canada were cancelled, delaying the first North American leg. The crew also got caught in a November blizzard while crossing the Continental Divide, forcing the cancellation of two shows in Salt Lake City and Reno.

Stonehenge Neolithic henge monument in Wiltshire, England

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, two miles (3 km) west of Amesbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 13 feet (4.0 m) high, seven feet (2.1 m) wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

There were more difficulties during the second North American leg which delayed their shows for nearly a week. One show in Salisbury, Maryland (28 February 1984) was beset by local religious protests that were noted in the local papers, but was ultimately cancelled due to poor ticket sales. Of the 96 currently confirmed shows, 30% were likely cancelled for one reason or another.

It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Sabs as they did manage to sell out at least a dozen shows including Saginaw, Worcester, Rockford, Providence, Cleveland, Detroit, New Haven, Portland, Philadelphia, Toronto, East Rutherford and Chicago. [Updated by Rob Dwyer -; With special thanks to Bev Bevan]

Tour dates

First European leg
18 August 1983 Drammen Norway Drammenshallen
19 August 1983 Stockholm Sweden Johanneshovs Isstadion
21 August 1983 Helsinki Finland Helsinki Ice Hall
23 August 1983 Lund Sweden Olympen
24 August 1983 Copenhagen Denmark Falkoner Teatret
27 August 1983 Reading England Reading Festival
28 August 1983 Dublin Ireland Dalymount Park
Second European leg
10 September 1983MulhouseFranceSun Rise Festival '83 - Hippodrome de Schlierbach
13 September 1983 Barcelona Spain La Monumental
14 September 1983 Madrid Estadio Román Valero
15 September 1983 San Sebastián Velódromo de Anoeta
18 September 1983 Offenbach Germany Stadthalle Offenbach
19 September 1983 Düsseldorf Philips Halle
20 September 1983 Mannheim Mannheimer Rosengarten
22 September 1983 Munich Circus Krone Building
24 September 1983 Frauenfeld Switzerland Festhalle Ruegerhols
25 September 1983 Geneva Pavillon Des Sports Del Champel Geneve
27 September 1983 Neunkirchen am Brand Germany Hemmerleinhalle
28 September 1983 Böblingen Sporthalle
30 September 1983 Paris France Espace Balard
1 October 1983 Brussels Belgium Forest National
2 October 1983 Zwolle Netherlands IJsselhallen
3 October 1983 Nijmegen Concertgebouw de Vereeniging
First North American leg
13 October 1983Moncton, New Brunswick Canada Moncton Coliseum
15 October 1983Halifax, Nova ScotiaHalifax Metro Center
17 October 1983 Rimouski, Quebec Colisée de Rimouski
18 October 1983 Chicoutimi, Quebec Centre Georges-Vézina
20 October 1983 Quebec City, Quebec Colisée de Québec
21 October 1983 Montreal, Quebec Montreal Forum
22 October 1983 Ottawa, Ontario Ottawa Civic Centre
24 October 1983 Sudbury, Ontario Sudbury Arena
25 October 1983 Toronto, Ontario Maple Leaf Gardens
26 October 1983 London, Ontario London Gardens
27 October 1983 Buffalo, New York United States Buffalo Memorial Auditorium
29 October 1983 East Rutherford, New Jersey Brendan Byrne Arena
30 October 1983 Uniondale, New York Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
1 November 1983 Providence, Rhode Island Providence Civic Center
2 November 1983 Landover, Maryland Capital Centre
4 November 1983 Worcester, Massachusetts Worcester Centrum
5 November 1983 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Spectrum
6 November 1983 Portland, Maine Cumberland County Civic Center
8 November 1983 New Haven, Connecticut New Haven Coliseum
9 November 1983 Rochester, New York Rochester Community War Memorial
10 November 1983Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaStanley Theater
11 November 1983 Detroit, Michigan Cobo Arena
12 November 1983 Cleveland, Ohio Public Auditorium
13 November 1983 Cincinnati, Ohio Richfield Coliseum
14 November 1983 Saginaw, Michigan Saginaw Civic Center
15 November 1983 Rockford, Illinois Rockford MetroCentre
16 November 1983 Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin Brown County Veterans Memorial Arena
18 November 1983 Chicago, Illinois UIC Pavilion
19 November 1983 Madison, Wisconsin Dane County Coliseum
20 November 1983 Bloomington, Minnesota Met Center
22 November 1983Salt Lake City, UtahSalt Palace
23 November 1983 Reno, Nevada Lawlor Events Center
25 November 1983 Paradise, Nevada Aladdin Theatre for the Performing Arts
26 November 1983 Phoenix, Arizona Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum
27 November 1983 Tucson, Arizona Tucson Community Center
29 November 1983 Albuquerque, New Mexico Tingley Coliseum
30 November 1983 El Paso, Texas El Paso County Coliseum
Second North American leg
16 January 1984Calgary, AlbertaUnited StatesTBA
17 January 1984Edmonton, AlbertaNorthlands Coliseum
19 January 1984Vancouver, British ColumbiaTBA
20 January 1984Seattle, WashingtonSeattle Center Coliseum
21 January 1984Spokane, WashingtonSpokane Coliseum
23 January 1984Portland, OregonMemorial Coliseum Complex
25 January 1984 Daly City, California Cow Palace
26 January 1984 Long Beach, California Long Beach Arena
28 January 1984 El Paso, Texas El Paso County Coliseum
29 January 1984 Salt Lake City, Utah Salt Palace
31 January 1984 Denver, Colorado University of Denver Arena
1 February 1984 Amarillo, Texas Amarillo Civic Center
2 February 1984 Lubbock, Texas Lubbock Memorial Civic Center
3 February 1984 Corpus Christi, Texas Memorial Coliseum
4 February 1984 San Antonio, Texas Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center
7 February 1984 Houston, Texas Sam Houston Coliseum
8 February 1984 Dallas, Texas Reunion Arena
10 February 1984 Beaumont, Texas Beaumont Civic Center
11 February 1984 Little Rock, Arkansas Barton Coliseum
12 February 1984New Orleans, LouisianaLakefront Arena
13 February 1984 Birmingham, Alabama Boutwell Auditorium
14 February 1984 Jacksonville, Florida Jacksonville Memorial Coliseum
16 February 1984 Lakeland, Florida Lakeland Civic Center
17 February 1984 Sunrise, Florida Sunrise Musical Theater
18 February 1984Savannah, GeorgiaSavannah Civic Center
20 February 1984 Atlanta, Georgia Fox Theater
22 February 1984 St. Louis, Missouri Kiel Auditorium
24 February 1984 Toledo, Ohio Toledo Sports Arena
25 February 1984 Trotwood, Ohio Hara Arena
26 February 1984 Kalamazoo, Michigan Wings Stadium
28 February 1984 Salisbury, Maryland Wicomico Youth and Civic Center
29 February 1984 Utica, New York The Stanley Center for the Arts
1 March 1984 Albany, New York Palace Theatre
3 March 1984Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaStanley Theater
4 March 1984 Springfield, Massachusetts Springfield Civic Center

