Concert Review Archive
w/Korn and Life of Agony
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:
I Don’t Know
Flying High Again
Goodbye to Romance
I Don’t Want to Change the World
I Just Want You
Fairies Wear Boots
Children of the Grave
Mama I’m Coming Home
Bark At the Moon