Ozzy:The Blizzard of Odd

On January 24, 2011, in Concert Reviews, Uncategorized, by admin

Thursday night on January 20 brought 62 year old Ozzy Osbourne to American Airlines Center Dallas, Texas. This is a stop in the current tour to support his latest CD. The opening act was Slash and his band. Slash came on stage about 7:20p, about 10 minutes before the stated start time. The band was definitely tight and well prepared. A five piece group, led of course by Slash included another guitar, bassist, and a lead singer, Myles Kennedy from Alter Bridge fame. Clearly, the lead singer is trying to copy Axel Roses’ voice. When Slash played his own music, it was based in blues rock. Quite good overall. It was reasonably received by the crowd, but in the end, the quintet would have to play Guns N Roses to keep the crowd propped up throughout the set. As mentioned, the voice of Kennedy did a reasonable job of imitation, and the tightness of the band reasonably pulled off the the sound of GNR. Slash, of course, had his branded black hat and sunglasses outlining his frizzed hair…no changes here. They played until 8:10 p.m.

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Slash Looking Like Slash

Ozzy was sporting a lot of new blood in his band lineup. Gone is Zak Wilde. A new drummer sits atop the kit perch. At a certain moment, when you see Ozzy out there, you wonder when Sharon is going to let him kick back, as he kind of needs to. The show was typical Ozzy. The same old “the louder and wilder you are the longer I play” statement over and over to the crowd, even though the corporate stopping point on this venue is 10:45.  I have seen Ozzy now 9 times, and it has always been the same. It is getting old. Also also consistent to Ozzy, was the high pressure fire hose, this time it was filled with a foam/water combination, a sort of Ibiza foam party, if you will. In fairness, Ozzy douses himself as well. This leaves the overly conservative venue cleanup crew mopping the first 20 rows while the concert is going on. Get a grip AA.

Ozzy’s performance was quite good overall. Now when I say this, I am evaluating based upon his past performances, and the fact that he is a 62 year old that has fried himself 80 times past the electric chair over the years with consistent abuse of whatever….his voice was OK. For the most part, he was on key, which has been a consistent issue in the past times I seen him. His mannerisms consist of truly the odd. At a certain moment, he shuffles across the stage like as if he has an imaginery walker in front of him. He shuffles his feet, his hand before him limply faced to the ground, head sort of preceding the body; kind of like Nicholson in “One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” after the character has had his frontal lobotomy.  And when Ozzy tries to get into the music, he jumps in place SORT OF to the beat of the music. There is no question is trying to give it his all. In spite of the fact that I joke that if he was not Ozzy, the Sharon branded Ozzy, he would be simply odd looking in his old white guys rhythm.

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Ozzy Larger Than Life

Sharon drives him in order to cash every red cent in on his branding. I really think, like most musicians, his ego requires himself to be up in front of the thousands of people playing his music, so maybe he is fortunate to have such a business minded wife.  Toward the midpoint of the 2 hour set, I noticed his hands shake everytime they were free of the microphone. This is probably another reason he hangs onto the mike with a death grip. Sure enough, in comes the drum solo, the guitar solo, and whatever. Bottom line, though Ozzy technically played a two hour set, he was absent from the stage for 20 minutes while we had to struggle through musicians banging wildly on the set.  OK.  We know you can play the instruments guys, it is why you are up there and I am not.  No need to prove yourselves.  But really, Ozzy needs this break.  He came out after nearly 20 minutes to finish approximately 30 minutes worth of material.  His strength renewed, he proceeded, as usual to throw buckets of water on the front 5 rows. Enter in the moppers once again. So he had the strength to pick up buckets of water….this is good.  The sound was a bit different from when I have heard him in the past.  The band was tight as usual, but this time, the sound has been mixed differently to really kick in the guitars.  Heavy, heavy guitar sound that drove the quintet signature with each song.  I appreciated this, and a great improvement. It really makes the songs sound truly heavier metal, once again.   Good touch. It makes the music drive more squarely into your head, perhaps bypassing Ozzy’s ever weakening voice. He played all of his solo material and good renditions of Iron Man and War Pigs from the Sabbath days. The new guitarist is named Gus G.  They are trying to brand him as a viable replacement for Wilde.  He was good, no doubt, but it just is not Zak Wilde, who plays and drinks on stage as if he will not live another day.  There have been too many good guitarists sharing that stage with Ozzy, he should just let this Gus G. develop on his own instead of trying to market him down our collective throats.

After nearly two hours, and right on time to meet the corporate deadline (I love these, how we have come along from the days of concerts where the band ((read this the Doors and others of the day)) shows up two hours late and plays until whatever).  Ozzy did one encore, and left 8 minutes on the table before his and the corporation’s collective bed times. In attendance was about 9,000 fans on a Thursday night. In order to create a more tight scene for Ozzy given the lighter attendance, they sealed of the third deck, and transferred all of those nose bleed ticket holders to the lower bowl….no doubt pissing those people off who really paid for the lower bowl.  But it did make for a much more energetic scene.  The lighter attendance can be blamed on the bad economy, yes, but really, there have been a lot of shows competing for Dallas area music buffs dollars this year, so I think it was as much a Thursday night thing as much as souring economic times.

The American Airlines venue is not my favorite concert hall. Too big, questionable acoustics, and generally leaves a limp feeling toward the show. But Ozzy did an appreciable job, along with management on the venue to make it look and sound a bit smaller, to create a good buzz in the venue.  The crowd, who looked to average around an age of 40 or so,  was definitely responsive and appreciative. I am sure Ozzy will be back.  If this tour is coming to your city, check him out.  It is worth the investment of time and money overall, if nothing more than to see him hopping on the stage as the Blizzard of Odd……

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