Sunday, February 20, 2011
We'd like to say the Blizzard of Oz was in full force Sunday and that we're just as freaked out and mesmerized by him when we discovered Black Sabbath and why stoner rock is called stoner rock. But, you know, Ozzy's really old and it seems his heart isn't as black as it used to be -- Jesus, he must have said "I fucking love you" to the crowd at least 20 times.
Is it a bad thing that a man way past his prime is pushing himself as hard as he can to do the only thing he loves? He's 62 years old and he is not going to age gracefully -- that ain't Ozzy. He got up there -- despite his aches, despite the damage done by years of hard drinking and snorting -- and gave more than seem physically possible. The crowd ate every pyrotechnic bit up.
Opener Slash played a sweet set of Guns N' Roses hits, Velvet Revolver hits and a couple of new Slash originals. Watching Slash play "Sweet Child O' Mine" on his gold-top Les Paul with his legs in rock stance, is definitely a rock and roll must-see. At times, the group seemed like the GNR reenactment society -- we'd love to see Axl's reenactment band and Slash's battle it out in a little civil war.
Singer Myles Kennedy did a great job at recreating Axl's shrieking melodies and Weiland's marbled vocal delivery. Although the originals sounded like Slash was listening to Exile On Main Street and Siamese Dream when he was coming up with the riffs, Slash is unapologetically Slash: from his simplest lead to his most shredding solo his guitar's voice is as aggressive, melodic and catchy.
At the ending of "Paradise City," he milked the song's last note for an extra minute, just so he could bask in the glory of the song and crowd's standing ovation. With eyes focused on Slash and the band playing so well, it wasn't so hard to imagine what it was like to watch Guns N Roses in 1980s L.A.
Right before Ozzy graced the stage, we were treated to a five-minute video montage straight out of the MTV Movie Awards. Ozzy was spliced into scenes from Avatar, Jersey Shore, The Hangover, Lady Gaga's "Telephone" video, Twilight and, of course, Iron Man. From Ozzy attempting to perform oral sex on himself as one of the gross aliens from Avatar to Ozzy in full Ed Hardy gear and Ozzy's fake tits in "Telephone" and Twilight, it was confusing and amusing.
When the band materialized on stage, a giant fireball went off and Ozzy screamed, "Let the madness begin!" It looked like we were in for a hell of a show. The show's over the top start set the bar pretty high for itself, and they never really reached the level of intensity of the first couple of minutes of "Bark At The Moon."
Sure, Ozzy was dunking his head in a bucket of water the whole night. He sprayed the first few rows with some kind of Army-grade fire extinguisher and yeah, the drummer's kit went up 20 feet into the air like a rocket. All of these amenities were thrown on to keep us from noticing that Ozzy was kind of fumbling through a lot of the lyrics and phrasing -- and to help him catch his breath.
His new lead guitarist, Gus G. and his wind-swept hair, was definitely up there with axe gods that have partnered with Ozzy in the past. His fast and furious fretwork was reminiscent of Randy Rhodes. His squealing leads rivaled those of Zack Wylde, and he's conquered the heavy riffing of Dio.
Ozzy going on stage and giving it his all, despite his life's wear and tear was the point of the set. We're pretty sure when any stoner with an Ozzy patch on his jean jacket was caught etching "Sabbath Rules" into his desk top was asked by his parents "When are you going to grow out of this phase?" his reply was either "Fuck you!" or "Never!" Even though that kid is now an SUV-driving dad, we're sure he's happy to see that old man is still playing music written for him and his delinquent friends.
The Crowd: Head banging moms and dads, Goths, glam rock dudes, older strippers and a fair amount of teenagers that appreciate hard and heavy rock.
Random Detail: Lead guitarist Gus G. and drummer Tommy Clueftos' solos went on for about 20 minutes with Ozzy offstage. Was he taking a nap or getting some vitamin shots for extra energy?
Back From The Valley
Sweet Child O' Mine
Bark at the Moon
I Don't Know
Fairies Wear Boots
Road To Nowhere
Shot In The Dark
I Wanna Change The World