The first time I saw Ozzy was supporting Motorhead at Port Vale in '81 - he blew me away... I was already a Sabbath fan having been sucked in with a copy of Paranoid I picked up at a jumble sale a couple of years previously, but had never managed to see them live. I saw Ozzy a couple more times in 81 and 82.
The last time I saw Ozzy was at The Hammersmith Odeon in 82 or 83, it was in his hanging-midgets period, and at the very tail-end of my heavy metal period. I don't remember particularly enjoying it... maybe because I was growing up, but I suspect it was more to do with the pantomime that Ozzy had become by then, don't get me wrong... I'm quite fond of the panto side of HM but I don't think he was doing it that well then.
Over the last few years the Internet has turned me into a nostalgia fiend and seeing that Ozzy was back at the Hammy Odeon last night I found too hard to resist. I took my Nirvana-loving son along... because you can't really love Nirvana and not love Sabbath.
I loved it. Here are some reasons why I maybe shouldn't have:
- Ozzy's voice is shot.
- His stage patter takes three forms:
- "I can't fucking hear you"
- "Let me see your fucking hands"
- "I still can't fucking hear you"
- He has an unhealthy fondness for the HM ballad - we were treated to three including one as an encore - who wants an effing ballad for an encore!?
- Drum solo
- Guitar solo - with wind effects!
And here's why I did:
The man is a legend, he's 62 years old and still loves what he does. His energy is boundless, his love for the audience and for what he does is admirable. He has fun on-stage. Of course it's still panto complete with buckets of water and a foam-spraying water-cannon, but it doesn't seem to matter - in fact it's probably better this way. If Ozzy dared to try and take himself seriously this would have been awful but he's better than that. Much much better. I also love how he hobbles around the stage like an old man in his carpet slippers on his way to put the kettle on.
Here's my video of half of Fairies Wear Boots (until my battery died):
And here's a better video of set-closer Paranoid: