Ozzy Osbourne shows Vancouver he's "still fucking crazy"

At Rogers Arena on Sunday, November 14

The most entertaining part of Sunday night’s Ozzy Osbourne concert may well have occurred before the 61-year-old metal legend actually hit the stage. In the lead-up to his appearance a clip was shown in which Osbourne’s mischievous countenance was comically transposed onto the faces of various characters from movies and TV. So we had the Ozzman showing up in an episode of Jersey Shore to swear at and upset that reality show’s main skank, Snooki, before turning up in a forest scene from Twilight to tell Bella: “Vampires are pussies. I’m the Prince of fucking Darkness!”

The clip also showed Ozzy’s self-deprecating humour by placing him in scenes from The Hangover, Iron Man 2, and the Lady Gaga video for “Telephone”. It’s just kind of a shame that the joke had to carry over to his actual performance, because Osbourne’s singing is really getting to the point where it’s not even funny anymore.

“Let the madness begin!” hollered Ozzy as his band ripped into “Bark at the Moon”, one of the best songs of his post-Black Sabbath solo career. It was clear from the get-go that his current band—lead guitarist Gus G., bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, drummer Tommy Clufetos, and keyboardist-guitarist Adam Wakeman—is a force to be reckoned with, but as the night wore on it got harder and harder for them to mask the increasing weakness of Ozzy’s vocals.

For his part Ozzy would constantly exhort the audience to go crazy, as if nothing mattered but going crazier and crazier. “I’m still fucking crazy!” he bellowed. “You’re not fucking wild enough yet!” Then he’d attempt to incite the insanity by hosing down the floor crowd with foam, which actually seemed to do the trick.

Rebecca Blissett

But what worked best to make Ozzy’s hard-core followers go crazy like he wanted was to play a Black Sabbath tune, whether a classic Sab track like “Iron Man” or a lesser-known one like “Fairies Wear Boots”. It’s pretty obvious that his best career move at this juncture—now that Ronnie James Dio has passed on—would be to regroup with the original Sabbath members and try to recapture some of that '70s magic. He’d need to get his singing up to snuff, though.

Opening act Halford fared much better as far as vocals were concerned, as lead screamer Rob Halford—best known as the frontman for Judas Priest—can still bring the throat noise at the age of 59. His quintet focused on tunes from its new album Made of Metal, but it was the Priest material that got the biggest response. After a performance of “The Green Manalishi (With the Two-Prong Crown)”, a track off Judas Priest’s live Unleashed in the East album of '79, a guy behind me declared, “That’s a fucking good song!” I’m not sure if he knew it was originally recorded by the British blues band Fleetwood Mac 40 years ago.

The other cover that went over big during Halford’s 50-minute set was “Diamonds & Rust”, the Joan Baez tune that Judas Priest redid on its Sin After Sin album of '77. Four years earlier Nazareth had started the short-lived trend of turning female-sung folk songs into hard-rock hits with Joni Mitchell’s “This Flight Tonight”. Maybe Halford—or better yet, Ozzy—should try and kick-start a revival of the trend. I for one would love to hear the Prince of fucking Darkness forge a metal anthem out of Mitchell’s “Both Sides Now”.

You can follow Steve Newton on Twitter at twitter.com/earofnewt.

Rebecca Blissett

Comments (24) Add New Comment
Kyle
Ozzy's tired, man. I watched the YouTube footage of his Victoria gig and he's really just phoning it in at this point. His so-called 'holler' of 'let the madness begin' seemed rather monotone and disinterested.

It would be nice if he'd retire with a modicum of dignity left but I guess Sharon wants to flog the last possible buck out of that dead horse.

Aside from not wanting to waste $100 for a floor ticket to watch Ozzy fart and drool his way through the classics (since when is 'Fairies Wear boots' lesser-known?) the main reason I opted out of attending was, over at the Rickshaw last night a top-notch metal show took place with some real princes of darkness. Sweden's blackmetal masters Watain put on one of the most theatrical -if downright smelly- shows the Rickshaw's seen in a while. All four bands on the bill were actually impressive, presumably far more so than doddering old Ozzy and his off-tune butchering of his former glories.
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poopnoodle
Saw him in 2004 at ozzfest with Sabbath
he was awful but the rest of the band was awesome
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OzMedia
Well Steve, you almost did a review here without a pot shot at Zakk, you'll have to get over that issue one day, maybe some counseling will help. I didn't see our review on BLS at the Forum in October but maybe the Forum's just too small for some to even notice. You still got to see Blasko spit on himself though, a stage trick I can only assume he picked up from Zakk.

As for his voice, Ozzy has a throat infection now, picked up during his recent world travels, but instead of canceling again (the memories of the 80's flooding back again) he came out and gave it hell all the same, as he always does.

Kyle: You are making comments based on a YouTube video and didn't even go to the show yourself? I've heard many unqualified opinions before but that one just steals the show. 'He sucks now, but I didn't go...' Way to go, Kyle! Did you just finish reading "Being Dumb, for Dummies?"

As far as Ozzy / Dio comparisons go, we may as well be comparing Windows / MAC or the ever tiring Zakk vs Gus G.

There is no point in it at all, and how irrelevant too! Dio was unbelievable with Heaven & Hell and Sabbath (same thing different day of course) as was Ozzy, however Ozzy is the front man, DIO was the vocalist and the two can never compare. I LOVED Dio's solo albums and, with all due respect if we are to measure solo careers, I think it's pretty obvious who saw greater success in the solo arena.

Ozzy's not a legendary vocalist? So what, he's undeniably a great front man and his show sold a lot more tickets than the last Heaven & Hell show, by a long shot. Again I say this with all due respect and no shot at Dio, RIP!

Regardless, they each shone in their own very unique ways.

The venue, OH EM GEE!

If we could only get the bigger acts to squeeze into the Coliseum for two nights, so we don't have to deal with seats on the floor at a metal show and these wannabe security guards who normally work at Fields, deliver Real Estate Weekly or pizzas. These 'public safety professionals' who were clearly bullied in school or beaten by their parents for being useless, these nobody's on power trips from Vancouver's worst and most inexperienced security service, Prime Time Security.

These shows would be a thousand times better somewhere with better acoustics and staff!

I was in the middle of the floor, then at the front of the floor then at the back of the floor, great sound desk and engineers but acoustically the venue still absolutely sucked the sweaty ballsack.

While ranting on venue, I've never liked the garage, or is it the 'phone booth' now? Rogers Arena is a horrific venue that should just be pulled down and turned into a giant pigeon park where shopping cart dwellers can stretch their legs instead of cramping in on East Hastings.

Crap acoustics, crap venue, crap parking, crap staff, crap......yeah. They completely screwed up the Canucks game experience and they trounce on music.

But hey, if they can fit more people in and charge more, who cares about the visitor's experience?

Vancouver's got some great venues for acoustics and especially rock sound staging, to think that Rogers Arena is used so often simply because you can cram more people into it, while sacrificing sound quality, just illustrates how North America has forgotten about properly staging shows and is more focused on the money grab instead.
Can't stop the ringing of my funeral bell.
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Rating: -5
poopnoodle
Geez Ozmedia

