Ozzy Osbourne / Rob Zombie / In This Moment
Saturday, October 20, 2007
General Motors Place
Vancouver, BC Canada
***Live Review By Lord of The Wasteland
(***Photo approval was not granted for this show.)
For those of us up in Canada who are unwilling—or unable—to get down to the U.S. for Ozzfest, the only exposure we have had to Ozzy Osbourne since his last solo headlining tour of Canada in 2001 was through the cartoonish reality show, THE OSBOURNES. That is not a taste anyone wants to have in their mouth for six years but when Osbourne finally announced he would be hitting the road with shock rocker/director, Rob Zombie, and up-and-comers, In This Moment, the return of The Prince of Darkness was welcomed by many.
Century Media Records is plugging the bejesus out of In This Moment and rightfully so. On BEAUTIFUL TRAGEDY, Maria Brink’s paint-peeling screams and melodic vocals are impressive and the band seems to have an uncanny ability to pen infectious hooks and thunderous riffs that made them a major breakout on this past summer’s Ozzfest. To say this is a huge tour for the band is an understatement and like any opening act on an arena bill, the reality is playing to a half-full venue of people looking for their seats or standing in the beer line. The response from those that did make it down to catch In This Moment’s set seemed positive, though, and quite a few were on their feet singing along with Brink. The vocalist, a composition of visual opposites, boasts a full sleeve of tattoos and is always seen on stage wearing an electric blue baby doll dress that is similar to Courtney Love’s get-up in the mid-nineties heyday of Hole. Her ample décolletage has to be physically held in during headbanging to avoid a “wardrobe malfunction” and her vocal dynamics make for an instant gimmick. Unfortunately, the rest of the band is totally overshadowed by Brink on all fronts despite their obvious respective talents but she is a commanding presence both physically and vocally on stage. With only twenty minutes to prove their worth, In This Moment did an excellent job of getting the crowd fired up and continuing to get their name into metal fans’ brains.
IN THIS MOMENT SETLIST
Daddy’s Falling Angel
Speaking of a commanding presence, Rob Zombie’s one-hour set bordered on sensory overload. Glowing nude busts, a twelve-foot dancing robot, a drumkit raised twenty-feet on a pair of demons’ heads, go-go dancers, pyro and B-movie/stag film clips fought for attention with Zombie’s music in yet another visually impressive show from the film and music auteur. On the road to support the just released ZOMBIE LIVE album, with John5 (guitar), Piggy D (bass) and Tommy Clufetos (drums) behind him, Zombie’s musical attack is stellar. His solo hits (“Dragula,” “Superbeast,” “Never Gonna Stop”) are mixed with the White Zombie classics (“Thunder Kiss ’65,” “More Human Than Human”) and simply never get old. A pair of female dancers added to “American Witch,” “Living Dead Girl” and “House of 1,000 Corpses,” while a heavily-armoured drumline/soldier pair flanked Clufetos on “Dragula.” John5, a creepy-looking musical genius in his own right, added a violin bow to the twelve-string slide intro of “The Devil’s Rejects” and injected new life into the instantly-familiar riff of “Thunder Kiss ’65,” while his own solo was nothing short of technically impressive. Never known for his spectacular vocal talents, as a frontman, Zombie really knows how to work a crowd. Stripped of his dreadlocks and zombie makeup, he looks more like an aging California surfer or biker now but his frequent crowd interplay and clichéd but effective energy-building tactics works. Like the previous four times I have seen him over the years, a Rob Zombie concert is never disappointing, always entertaining and consistently puts a smile on people’s faces.
