Tony Iommi to perform at the 2022 Commonwealth Games opening ceremony

Tony Iommi performing live
(Image credit: Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images)

Tony Iommi has joined the list of artists who will perform at the opening ceremony of the 2022 Commonwealth Games, which takes place in the Black Sabbath electric guitar titan's home city of Birmingham, England.

Set to take place on Thursday July 28 at the Alexander Stadium, the ceremony will see Iommi share the stage with acclaimed saxophonist Soweto Kinch to lead a “dream sequence” titled Hear My Voice, which is based on the title track of the 2020 film, Trial of the Chicago Seven.

The specific track that Iommi and co will perform was in turn reimagined by Birmingham-born R&B vocalists Indigo Marshall and Gambimi.

While it’s not exactly War Pigs, or the metal guitar riffs and Black Sabbath songs many spectators would've hoped for, this presents Iommi like we’ve never seen him before. Artistic director Iqbal Khan takes the reins for what promises to be a unique show.

Joining the Black Sabbath riff-master on the ceremony’s roster are ‘80s new wave heavyweights Duran Duran, who will close the show with a medley of their best-known hits.

Duran Duran drummer Roger Taylor commented, “We are so proud to be returning to our home town to close the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony.”

“The Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games is a momentous event for the great city of Birmingham,” frontman Simon Le Bon added. “And we in Duran Duran are honoured to be a part of it in our home town.”

Birmingham, England, is widely regarded as the birthplace of heavy metal. Black Sabbath emerged out of the city in 1968, and a year later, so too did Judas Priest. Perhaps the Commonwealth Games committee is missing a trick by not having Priest frontman Rob Halford ride his Harley through the opening ceremony.

It was in the city of Birmingham where Iommi had his accident in a sheet metal factory, which resulted in him losing the tips of his middle and ring fingers on his right hand – an accident that made him develop his power chord-heavy approach to playing.

Speaking to Guitar World in 2008, Iommi discussed the influence of Birmingham, saying, “Where we lived was crap, really. I worked in a factory and was around sheet metal all day. The area we lived in was a bit rough. There were gangs and whatnot. It’s hard to get out of that gloom. But we loved our music. That was our opening to get out. Instead of joining gangs we turned to music.”

The Commonwealth Games 2022 opening ceremony will be broadcast live on the BBC, and footage will no doubt make its way online soon after.

In other Iommi news, the Black Sabbath legend will be featured on Ozzy Osbourne’s upcoming solo album, Patient Number 9, which will see him line up alongside a star-studded cast of guest guitarists. Ozzy will share Degradation Rules, the track featuring Iommi, tomorrow, Friday July 22.

The album, which also features Jeff Beck, Zakk Wylde, Eric Clapton, Mike McCready and more, will arrive September 9 via Epic Records. 

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.