On January 20, I drove to downtown Dallas to see Ozzy Osbourne and Slash. I’ve seen both before, but I decided I wanted to see guitarist Gus G, to see if he could hold a candle to Zakk Wylde. I had a VIP ticket, which came with a meal beforehand, so I was early and got a good parking spot. I collected my ticket, and after some confusion (because I had a VIP pass but no ticket, as I came from overseas, I needed to go back and collect that), I was in. The VIP area was a bar, with chips and dips and cookies for food, and a display of a used drum head that was signed and being auctioned for Sharon’s cancer charity. People who paid $1000 got to go and meet Ozzy and were in the front row, for $300 I was in the third row, dead center. In comparison, $300 got me a seat where I could barely see Bon Jovi, $1000 got me in to a seat worse than the one I had for Ozzy (although the exact same seat as I had also cost $1000 ), and $2000 got you front row. I will say that the food was better for Bon Jovi.There was a good range of merch, I spent $190, including three shirts (one for my daughter). Then I headed down. This is the third time I’ve seen Slash, having seen him at ROTR first, then a full set in Melbourne late last year. I will see him again in March at the Soundwave Festival. I think a lot of the songs he keeps for his full show are better than the ones he does for his opening slot/festival set, but the ones he chooses to keep are logical, things like "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Night Train," with the singles from his album. I had hoped Ozzy might come out and sing "Crucify the Dead," but he did not. At the end of their set, Slash threw out his pick. He didn’t throw any during the set, so I assume it was the one he played the whole set with. It flew through the air and landed right at my feet. Thank you, Slash.
I guess Ozzy is famous for throwing water on his crowd. The woman in front of me was putting on a poncho before the show. In fact, Ozzy had a hose that shoots white foam, which he used twice. My camera is still covered in it. I wonder if he realizes that when everyone ducks, it means they don’t want to be foamed? One guy was white from head to toe. I found I dried off quickly, but I wonder about the people who got soaked. It was very cold outside. He also threw water over us towards the end, although it’s still true that I was dried off by the time I left. Ozzy’s set started very soon after Slash ended. I think it was only a 20 minute turnaround. The set started with a short movie of Ozzy put in to things like Avatar, Twilight, and a Lady Gaga clip. It was funny, but I am sure it would have been rated R at the movies, I saw a lot of kids who looked around eight, and I would have not liked for my 10 year old to see it.
Ozzy starts the set by walking out and getting everyone to cheer, rather than starting the first song with a bang, which I thought was unusual. It’s always evident that Ozzy loves to be on stage, and when he says "I love you all," he means it. Ozzy’s set list has been changing a bit on this trek, although it seems to be stabilizing, so I suspect he’s just been trying different songs and deciding what to settle on. The set I saw is as follows:
Bark at the Moon
Let Me Hear You Scream
I Don't Know
Fairies Wear Boots
Road to Nowhere
Fire in the Sky
Flying High Again
Shot in the Dark
I Don't Want to Change the World
Mama, I'm Coming Home
I was disappointed to not get "Killer of Giants," which he’s done in other shows, but "Fire in the Sky" was way better than I expected, and all the Sabbath songs were cool. "Rat Salad" is, of course, an instrumental and so served as the bedrock of the two solos. Gus G was generally excellent, it struck me pretty quickly that much as I love Zakk, it really made no difference, as a guitarist I could hear differences in the soloing style, in the little riffs that each player adds to the established solos, but, the overall sound was not different at all. "Let Me Hear You Scream" fit comfortably in to the set, I thought. With someone like Ozzy, there’s always going to be your ideal set list, and this was far from mine, but I still enjoyed it all, Ozzy has more than enough good songs that I don’t not like any song he played. I just like "Desire" or "S.I.N." more than "Road to Nowhere," for example, and I’d love it if he played "Revelation" or "No Bone Movies" instead of "Flying High Again" ( OK, so they are not on the
same album, but they are all Randy songs ).
One thing I have to say, I saw Ozzy in Australia two years ago, when the memories of The Osbournes were still fresh, and I was surprised at how together Ozzy was. I didn’t get the impression that Ozzy was drunk or mentally unaware at the show, but I did notice that he has a lot of trouble stopping his hands from shaking, he held his mic stand a lot, and often stood away then went back as his hand would shake. It was widely reported in 2003 that Ozzy had found out that this shake was something hereditary and was now under control with medication, so to see it back again leaves me concerned for his overall health. To be clear, apart from the hand shaking, Ozzy was together and put on a great show, but the shake was very obvious from the third row, so I hope it’s not a sign of something more sinister.
If you look at the set list, you’ll see that, including the solo section, five songs from Paranoid are in the set list. He’s also played "N.I.B." and "Into the Void" on this solo run (I was hoping for one of those, or perhaps even "Children of the Grave," too). I wonder if he’s advertising his willingness to do that material again, now that Tony and others are at a loose end? It would not surprise me if next years tour is a Sabbath one. I, for one , would love that. I saw Heaven and Hell three times and loved it, I would love to see an Ozzy Sabbath show, too.