Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How to attend an Ozzy Osbourne concert (November 27 2010, Air Canada Centre, Toronto)

This was my second Ozzy show, so I knew what to expect.  Basically, I expected AWESOME and that is exactly what Ozzy delivered!  It was pretty much the same show as the one in Hamilton a few years before which I am perfectly okay with, because this act never gets old for me.  If you ever get a chance to see him live, GO.  It's worth it!

First thing I can tell you about going to see Ozzy is that the arena will be half empty for the opening act.  Hate to say it but it's true.  Sorry, Rob Halford.  You were amazing in Judas Priest, and you are as haavy as ever, but Ozzy's fans are rabidly loyal.  

Ozzy knows it and gives it all back to the audience.

You'll know it's almost time when the lights dim and the giant screens light up.  He always starts the show with a screamingly funny video montage with Ozzy ripping on all the big pop culture events.  This time around, Avatar, Jersey Shore, Lady GaGa and Beyonce (Ozzy rarely turns down an opportunity to make an ass of himself in drag!) The Hangover, and to top it all off... Twilight.  Ozzy in a puffy Edward wig and huge magazine worthy eyebrows... when she says it out loud...VAMPIRE... Ozzy replies, "Vampiah?  Vampiahs ah PUSSIES!  I'm the Prinzafucchhhhingdahkness!!!"

Never let anybody tell you that this man does not have a sense of humour.

Finally the man himself is on stage, grinning, clapping, and demanding that we join him.  And I do mean, DEMANDING.  


And he probably truly can't hear us, but it doesn't matter, because we will yell louder than we did before,  just to make sure Ozzy can focchhing hear us!

When he yells, "LEMME SEE YA HANDS!"  well heck if I had six hands I'd throw 'em all up in the air.

Understand what an accomplishment this is, because I am not a clap-along kind of person.  I get really uncomfortable when we're supposed to clap along in church, I'm not kidding.  And yet here's the most demented insane cheerleader on earth clapping his hands above his head and I'm right there.

He tells us he loves us and we believe him.  He might not know what city he's in but I have no doubt he loves us!  In Toronto he confided that he's still insane and it's f***ing good to be crazy.

Darn right, man.  Couldn't agree more.  Shout it loud.

He then announced that he's been doing THIS for FORTY-TWO YEARS.  This is important to understand, because people have been saying great things about his last couple albums, things like, "Ozzy's still got it" and "Ozzy knows how to do his thing yet stay current."  This is all true.  But the thing is...

Ozzy invented this stuff.  

And he's not kidding about being crazy, either.  I saw the roadies bring out the friggin fire hose during between acts and I was glad I wasn't in the floor seats.  Let me tell you, if you're in the first few rows at an Ozzy concert, you are going to get soaked.  

It wasn't even a fire hose this time; it was like a soap cannon or something.  Ozzy likes to stick his head in a pail of water every now and then throughout the show.  Then he comes up to the mic looking all deranged and gruesome, clapping water drops and grinning.  Being a generous guy he shares with the audience.  He douses himself with the foam hose, which makes him grin maniacally and totally looks like the Joker.  I mean, the Ledger version of the Joker.  Demented!

Then a roadie dressed in black scurries out to wipe the foam off the monitors and refill the water buckets.

What impresses me the most is the man's voice.  He sounds great - pitch perfect, confident of every note, and just as clear as thirty years earlier.  He hasn't lost that distinctive sound that only he has.  He may move with the jerky clumsiness of an old man, and sometimes look like he's hanging on to that mic stand for dear life, but his voice is as solid as ever.  It's like no time has passed.  It's pretty amazing considering the abuse he put himself through.  

Ozzy has an excellent band backing him up.  I really think this is one of his keys to success: always having the best musicians around him.  It's been working for four decades... why mess with a good thing?  

He introduced his band, starting with bass player, Blasko.

That's Mr Blasko to you.

At our gig he wore a T shirt depicting Ozzy with a Canadian flag.  Nice!

On keyboards and guitar, Adam Wakeman, whom I could not see from where I was sitting... when I first saw him come out to play guitar for a Black Sabbath song, I thought he was the mystery guest.  

Good thing he was there, too.  "Mr Crowley" wouldn't have been the same without him!

Ozzy described drummer Tommy Clufetos (had to look up the name; unintelligible) as really skinny but he plays like a Muthahf*********ah.  

No kidding.  This guy is intense.  And, he's got the coolest drum riser... it lifts up above the stage and shoots smoke out of pipes like exhaust pipes and it's the kind of gimmick that makes all of us adrenaline-fuelled headbangers lose our minds.  Plus he's a hell of a drummer!

Before introducing his guitar player, Ozzy reminded us that he has played with some of the best guitarists on the planet.  Tony Iommi.  Randy Rhoads. Jake E Lee.  Zakk Wylde.  And now...


Now I didn't know much about this guy going in, other than his mind blowing work on the new album.  I'd seen a pic in a magazine and thought, "He looks like a KID!"  And also, "Hmmm.  Gus.  Long thick curly hair.  Sideburns.  Betcha he's Greek!"  Aren't all Greek guys called Gus or Stavros?  I'm thinking about the last guy who cut my hair, an incredibly hetero dude with those dark brown bedroom eyes, who couldn't stop complimenting me on my long thick curly hair.  He thought I should have been Greek too.  

Well I don't know what they're drinking over there in Greece, but young Gus G here has been a rock music phenomenon in Europe for years, proving once again that we in North America are always behind with this stuff.  

The four of us were debating how old he is.  The guys figured less than 25 but I suspected he's older than that but baby faced.  I was right.  He's thirty.  Regardless, he's never lived in a world without Ozzy Osbourne.  And now he's up there on the stage at the guy's left hand, a position formerly occupied by a string of guitar heroes.  Wow!

And see what I mean about baby faced??? I mean, he slings a mean axe, but how cute is he?

And I do mean cute in a wicked, haavy, frightening, METAL kind of way, of course.  

In searching up pictures, I found the most epic one of Gus.  (Good timing, photographer!)

This makes me want to have every picture of me from now on be taken like this.  

If you love a good rock show and you get a chance to see Ozzy live, GO.  DO IT.  You will not regret it.

They play songs spanning the entire career, from the monstrous Black Sabbath to the huge hits from his early solo career, and new songs.  

Wear good shoes, because you will be on your feet for two hours.  Be prepared to clap so much you start worrying that the big scar on the inside of your knuckle could bust open and spew blood everywhere (although Ozzy would probably think that was funny.)  Understand that you will not have much of a voice the next day from all the yelling and screaming and hooting and hollering.  If you make a living with your ears, I'm not kidding, you better wear ear plugs. It's ok, it really only takes the top end off. Believe me, ear plugs cannot silence this audio avalanche!

You'll walk out of that concert feeling... cleansed!  Happy!  And loved!  Because this really is a giant heavy metal love fest.  Ozzy loves us, we love him.  At the end of the night, he very clearly says, "God bless you all!"  

Awwww.  Ozzy you're so sweet.  And yet so delightfully frightening.  

I've heard people accusing him of becoming just an irrelevant joke, but I so strongly disagree.  He simply refuses to take himself seriously.  Nobody has more fun on stage, rocking out, than Ozzy Osbourne.  He fully intends to do this forever and croak right there on the stage.  

I just hope he keeps this up for a few more years, because I'd love to get to Ozzy concert #3.