Set lists

The set list featured two Dio-era tracks, "Heaven and Hell" and "Neon Knights", as well as a good helping from the new album, and a few fan favorites reappeared in the set, such as "Supernaut" and "Rock 'n' Roll Doctor". Each show on the tour ended with a two-song encore, with the first song being a cover of the Deep Purple classic "Smoke on the Water", as Ian Gillan was formerly of Deep Purple. This is one of the few cover songs Black Sabbath have ever done at live shows. They played the song on Iommi's suggestion. He felt it was a 'bum deal' that Gillan had to perform so many old Sabbath songs and none of his own. [4]

Songs played on the tour

"Children of the Grave"
"Hot Line"
"War Pigs"
"Born Again"
"Rock 'n' Roll Doctor" ("Horrible," recalled Iommi. "It was difficult for him [Gillan] to sing certain Sabbath songs.)" [5]
"Disturbing the Priest"
"Keep It Warm"
"Black Sabbath"
"The Dark"
"Zero the Hero"
"Heaven and Hell"
"Neon Knights"
"Digital Bitch"
"Iron Man"
"Smoke on the Water"

Songs rehearsed for the tour, but never played live

"Sabbra Cadabra"
"Evil Woman"
"Children of the Sea"
"Never Say Die"
"Symptom of the Universe"
"The Wizard"
"Tomorrow's Dream"


There were many problems surrounding the tour for the album, including having little room on stage owing to it being decorated with Stonehenge replicas. [6] In 2005, Geezer Butler explained: [7]

Ian Gillan maintained that Stonehenge was indeed Geezer's idea – and that, asked for details by set buildings Light and Sound Design, Geezer had simply said: "Life-size." [6] Filling three containers, it was too big for any stage, so only a small part of it was used at a time, but the band and crew still had problems edging between the monoliths.

