Live Review: Ozzy Osbourne Brings the Scream to Sturgis

Published on August 13th, 2010

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August 12, 2010 – Accept no substitutes; the Prince of Darkness is reigning once again. Ozzy Osbourne has built such an immortal status in the world of hard rock and metal that seeing him in concert is a somewhat surreal experience. But the much anticipated concert in Sturgis at the Legendary Buffalo Chip was very, very real.

There’s a lot going on with Ozzy these days. Including lots of hype surrounding everything from his new album, Scream, to an appearance as a fake wax figure, to the mapping of his DNA by a scientific research team. There’s so much activity that one might wonder if the real Osbourne is still able to rock underneath all the circus. Smiling and jumping while singing with the same wicked tone, Ozzy gave confirmation that he’s back, and ready to rock.

When Osbourne came on stage, there was surprisingly little fanfare. With no booming or dramatic introduction, instead the drum and guitar sound of “Bark at the Moon” kicked in and the singer briskly walked up to his microphone with a wide grin. He waved the crowd on and inquired, “Are you ready to rock?”

Ozzy looks rather refreshed; he has a cheerful yet menacing demeanor and wears a black cape that blows back with his long hair. At 61, the English rocker is still a magnetizing and expressive performer who seems overjoyed with being able to play another concert.

Osbourne’s last world tour was in support of his 2007 album Black Rain, and there have been a few changes in the time elapsed. Axeman Zakk Wylde has departed Osbourne’s band, but there’s a new recruit in Gus G, a brilliant player from Greece who brings a straight-forward approach to each monster guitar solo. Tommy Clufetos on drums, Blasko on bass, and keyboardist Adam Wakeman (son of Rick Wakeman from YES) make up the rest of the band, forming a tight circle of sound around Ozzy.

Songs chosen were predictable at times (“Let Me Hear You Scream“), and eclectic at others (“Killer of Giants“, from 1986′s Ultimate Sin). Although enjoyable to hear, the rare cuts were the weaker moments for a festival atmosphere.

For all the attention lauded on him, the performance came off as amazingly down to earth. It was Ozzy, his band, and those metal anthems that never fail to make a crowd go crazy. But even Sturgis wasn’t wild enough, apparently.

“I want to see you all get even more crazy for this next one,” Osbourne said as he fittingly introduced “Crazy Train“. No one quite went off the rails, but Ozzy head-banging along with his fans was a sight to see.

There were moans and groans when the supposed “last song” was announced, but the band was back for more before too long.

Mama, I’m Coming Home” isn’t an uptempo song by any means, but Osbourne harnessed a great deal of emotion when singing it, and then ripped into “Paranoid“. Jumping and clapping all the way to the finish, there was no end to the singer’s stamina.

Some critics are convinced Osbourne’s days of rocking are over, and point to a drug-filled past as evidence of his inability to perform. Despite what logic might suggest about the damage that’s undoubtedly been done, that’s just not the case. Ozzy has revitalized himself with a new band and new songs that are sure to please his legions of fans as he embarks on yet another tour to settle it once and for all. You can never be too old to rock.

 

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