Judas Priest frontman Rob Halford had taken over vocal duties with Black Sabbath for a couple of shows back in 1992 in a dream move. The circumstances, however, for this to happen were not the best. The band was scheduled to perform at the Pacific Amphitheatre in Costa Mesa, California, as supporting acts to Ozzy Osbourne, the original vocalist for the group.
It has been noted that Ozzy’s wife Sharon had pulled some strings so that her husband could reunite with Sabbath onstage for a couple of songs. However, it was not to the liking of then-frontman Ronnie James Dio, who resisted the idea. Halford recently recalled the pranks which Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler would pull off before a show.
Rob Halford recollects the moments
The situation had escalated and Dio outright refused to play the gigs, leaving Sabbath without a singer for the dates, until guitarist Tony Iommi called Halford to ask for a favor. In an interview with Metal Hammer, Halford recalled how he had to be initiated into the band by Iommi and Geezer Butler, as he described:
“Tony and Geezer [Butler] are notorious pranksters. We’re getting ready to go on and they say ‘are you nervous Rob?’ and I’m like, ‘you’ve got to be’. So I’m there, with all my gear on, looking like Pinhead from ‘Hellraiser’ and I walk down backstage with Tony and as we get to the curtain, I realize he’s vanished. So I’m there, calling his name, ‘Tony? Tony?’ and he’s disappeared.”
“I think ‘he must have gone out’, so I thought I’d better get out there too. I slowly walk out by myself and the crowd starts roaring, and I’m looking around, there’s nobody on stage. So I’m thinking ‘I’ve walked out, I can’t just walk back off’ and having this dilemma, then a few seconds later Tony and Geezer come walking out, falling about the place laughing.”
“They’re always pulling stunts – you’ve really got to watch them. Afterward, I asked ‘did you do that to me?’ and Geezer goes ‘you’ll never know…’ But what a brilliant show.”