ROB ZOMBIE SETLIST
Sawdust In The Blood
Living Dead Girl
More Human Than Human
House of 1,000 Corpses
Let It All Bleed Out
Never Gonna Stop (The Red, Red Kroovy)
Thunder Kiss ‘65
John5 Guitar Solo
The Devil’s Rejects
It had been six years since Ozzy Osbourne last played Vancouver. That run, in support of the DOWN TO EARTH album, brought along VoiVod (good, but a strange fit) and modern rockers Finger Eleven (terrible), so the Zombie/In This Moment pairing was a much better bill overall. Ozzy’s new album, BLACK RAIN, is a welcome return and is arguably his most solid effort since 1991’s NO MORE TEARS. As the lights dimmed, a series of parody clips with Ozzy inserted into movies like Borat, Wedding Crashers, The Queen as well as TV’s The Sopranos, The Office, Lost and Dancing With The Stars has become tradition. The ear-piercing volume of the gothic intro of “Carmina Burana” set the stage for Ozzy and his band—veteran guitarist Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society) and drummer Mike Bordin (ex-Faith No More), as well as bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson (ex-Rob Zombie) and keyboardist Adam Wakeman—for a strong, but gap-filled, ninety-minute set covering the singer’s solo career. Three tracks from BLACK RAIN were featured as well as four songs from BLIZZARD OF OZZ, but the complete absence of any material from DIARY OF A MADMAN, OZZMOSIS or DOWN TO EARTH (Ozzy has disowned THE ULTIMATE SIN and never plays any songs from it) left a noticeable void. A shaky version of the rarely-heard “Fire In The Sky” was a real treat and the new songs are extra heavy live, too. “I Don’t Wanna Stop” is impossibly catchy and the crunchy riffs of “Not Going Away” really hit hard. “Crazy Train” is timeless and the slinky keyboard intro to “Mr. Crowley” still produces chills. The only Black Sabbath song that made the cut was “Paranoid” which was okay for those of us who have heard the same Sabbath material year in and year out at Ozzfest but considering “Into The Void,” “Iron Man,” “Sweet Leaf” and “Children of The Grave” were played two days earlier in Seattle, their omission was strange.
As Ozzy’s guitarist since 1988, Zakk Wylde always impresses and his lengthy guitar solo was full of shredding, string-bending and his trademark pinch harmonics. Breaking out the twelve-string for “Mama, I’m Coming Home,” he is clearly comfortable playing either heavy or acoustic-based material. The mutual respect shown between Wylde and Osbourne is genuine, each openly hugging and embracing each other several times. Bordin took the time during Wylde’s solo to come out and personally greet a fan who held a sign reading “Mike ‘Puffy’ Bordin Fucking Rocks,” which was a really professional act on the drummer’s part.
Ozzy’s voice sounded pretty good but this was only the second date of the tour. The singer even admits his voice is going and the heavily-processed vocals heard on CD are a very inaccurate representation of reality. An array of throat sprays and cups of tea sat in wait for him on Bordin’s drum riser and after hearing him blow his voice out in Seattle on Ozzfest 2005, it’s quickly becoming obvious that there are not a lot of miles left on the old vocal cords. Still, for his age (58) and the notorious self-abuse inflicted over the last forty years, it’s amazing Osbourne is even breathing, let alone touring.
OZZY OSBOURNE SETLIST
Carmina Burana (Intro)
I Don’t Wanna Stop
Not Going Away
Road To Nowhere
Fire In The Sky
Bark At The Moon
Zakk Wylde Guitar Solo
I Don’t Know
Here For You
I Don’t Want To Change The World
Mama, I’m Coming Home
As Ozzy Osbourne nears his sixtieth birthday and the rigors of hard living are quickly catching up, the opportunities to see him perform live may be running out. Spry but not nearly as agile and mobile as he was even a few years ago, the buckets of water, the leaps and general madness have curtailed but Ozzy still has a great sense of humor and clearly enjoys playing to the crowd every chance he gets. Whether he’s dropping his pants during Wylde’s guitar solo or starring in self-deprecating mock-ups, Ozzy Osbourne is never boring and continues to be a major draw into his fifth decade as the reigning Prince of Darkness.
***Thanks to Patrick at Sony/BMG for the tickets.