ever hear of Payback time

BTW in 2002 Ozzy no-showed Seattles ozzfest with a sore throat and when I saw him in 2004 he blamed his shit performance on the same
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Rating: -1
Marvin
I think Ozzy's band was talented and tight. This was the first time I've seen Ozzy and I liked it but won't be back for the next one. It was probably a totally amazing thing to see him in '85 or '75 or back whenever. He's becoming a geezer that's for sure but he's a really cool one. I don't access Ozzy info so I was expecting Zack who's definately a "guitar god" as apposed to a "guitar wizard" although some will disagree. The mix of people was interesting with normys, fubars, old rockers, rocker kids and even pre-teens with thier moms and dads. And as to his singing? well, he's the prince of fucking darkness man.
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Rating: +2
Janiti
My son and 3 friends paid 120 each. After three songs, a bouncer told them to sit in their seats. My son pulled his tickets out and asked for help to find the seats, the numbers which were chalked on the floor in the dark. He and friends were taken to a back room, reamed out, tickets taken and thrown out. For STANDING!!! For trying to get to the front????? Hey Ozzy, that's not rock and roll!!!!!
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Rating: -3
chubes
I don't care if Ozzy is 80 fucking years old. I will alway support him on tour. He is out there doing what he knows best and there is no reason why he needs to stop. I thought the show was for sure not his best but I still loved it. He is always an emotional experience for me. I love you OZZY!!
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Rating: -1
Lee E Jake
Decided to pass, ticket prices are just stupid now. Saw Ozzy in his prime in 1984 on the Bark At The Moon tour in Spokane with Motley Crue opening on their Shout At The Devil tour. Ozzy's vocals were great that night. I still have that ticket stub somewhere, I believe it was $12.
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Rating: -2
Marty
I was at the concert.
I was row 2 front and center and went the vip M&G route.
I have been to several Ozzy shows, including Ozfest the other year, but out in Calgary.Ozzy will always be one of the Metal greats.
Yes, he is in his 60s, yes his voice did break apart (on only a couple of songs, but substantially so), and yes he does not move the greatest anymore but you know what - I had a blast, and loved it.
The show was great, revisiting my teen years of Ozzy and being part of what my be his last Vancouver hurrah - I am very glad I went. I could only hope to have that mush energy and talent when I am in my 60s.
I can't imagine someone not enjoying the show, and given he has been rocking longer than I have been alive, I am apt to give him a bit of leeway.
PS: Janiti - that sucks large, total BS - I would be so pissed - but blame the venue, not the band (I'd definitely go chat with Rogers Arena about that)
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Rating: -5
Grant
Wow, lots of haters on here. What crawled up in your backsides and died?
I had a great time. Totally glad I went. He just gave 'er. If you were expecting the 25 or 30 year old Ozzy, give your head a shake.
I hope he comes back again.
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Rating: -4
ken f
yeah...ozzy's old...i'm old...i've been listening to ozzy for 40 yrs...seen him live more than a dozen times...of course he's not the same as he was when he was younger...neither am i...i don't drop acid and chase it with a bottle of vodka when i go see him now...my dog can't run and fetch like he used to either...but i still love him...and i love ozzy...and i love rock'n'roll...i had a great time...so quit bitchin and go fuckin' crazy(senile)...or maybe you're just too young
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Rating: -4
Kurt Dixon
Janiti, what part of "seats" did your son and friends not understand? Why didn't you teach him that rules are for everyone? I'm tired of going to concerts and having people horn in front of me. As for the show itself, I'm glad I went.
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Rating: -2
Jawbreaker
What about Jawbreaker from Defenders of The Faith?! That was the best moment from Halford. Ozzy was way better than I expected of him at this point, killer set-list including some rare ones like Into The Void and Killer of Giants. Yeah his singing sucked at times, but overall a great show.
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Rating: -2
duncan
@Kurt Dixon, you're seriously going to argue that people should not be allowed to stand at an Ozzy Osbourne concert?

GM Place/Rogers Arena has for years had a reputation for the most overzealous security guards in Vancouver. Janiti's story is just one of countless examples of the disproportionate bullshit they pull on a regular basis.
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Rating: -1
newton's nemesis
Janiti - When Ozzy hires security for Rogers Arena, you should make a complaint. as Rogers is known to have Vancouver's worst, most inexperienced, incapable and unprofessional security, you can't expect more. Just hope that next time they play a real venue.
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Rating: -6
Kurt Dixon
Where did I say people shouldn't be allowed to stand? It's where they stand. Do you like having your view blocked after getting good seats or arriving early to pick your spot?
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Rating: -3
Heywoody
wow, can't we just appreciate the art form and not fucking pull cheap shots when most of the ppl who are bringin the bs probably can't even play smoke on the water...lol
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Rating: -5
Dominic
I took my 8 year old Rocking Girl to see Ozzy. She's being playing electric guitar for a few years now and wanted Ozzy to be her first show. She and I were not disappointed and loved it. Years back I saw Sabbath and this brought back great memories. He's an awesome front man to some undisputed talent (some of the best solos I have ever seen). Anyone pulling in that kind of performance in their 40's let alone 60's is a legend and deserves an oscar. Sadly my girl ran out of energy herself just before her favorite track (crazy train) was supposed to be on, and we had to leave. The crowd around us were awesome and so were the security guys. Halford was amazing too - a legendary voice. Big thanks to Ozzy, Halford and Crews - you made a night for us to remember.
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Rating: -4
ken f
go fuckin' crazy...but do it sitting down...they should change the name again...to 'hitler's hellhole'...get rid of the seats on the floor and the nazis in the aisles...and while you're at it... put the bounce back in the floor at the commodore...
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Rating: -3
TamalaF
I enjoyed every single second of the show Sunday night...I am so thankful that I had Monday off...it is Wednesday and I am still recovering!! I have heard Ozzy millions of times, I went to SEE him, and I did! Remarkable!! I was on the floor and have no complaints other than the well known fact that the acoustics suck in this venue...same as for the other shows I have seen there...this venue was NOT meant for music....My son saw him in Victoria and has similar things to say...seriously, after all Ozzy has done in his life, it is nothing short of a miracle that he can take the stage and do anything that resembles music anymore...you ROCK Ozzman....my only disappointment was that he didn't play "I don't wanna stop" off Black Rain...I so wanted to feel that beat pulsate through my body.....I will be back for more! Looking forwrd to a Black Sabbath reunion in 2012.....
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Rating: -2

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