Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler didn’t take part in the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony last week because he injured himself in an accident, Tony Iommi revealed.

The guitarist added that a number of his friends were hurt after falling in recent months, leading him to become more cautious when using stairways.

Ozzy Osbourne made a last-minute decision to join Iommi at the ceremony, despite recently undergoing major surgery, and the pair played the classic Sabbath song “Paranoid” to a surprised audience. The bass part was played by touring member Adam Wakeman, who would add keyboards and rhythm guitar parts to Sabbath shows before the band retired in 2017. Touring drummer Tommy Clufetos was also present.

“I don’t think [Butler] wanted to come over as he hadn't been well with COVID,” Iommi told Birmingham Live. “He’d been on holiday to Kenya and to Italy and had had an accident on a boat, cracking or breaking a rib about three weeks ago, so he was not quite in fine fettle to come over to play. ... It’s a shame because we’d talked for a long time about the possibility of playing at the Commonwealth Games.”

Because it was believed that Osbourne’s recovery from surgery – as a result of a fall that aggravated injuries from a previous accident – meant he couldn’t take part, Iommi admitted he’d been “talking about performing with other big names, which I won’t mention.” He added, “I don't know how Ozzy managed to get here from L.A. without anybody spotting him. I don't think he came in a private jet. When he went out to get into position, he was hobbling. When we’d finished, Sharon said, ‘Look how he’s walking now ... he’s walking OK back to the dressing room.’ It had obviously done him good.”

Expressing hopes that Osbourne’s recovery was in full swing, Iommi reflected that "my guitar tech fell and hit his head and suffered bleeding on the brain and has spent four and a half months in hospital in an induced coma. Another friend fell and it killed him. Ozzy’s rising platform had a metal stand behind him which he could lean on during the closing ceremony.

“As you get older, you can’t be too careful. As a result of my friends’ injuries, I tell my wife, Maria, that it’s not a good idea to come bouncing down the stairs like we used to – that we should always hold on to the handrail! You just never know.”

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