"We couldn't believe the size of it when we saw it," recalled Iommi. "We seen it when we rehearsed at the NEC [in Birmingham] for a whole and we'd only seen it on the floor; parts of it – they hadn't finished it… It gets to [the 1983] Reading [festival] and we've got these huge ones at the back that are just, like, gigantic." [8]

Photos of the Born Again tour show that at least some of the stones were present on stage. [9]

The tour's early stages featured a dwarf, dressed to look like the demon-infant from the album cover. [6] The dimension problems and use of dwarfs bear strong similarities to the infamous Stonehenge scene in the movie This Is Spinal Tap , released a year after Sabbath's tour. However, this is simply a coincidence, because the "Stonehenge scene" was in a 20-minute early demo of the film from 1982. [10] "It was great when I saw that film, though," recalled Butler, "because it was at the end of that tour with Gillan… I thought they'd had a spy with us or something – it was so like us." [11]


Bill Ward was unable to play the Born Again tour because of personal problems. He explains: [12]

Opening acts

Pretty Maids were the support act on the initial Scandinavian dates (18–24 August 1983). Diamond Head provided support on the remaining European dates (13 September to 3 October) together with Lita Ford (27-28 September), but was also supplanted by Girlschool during the Spanish gigs (13–15 September 1983) and Belgian speed metallers Acid in Brussels (1 October).

Streetheart were originally scheduled to be the support act at the beginning of the 1983 Canadian leg, but those initial shows were canceled. Instead, Scottish rockers Nazareth filled in on the majority of the Canadian shows (from 20 October through 24th) until Quiet Riot were available for the show in Toronto (25 October). However, Nazareth paired with Quiet Riot in London, Ontario (26 October) and replaced Black Sabbath as the headliner when their Stonehenge set wouldn't fit into the arena!

Quiet Riot appeared with Sabbath for the remainder of the first North American leg and all U.S. dates through 30 November. Fastway also made an appearance in New Haven on 8 November.

Heaven provided support at the beginning of the 2nd North American leg from 25 January through at least the end of January. Ratt appeared only at the first show in Daly City on 25 January. Girlschool reappeared for a single show in San Antonio on 4 February. Night Ranger joined the tour from 7 February through 26. They were replaced by Canadian band Helix for two shows in New York. The final show in Springfield, MA was supported by Cryer and Lodestar that featured guitar virtuoso Tony MacAlpine.

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  1. Schroer, Ron (May 1998). "Bill Ward & The Hand Of Doom – Part IV: Living Naked". Southern Cross (Sabbath fanzine) #21. p. 61.
  2. Elliott, Paul (20 September 1997). "The last word". Kerrang! . p. 62.
  3. "Gillan the Hero fan site-Tour Dates". Archived from the original on 4 June 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2009.
  4. Iommi, Tony; Lammers, T. J. (2011). Iron Man: My Journey Through Heaven and Hell with Black Sabbath. Da Capo Press. p. 228. ISBN   978-0-306-81955-1.
  5. Scott, Peter (May 1998). "Tony Iommi Interview". Southern Cross (Sabbath fanzine) #21. p. 47.
  6. 1 2 3 "Caramba!-Anecdotage". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  7. Archived 26 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show , BBC Radio 1, 28 June 1992, transcribed in Sabbath fanzine Southern Cross #14, October 1994, p40
  9. Karl French. "This is Spinal Tap | Books | The Guardian". Retrieved 2014-05-19.
  10. Tommy Vance's Friday Rock Show , BBC Radio 1, 28 June 1992, transcribed in Sabbath fanzine Southern Cross #14, October 1994, p40
  11. "Bill Ward: From Jazz to Black Sabbath Part 2-2". Retrieved 2014-05-19.