Metal Monday 2-21-2022

Concert Review Archive

Ozzy Osbourne

w/Korn and Life of Agony

PRI Fieldhouse

Troy NY

January 27, 1996

A Saturday night blizzard was not keeping me away from this show.  Not this one.  Not the Prince of Darkness.  Not after my history of bad luck when it came to seeing the man perform live.  No, I was sure as hell going to catch this Ozzy Osbourne show.

Backtracking four years, in early 1992, Ozzy announced his farewell tour.  Never having seen him before, I grabbed a pair of tickets for the July show in Saratoga NY.  Well before the days of alerts and social media, my eyebrows were more than a little ruffled when I pulled into a barren parking lot less than an hour before showtime.  A young fellow at the ticket booth confirmed my worst fears.  Ozzy was ill and the evening’s performance was rescheduled for August 31.

Call it a bad feeling, but on the morning of August 31, I called the venue and asked if that night’s Ozzy Osbourne show was still on.  They informed me that the concert was the previous night, August 30.  Unbelievable!  The guy told me the wrong date!  I ended up getting my money refunded (good luck with that today!) but I was now never going to see Ozzy, as his farewell tour was wrapping up in a couple of months and I didn’t have anymore available time to take off from work.

Funny thing about rockstars who think they have had enough of the limelight:  the itch always comes back.  Even in my indie band days I have sworn off gigging only to get back out there.  It never completely goes away.  Ozzy was no different.  He announced a new tour in 1995, appropriately named the Retirement Sucks Tour.

After putting the truck into four-wheel drive, I plowed through approximately 90 miles of fresh powder to get to the venue.  Along the way, a frantic fear hit me.  What if the show was cancelled due to weather?  My worries alleviated as I got closer to Troy and the snow tapered off.  It was much worse back home.  A full parking lot greeted me this time.

The show kicked off with a video that celebrated Ozzy’s history, from the early days with Black Sabbath all the way to 1996.  It was an updated version of the intro I saw on a video from the 1992 tour.  The curtain dropped and Osbourne and his band launched into the Sabbath classic, Paranoid

The band consisted of old friend, the late Randy Castillo on drums and Mike Inez on bass guitar, both veterans of the 1992 tour.  Meanwhile, Ozzy introduced a new guitarist, Joe Holmes, following the string of legendary axemen Randy Rhodes, Jake E. Lee, and Zakk Wilde in the fold.  Holmes proved every bit of the shredder, hammering out nearly identical versions of his predecessor’s solos, while adding his own twist.  Unbeknownst to him and to us, his tenure in the band would prove to be short-lived

Osbourne, meanwhile, in his mid-forties, was in fine form, no rust from the long layoff evident, nor showing the vocal strain that would cause him to lower the keys to his songs in later years.  He was active, as well, commanding the stage from one side to the other, bellowing out his trademark stage rap, “Go fuc*$#ng crazy!”  He masterfully led the band through classic solo cuts, I Don’t Know, Flying High Again, and Goodbye to Romance, with the only track from his latest Ozzmosis record to get played being I Just Want You.   

A triple shot of Sabbath classics, Iron Man, Fairies Wear Boots, and Children of the Grave, highlighted the middle section of the show, sending the crowd into a frenzy.  Meanwhile, the middle of Suicide Solution featured a long jam that Holmes, Inez, and Castillo took part in so Ozzy could get a break.  This was the mid-nineties and, for the most part, the token guitar and drum solos were becoming obsolete.

Refreshed, Osbourne came back and delivered a closing shot of Mr. Crowley, War Pigs, and Crazy Train, the latter containing his use of the water guns that fans had come to expect.  Ozzy and crew returned to encore with Mama I’m Coming Home, before closing out the evening with Bark at the Moon.  A short set indeed, clocked in at about 85 minutes, but an energetic one at that. 

I missed the evening’s first opener, Life of Agony, due to the aforementioned snowstorm.  The second band of the night was a little-known metal group named Korn.  I’ve never been a huge fan of them and do not remember much about their performance.

Ozzy Osbourne Setlist:

Paranoid

I Don’t Know

Flying High Again

Goodbye to Romance

I Don’t Want to Change the World

I Just Want You

Suicide Solution

Iron Man

Fairies Wear Boots

Children of the Grave

Mr. Crowley

War Pigs

Crazy Train

Encore:

Mama I’m Coming Home

Bark At the Moon

https://www.ozzy.com/archives/tour/retirement-sucks

Metal Monday 10-17-2021

Welcome to a new weekly post that I will call Metal Mondays, where I will rank the albums of a certain artist in the metal and hard rock genre from worst to best.  As I am a list and ranking person, I am unable to have a simple discussion on what a band’s good albums are, as well as their not-so-good ones.  I must rank them in some sort of order, or I will not be able to participate!  This also makes for a fun debate, don’t you think?

NOTE:  I will rank full length STUDIO ALBUMS only.  There will be no live records, greatest hits, or EP’s here.

This week we will talk about the legendary Ozzy Osbourne, the Prince of Darkness.  Ol’ Oz has been doing this for nearly fifty years, first as the lead singer of heavy metal trendsetter Black Sabbath, and then his own solo career.  Of course, who can forget his TV show?  Ozzy has enjoyed a few stints in Sabbath, and the band has taken part in a successful farewell tour, leaving Osbourne to his own band.  It is Ozzy’s solo albums that we will rank this week.

#11: 

Down to Earth-2001

Featuring Robert Trujillo and Mike Bordin, this album mostly misses the mark.  It has nothing to do with the musicians, rather, the songs themselves.  While Zakk Wylde plays guitar on the record, he does not take part in any of the songwriting.  For this matter, Ozzy collaborated on the outside and the result is the #11 ranked album in Osbourne’s catalog.

Best Song:  Facing Hell

Best Deep Cut:  Facing Hell

#10: 

Scream-2010

Firewind guitarist Gus G. and drummer extraordinaire Tommy Clufetos debut on this record.  Not much else to write about. 

Best Song:  Let it Die

Best Deep Cut:  Let it Die

#9: 

Black Rain-2007

Another rather weak effort here, as well.  After lead single, I Don’t Wanna Stop, the album provides few memorable moments.  Closer, Trap Door ends things on a somewhat positive note, however.

Best Song:  I Don’t Wanna Stop

Best Deep Cut:  Trap Door

#8: 

Ozzmosis-1995

This one had Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler pounding the four string.  Not a bad effort, but not the first Ozzy album I would put on, either.  I do enjoy lead single, Perry Mason, as well as the ballad, See You on the Other Side.  The album’s highlight for me is, I Just Want You.

Best Song:  I Just Want You

Best Deep Cut:  I Just Want You

#7: 

The Ultimate Sin-1986

A poppy affair, this album has some decent moments, however, not enough to push it higher into the countdown.  The title track, Never Know Why, Killer of Giants, and Fool Like You are pleasurable listens.  That said, the highlight is the one smash single which closes out the record, Shot in the Dark.

Best Song:  Shot in the Dark

Best Deep Cut:  Never Know Why

#6: 

Ordinary Man-2020

I’ve got to hand it to Ozzy.  I didn’t think he had it in him at this point in his career.  I truly enjoy this album, despite my standoffish expectations.  Lead single, Under the Graveyard is the one song most folks will be familiar with, and the number is quite catchy.  This is not the highlight, however.  Straight to Hell, All My Life, Eat Me, and Scary Little Green Men are all worthy of a spin or two.  For me, the record’s shining moment is on, Goodbye, a tune that starts with a plodding tempo, before moments of an all-out assault that reminds this reviewer of 80’s thrash.

Other surprises on Ordinary Man are the collaborations, first with Sir Elton John on the title cut, and later with Post Malone to close out the record with, It’s A Raid and Take What You Want.

Best Song:  Goodbye

Best Deep Cut:  Goodbye

#5: 

Bark at the Moon-1983

This album features the debut of guitarist Jake E. Lee, in the unenviable situation of replacing the iconic Randy Rhoads, who was killed in a plane crash.  Lee carries himself better than admirably, proving himself a talented guitarist in his own right, as well as a competent songwriter.  The record, while notches below the first two, is a solid effort from Ozzy, nonetheless.  In addition to the smash title cut, the album contains underrated deep cuts, You’re No Different, Centre of Eternity, Slow Down, and Waiting for Darkness.

Best Song:  Bark at the Moon

Best Deep Cut:  Waiting for Darkness

#4: 

No More Tears-1991

A huge record, upon which Ozzy toured on as part of his first farewell tour, No More Tears featured a polished sound and significant contributions from Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister.  A brilliant bass guitar line drives the smash title cut, while ballads, Mama, I’m Coming Home, The Road to Nowhere, and Time After Time give the album plenty of MTV and radio hits.  Give a listen to deep cuts, I Don’t Want to Change the World and Desire.  

Best Song:  No More Tears

Best Deep Cut:  I Don’t Want to Change the World

 #3: 

No Rest for the Wicked-1988

The introduction of 21-year-old Zakk Wylde as the new guitarist, this album doesn’t receive a ton of accolades, but is as underrated of an Ozzy record as there is.  With MTV hits, Miracle Man, and Crazy Babies, leading the way, the record sold more than 2 million copies in the US alone.  Give a spin to single, Breakin’ all the Rules, as well as deep cuts, Devil’s Daughter (Holy War), Bloodbath in Paradise, and Fire in the Sky.

Best Song:  Fire in the Sky

Best Deep Cut:  Fire in the Sky

#2: 

Blizzard of Ozz-1980

Ozzy’s first solo record also unleashed guitar wizard Randy Rhodes, formerly of Quiet Riot fame.  An incredible album, Blizzard features major hits, Crazy Train, I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, and Goodbye to Romance.  Quite a way to stick it to your estranged former bandmates in Black Sabbath!  That said, Sabbath were doing their own great things around this time.  Give the haunting Revelation (Mother Earth) a try.

Best Song:  Mr. Crowley

Best Deep Cut:  Revelation (Mother Earth)

#1: 

Diary of a Madman-1981

While most would flip this album with Blizzard of Ozz, I tend to disagree.  Nothing against the debut, however, I find the follow up to be a more cohesive, if less commercially successful collection of songs.  The first half is brilliant, with Over the Mountain, Flying High Again, You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll, and Believer.  Meanwhile the album closes with the more than solid trio of, Tonight, S.A.T.O., and the epic title cut.

Best Song:  You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll

Best Deep Cut:   You Can’t Kill Rock and Roll

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