ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 13, 1996
Heavy-metal maven Ozzy Osbourne has overcome plenty of adversity during his more than 25 years in the hard-rock biz—from life-threatening bouts with booze and drugs to the airplane-crash death of guitarist Randy Rhoads—but he wasn’t able to prevail over the asthma attack that forced him to cut short his GM Place concert last Thursday (June 6).
After opening with the old Black Sabbath hit “Paranoid”, dousing the crowd with water, and encouraging it to “go fucking crazy!”, the 47-year-old Brit lost his voice during “I Don’t Know”, a tune from his 1981 solo debut.
Osbourne managed to struggle to the end of that song, but by the time he had wrung a few lines from the night’s third selection, “Goodbye to Romance”, his vocals had passed from poor to pathetic.
Realizing the futility of carrying on, Osbourne retreated backstage for medical attention while his confused band dragged the swaying power ballad out for several minutes, unsure whether the front man would return or not.
When the announcement was made that Ozzy was definitely gone for the night, the crowd he had wanted to “go fucking crazy!” did the exact opposite: as the houselights went on, the 12,000 metal maniacs dispersed with little more than a chorus of boos.
The show—which would have been Osbourne’s first Vancouver date in more than a decade—has been rescheduled for July 29, when ticket stubs for the June 6 gig will be honoured.