Random Thoughts About This Past Weekend’s Ozzy Osbourne Farewell Show
This past Saturday night, Vince, myself, and some friends made the schlep out to Jones Beach to see the local stop of Ozzy Osbourne’s currently-in-progress farewell tour. Given the monumental nature… well… actually, no, the nature of the tour isn’t quite monumental. It’s been dubbed ‘No More Tours 2′,’ because — duh — it’s not the first time Ozzy has claimed he was retiring. But given the undeniably-curiosity-inspiring nature of this trek, it seemed worth making some observations. Specifically…
Ozzy is not retiring a moment too soon. Osbourne will turn 70 in December. There was a time when I’m sure many of us never thought he’d live to be eligible for senior citizen discounts, so, yeah, I’m glad he’s standing at all. Having said that, he is clearly outta gas. He’s pleasant natured and fun, like your favorite daffy old uncle, but he’s also basically a stationary inverted-L that warbles off-key. The band is now tuning the music down to accommodate his waning voice, which is nice, but he still sounds less-than-spectacular. At one point he took a very, very leisurely jog from the center of the stage a few feet in either direction, and the crowd went nuts, ’cause it was pretty much the most he’d moved all night. Somebody please get this guy an early bird buffet and a hammock someplace warm. He’s earned it.
Zakk Wylde is the true centerpiece of this show. With Ozzy more or less immobile and drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman tied to their stationary instruments, the pressure to actually make the show entertaining falls almost entirely upon bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson and Wylde (Wakeman sometimes plays rhythm guitar, too). They’re both terrific, but Wylde, as a decades-long fan favorite and lead guitarist, has no problem stealing the spotlight. He’s a big kid who has his dream job and he’s an amazing musician. The highlight of the show was when “War Pigs” turned into an extended Wylde solo, during which he thrilled the crowd by walking among the audience and indulging in wholly gluttonous, inarguably-awesome guitar pyrotechnics that included shredding behind his head and with his mouth (if he’d whipped out his dick and used that to play, no one would have batted an eye). The solo eventually morphs into a medley of the specific solos from “Miracle Man,” “Crazy Babies,” “Desire” and “Perry Mason” — what Vince rightfully categorized as “the best parts of those songs” — and I realized that really all I wanted to see was Zakk play solos he’s written and recorded for ninety minutes.
You can never have too much No More Tears. I don’t know if this is the best Ozzy album, but it’s certainly my favorite. Granted, sentimentality accounts for some of that — No More Tears came out right around the time I was first discovering metal — but killer songwriting accounts for a lot of it, too. And apparently, someone agrees with me: Ozzy and company played four songs from the album (not counting the aforementioned snippet of “Desire”) — the title track, “Road to Nowhere,” “I Don’t Want to Change the World,” and “Mama I’m Coming Home” — more than any other single album besides Blizzard of Ozz. In fact…
I guess we’re pretending Ozzy never did anything after No More Tears. Other than the “Perry Mason” solo, not a single post-Tears song was played. I’m not complaining, mind you. Just noting. I did feel kinda bad that Blasko, who has been with the band for fifteen years, didn’t get to play any material he also recorded. I mean, I stopped feeling bad when I remembered what it was like to try to listen to Black Rain. But still. For a moment, I felt bad.
Clufetos is a beast. But we knew that already.
Lasers look even awesomer in the rain!!! This doesn’t have anything to do with anything, just a lesson we learned during the course of the show.
Remaining dates on Ozzy’s farewell tour are below:
Mon 9/10 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
Wed 9/12 Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion
Fri 9/14 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
Sun 9/16 Cuyahoga Falls OH Blossom Music Center
Wed 9/19 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Center
Fri 9/21 Tinley Park, IL Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Sun 9/23 Noblesville, IN Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
Wed 9/26 Dallas, TX Starplex Pavilion
Fri 9/28 Houston, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Sun 9/30 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheater
Tue 10/2 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Thu 10/4 Salt Lake City, UT USANA Amphitheatre
Sat 10/6 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre
Tue 10/9 Chula Vista, CA Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Thu 10/11 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
Sat 10/13 Las Vegas, NV MGM Grand Garden Arena