Live: Ozzy Osbourne, Houston
Under a nearly full moon, Ozzy Osbourne came to Houston near the beginning of his 2011 tour and thankfully the big white night light was the only moon we saw last night at Toyota Center. Last time we saw Ozzy, in 2007 during Ozzfest, he mooned the crowd after one of his ballads. But he didn’t have to do that Tuesday night – he turned in a 2-hour-or-so set heavy on the Black Sabbath classics that satisfied pretty much everyone in attendance.
At age 62, the Ozzman seems to be in pretty good shape, remaining in motion during his entire time on stage. When he wasn’t singing he was egging on the audience – “Let me see your hands, you f**kers!” – and doing his clapping-side-straddle-hop thing like some deranged heavy metal high school gym coach.
Nice to hear some lesser-known Ozzy classics, like “Shot In The Dark” and “Road To Nowhere” (from his album No More Tears). It was even more nice to hear six Sabbath classics, including “Fairies Wear Boots,” “Rat Salad” and “Into The Void” alongside the more predictable “Iron Man,” “War Pigs” and of course “Paranoid.” Ozzy doesn’t so much sing as he sort of screams, so when his voice is off it’s only until he can hit that hand-waving chorus.
It helps that Osbourne has behind him a stellar metal band, including his long-time bassist Blasko and veteran keyboard whiz Adam Wakeman (son of Rick, from Yes). Drummer Tommy Clufetos is new – he played with Alice Cooper and Rob Zombie, among others – and sizzling guitarist Gus G. is now scaling the fretboard in place of Zakk Wylde. They get their spotlight time to give Ozzy a rest, but the 10-minute keyboard/guitar/drum solo fest was pretty much the only time Osbourne was off stage.
Dripping wet from his foam firehose and buckets of water that he dumped over his head, Ozzy ripped into the homestretch of his show with “I Don’t Want To Change The World” and “Crazy Train” then just stayed on stage for the encore, “Mama I’m Coming Home” and closer “Paranoid.”
The night was a solid package, particularly with ex-Guns n’ Roses guitarist Slash and his band serving as opening act. Starting their set a full 10 minutes before the listed opening time, the band – with singer Myles Kennedy, moonlighting from his regular band Alter Bridge – offered up selections from Slash’s 2010 solo record as well as Velvet Revolver and Guns favorites. You can’t beat the knockout punch of “Nightrain,” “Sweet Child O’ Mine,” the Velvets’ “Slither” and finally “Paradise City.” What an opener!
At a time when dollars are dear and concerts tend to fall low on the list of normal priorities, it’s nice to see veterans like Ozzy Osbourne and Slash giving some bang for your buck. They turn in a spirited show, leaving pretty much everyone satisfied. Even without Ozzy’s “moon” I got my money’s worth.
Slash setlist: Ghost/Sucker Train Blues/Mr. Brownstone/Back From Cali/Rocket Queen/Nothing To Say/By The Sword/Nightrain/Sweet Child O’ Mine/Slither/Paradise City
Ozzy setlist: Bark At The Moon/Let Me Hear You Scream/Mr. Crowley/I Don’t Know/Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)/Suicide Solution/Road To Nowhere/War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)/Fire In The Sky/Shot In The Dark/Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover; Gus G. & Tommy Clueftos solo spots)/Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)/Flying High Again/I Don’t Want To Change The World/Into The Void (Black Sabbath cover)/Crazy Train/Mama, I’m Coming Home/Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)