Live!: Ozzy Osbourne, Scotia Bank Place, Ottawa, 25/11/10
The Prince of Darkness, one of the fathers of Heavy Metal, Ozzy Osbourne was in fine form thursday night as he took the stage at the Scotia Bank place in Ottawa, Ontario. This was the second last night of the Canadian leg of his tour supporting his new album Scream, and the first time Ottawa got to see new guitar slinger Gus G. (Firewind, ex-Nightrage, ex-Dream Evil, ex-Arch Enemy) and the rest of the new incarnation of the Blizzard of Ozz busting out classic cuts from both Ozzy’s solo career, as well as several tracks from Black Sabbath.
The night commenced in fine form, with fellow Metal legend Rob Halford kicking off the proceedings, ripping through plenty of choice cuts from his solo years, as well as a few Judas Priest tunes for good mesure. The three biggest gems in the setlist were, oddly, each from different places in his career: The Halford track Made in Hell, the Fight song Nailed to the Gun, and under-used, unexpected Judas Priest number Jawbreaker. The set was varied and entertaining, even if it at times was glaringly obvious that the band on display was Halford and not Rob’s immortal day job. All-in-all, a solid opener. Nothing more, nothing less from a man capable of so much more.
But even a devout follower and lover of Judas Priest like myself wasn’t there to see the Metal God. That night was all about the Prince of Darkness, and it was all worth the wait. After a video in which Ozzy parodied several different parts of today’s popular culture (Avatar, Jersey Shore, Twilight, etc.) he and his band started the show by tearing into Speed Metal classic Bark at the Moon, followed swiftly by the lone new song of the evening, pseudo title track Let Me Hear You Scream. The rendition of Mr. Crowley on offer was stunning and complete with full pyrotechnics.
The ode to Anton was followed by another classic cut from the debut album, grooving mid-pacer I Don’t Know went down a storm. Then Ozzy launch into the first Sabbath track of the evening, the unexpected, amazing Fairies Wear Boots. Gus G.’s guitar work on the Sabbath classic of the evening was fantastic and fitting without even a shred of attempted Iommi imitation. The entire band was in stunning form on Fairies… and, for a song that was never exactly a huge hit, it went down an absolute storm with the crowd.
All of the Sabbath songs on offer that night where from that bands immortal second album Paranoid, and included War Pigs, Rat Salad, Iron Man, and of course the classic title track.
One very cool aspect of the setlist was that it actually included at least one song from every Ozzy Osbourne album from his classic 1980-93 era, several of them being live rarities (Fire in the Sky, Killer of Giants, etc.), and the rest being absolute megahits (Suicide Solution, I Don’t Want to Change the World, Crazy Train, etc.). It was a very good mix and one of the best setlists I’ve ever personally witnessed.
But therein lies the problem. In anticipation of the show, I had been looking online at the setlists of the other shows as the tour made it’s way to Ottawa. The band played 2 less songs than they had two nights previous in Montreal, and a whopping 4 (!) songs less than they had in Winnipeg 5 nights before. This shortcoming may be testament to the generally subdued and lacklustre nature of Ottawa crowds, as at the beginning of the show Ozzy said “The louder you are, the longer we play!”. In all honesty, I saw some people in the crowd who were not acting as if they were enjoying themselves at all, which made no sense to me. But it was still dissappointing to miss classic songs like N.I.B., Into the Void, and the immortal No More Tears, all of which were played in Winnipeg.
At the end of the evening it was, overall, a very satisfying live experience. For a man as old as Ozzy is, he can certainly put on a show nearly as good as it was in his heyday. If you get the opportunity to see him, don’t hesitate, as it is a show that is definitely worth your time.
Score: \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ \m/ .5 (8.5 our of 10)
(For information on the Scotia Bank place, visit scotiabankplace.com)
(For information on Ozzy Osbourne, visit Ozzy.com)
(For information on Halford, visit RobHalford.com)