ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, AUG. 1, 1996
When Ozzy Osbourne called off his June GM Place show after two-and-a-half songs, the excuse given for his voice lapsing into a pathetic-sounding croak was first described by the concert promoter as a “vocal seizure”, and then by his record label as an “allergic attack”.
But judging by Ozzy’s makeup concert at GM Place on Monday (July 29)—which saw his voice crack numerous times—cringe-inducing vocals are a common element of the 48-year-old’s live show.
Ozzy took the stage after an extended video intro that saw him humorously transposed, Forrest Gump-like, into an Alanis Morissette video, and onto the disco dance floor with John Travolta. Newspaper clippings of Ozzy’s headline-making bat-biting were flashed, along with close-up shots of him making demented faces, all serving to get the crowd of 12,000 riled up and ready to hear his famous proclamation: “Let’s all go fucking crazy!”
Ozzy started off with the old Black Sabbath hit, “Paranoid”—the same tune he opened with seven weeks before—and as he struggled to stay in key I began to worry about him suffering another “allergy attack”, and me suffering another 10 bucks for parking at his next make-up show. He managed to make it through that song, though, as well as the power ballad that did him in last time, “Goodbye to Romance”.
During his almost two-hour show, Ozzy occasionally doused both himself and the crowd with water, but he left any strenuous movement to his crack band, which was driven to leap about by the first-class pulverizing of former Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin.
It appeared to take real effort and concentration for the grandfatherly Osbourne to stand still and clap at the same time, so to give himself a boost he’d incite the crowd to chant “ ‘Fuck you’ to everybody who doesn’t like Ozzy!”
Although he came off as dumber than a box of rocks, Ozzy was smart enough to keep the best for last—and to cash in on the genius of riff-master Tony Iommi with a Black Sabbath medley that included “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”, “Iron Man”, and the reefer-inspired “Sweet Leaf”.