April 23, 1996
By Karen Strawn
Special to The Pantagraph
“The communication between Ozzy
and the audience was as
dry and boring as dog food.”
Hard-core Ozzy Osbourne fans enjoyed themselves at Monday night’s concert at Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena for one reason: Old stuff from the Black Sabbath days.
If you didn’t know it, Ozzy (his real name is John), began his career as lead singer (that is all he does, no instruments) for the group Black Sabbath, which became the unchallenged king of ‘70’s heavy metal.
An early collaboration with guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoads (who died in a tragic 1982 plane crash) established Ozzy as a classic among aggressive masters of full-throttle, no-holds-barred rock ‘n’ roll.
“Old stuff” is the key word here, because Ozzy is in his late 40s, and he looked awkward jumping around on stage with nothing on but his black sweat pants.
Also, he is clearly clean and sober (which isn’t awkward, it’s just not the same chicken-eating Ozzy). Osbourne looks healthy with “love handles” on each side and plenty of meat around his bones. His attempts at being the “old Ozzy” by using the F-word in every sentence just doesn’t seem to work now that he is obviously clean and sober.
The communication between Ozzy and the audience was as dry and boring as dog food.
Even though the audience loved singing along to the old songs like “Goodbye To Romance: and “Flying High Again,” the only thing Ozzy would say between songs is: “I love each and every one of you.” But throughout the entire concert, his main objective seemed to be getting the audience to be louder and crazier. He would do this by saying, “You’re not loud enough, I need to hear you louder!”
In reality, the audience was plenty loud, and so was the music. I found out how valuable ear plugs can be. I also discovered that Ozzy fans wear ear plugs too! That made me feel better, not being the only one with ear plugs in.
When Ozzy appeared on stage, he mentioned that he promised he’d be here and he said, “Here I am!” (referring to the last two concerts he canceled at ISU). Osbourne opened up with an old song from the Black Sabbath days called “Paranoid,” which made the crowd roar with excitement. Then he challenged the audience by sharing his motto: “The crazier you go, the f—– crazier I go!”
He used a high-power water gun to spray at the audience. This was rather fun, kind of like a little kid with a Nerf spray gun.
The audience threw several articles of clothing at Ozzy (a tennis shoe and several T-shirts) which Ozzy completely ignored, although he did have someone come out on stage and pick up whatever was thrown and take it away, similar to a ball boy during a tennis match.
The show started on time with two opening acts—Sepultura (which means “grave” in Portuguese), and Type O’Negative.
Type O’Negative was tolerable because they were polite and the lead singer had a beautiful baritone sound. But Sepultura was like the worst nightmare you’ve ever had. They were rude and apparently very angry with the audience because the lead singer kept referring to the audience with expletives, and on and on. It didn’t appeal to me.
Ozzy also did a medley of Black Sabbath songs with included, “Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath,” “Iron Man” and “Children of the Grave.