Ozzy Osbourne – Worcester, 1/20/96
By: Eric German
As I was sitting in my apartment yesterday afternoon, listening to the last live album and getting psyched for the show, I realized a very scary fact: It was almost ten years to the day since the last time I had seen Ozzy! TEN YEARS. And I am only 25. I saw him in 1986 when he had a little known band opening by the name of Metallica, who had just released “Master of Puppets”. I was so blown away by Metallica that night that Ozzy was a bit overshadowed (he was in his spiked hair and glitter “Ultimate Sin” days).
Shit happened and unfortunately I missed the “No Rest…” and “No More Tears” tours. So I was pumped to see the Ozz man Saturday night.
I skipped the openers, Korn and Life of Agony. I am always running late.
Anyway, I got there, and the lights were on in the arena. I was going to the bathroom when I heard “See you on the Other Side” so I ran into the arena but this was just being played over the PA. The arena of about 14,000 was PACKED. I mean PACKED. SOLD OUT. Good for Ozzy.
I checked out the merchandise – he was selling everything, including a $125 hockey jersey which had “Ozzy” on the back with the number “666”. He did a lot of business in t-shirts – almost everyone in the place had bought a tour book or a shirt – I even saw some people wearing the jersey (who brings a spare $125 to a show?).
Well, they showed the preshow video with Ozzy in a Forrest Gump type roll showing up in Madonna videos and with Cindy Crawford and the like. Very funny. What a ham. When the video ended – everyone came out on stage and the screens just when black and silent with white block letters reading “LET THE MADNESS BEGIN”.
They went right into “Paranoid” with crazy psychedelic stuff on the screens. Every time they played a Sabbath song they did the psychedelia. Awesome. Geezer Butler went sick – he is a nut, clearly the most active on stage. Ozzy’s new guitarist was fine, but nothing special. Randy Castillo was really good – he has a really fucked up short hairstyle now – but is a much better drummer than I used to think.
The crowd went absolutely nuts the entire show – women lifting their shirts up, guys body surfing and jumping around. It was nuts. Ozzy promised a backstage pass to whoever went craziest during the show. What surprised me about the crowd was three things:
1) there were a lot of young Korn fans (body piercing, short dyed hair)
2) at the same time, there was a surprising number of older (35 plus) people there who must have been Sabbath fans in the 70’s
3) the mutant ratio was lower than you get at a lot of metal shows. Not as many “ugly” people as you usually get at these things
Ozzy had four screens – two big ones above the stage on either side and two smaller ones on the stage itself.
OK, the set:
Paranoid I Don't Know Flying High Again Good bye to Romance I Just Want You Suicide Solution I Don't Want to Change the World Iron Man Sweet Leaf Children of the Grave Mr. Crowley War Pigs Crazy Train ENCORE: Mama I'm Comin' Home ENCORE: Bark at the Moon
And that’s it! Seriously, I was shocked. Is Ozzy playing a different set every night? He might be. think about it – I was psyched at the set but really surprised. 15 songs. 5 Sabbath, and 5 off of “Blizzard of Oz”. One from “Diary of a Madman”, one from “Bark at the Moon”, two from “No More Tears” and only one from the new album. Nothing from “The Ultimate Sin” or “No Rest for the Wicked”. And think about this – he played five Sabbath songs but no “Shot in the Dark”, “No More Tears”, or even “Perry Mason”. Weird.
All in all, a great show. Afterwards, I was telling a my old boss, a concert promoter who is very involved with the business, about the show. He asked about the attendance. I told him sold out. He said, “I thought metal was dead.”