Ozzy Let’s the Concert Madness Begin

There may not have been any headless pigeons, but the evening was graced by the self-proclaimed Prince of Darkness nonetheless.  Ozzy Osbourne and company paid a visit to rock ‘n roll capital Cleveland, Ohio the night of December 5th.  Despite high winds and the threat of an impending snow storm, Ozzy faithfuls still made the trek through inclement weather to the Q Arena for a night of energy infused metal.  But before Ozzy would take the stage, an opening act would have the north coast audience to itself.  Taking the honors of that duty was none other than a band called Halford.  Never heard of them?  I sure hadn’t before this past Sunday night, but before you get all crazy on me, let me put the pieces together for you.

So at work Monday morning, I got a few “How could you have not heard them before?  Don’t you know…”  No, apparently I didn’t but now it all makes sense.  I figured ‘Halford’ was someone’s name in the band, namely the lead singer.  *Ding, ding, ding*  That’s one right for me so far.  Still, I had no clue who that was.  *Bzzzzt!*  Hey, one out of two is a good batting average.  Halford is indeed the name of lead singer Robert Halford, who is the former frontman for landmark rockers Judas Priest.  Since the 90’s, Halford the singer has been making music with Halford the band, and what music it is.  In all the concerts I have attended, my experience with opening acts has not been a favorable one.  Halford made sure to up-end that experience. 

These guys were awesome in every sense.  It was just good old, head-bangin’, kick your @$$ heavy metal.  As my dad stood next to me moving subtley to the rapid fire rhythms, I could tell he too approved of the band’s unforgiving wickedness.  The group played at a blistering pace through what would be a set just shy of an hour.  Lead singer Halford spoke to the audience a couple times during the night, and while this is always welcomed interaction, the man knew the audience wanted metal, metal, and more metal.  Halford heard the call and answered with a resounding performance.  These guys will give any metal band a run for its money and while there aren’t as many out there today as there used to be, don’t be surprised if and when this material makes a resurrgence in the near future as mainstream music continues to be bogged down by lip synching and a auto-tones.  What album of there’s should I buy?  Does it matter?  You might as well throw a dart in trying to decide becasue you can’t go wrong with Halford.

After the close of Halford’s performance and some fine-tuning of the instruments, a giant video screen came to life at the back of the stage.  Combining some of today’s most iconic pop culture shows and films, Ozzy’s intro contained scenes from productions like Avatar, TwilightIron Man 2 and Jersey Shore.  These weren’t just straight scenes though.  In the Jersey Shore clip, we see Ozzy’s face almost seamlessly digitized over that of the Situation’s, while bluntly asking the crew of short gal Snookie, “Who invited the midget?!”  I have to say, I laughed pretty dang hard at all this, especially the clip from Iron Man 2 when Iron Man’s mask is removed revealing Ozzy’s face where he exclaims, “I AM Iron Man!”  It was clever, well thought out and brilliantly assembled.  Nevertheless, as humorous as the video collage progressed, we were all eager to finally get to Ozzy himself.  When the clips wrapped, the words “Let the Madness Begin” appeared on the screen and out came Osbourne in a quick step donned in a black trench coat. 

As the crowd came to life once again, Ozzy and company hit the ground running, opening with “Bark at the Moon.”  This was followed by “Let Me Hear You Scream,” the first single off his newest album, Scream.  As the night progressed, so did the energy, contributed considerably to by Ozzy’s band, consisting of Adam Wakeman on the keyboard, Rob Nicholson on bass guitar, Guinness World Record-holder Tommy Clufetos on the drums (this guy is unreal, but more on him in a second), and the phenomenal Gus G. on lead guitar (talent personified).  Clufetos brings a stage presence that is really difficult to equal; not just in the realm of drummers, but performers in general.  I saw this guy last year in Detroit when he was touring with Rob Zombie.  Now he’s with Ozzy and he’s still wound up and ready to attack the nearest drum kit.  The guy plays hard, fast (what he’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for), and adds a whole lot of spirit to his performance while he reaches to the heavens, drum stick extended, in rhythmic succession.  If I were any inanimate object, I would not want to be one of his drumheads.  Talk about taking a beating!

Let’s not forget about Ozzy though.  Turning 62 last week, Ozzy still darts around the stage with the energy of someone twenty years younger.  On occasion, the Prince of Darkness would man a firehose on stage and spray the first half dozen rows of the audience with fire-dousing suds.  At one point late in the show, a camera focused on one particular fan in the first row.  With his arms extended and mouth wide open, this happy concert-goer looked like the skinniest snowman I’d ever seen, completely covered in what looked like shaving cream from head to toe, all courtesy of Ozzy’s hose antics, of which he replied, “AFTER ALL THESE YEARS AND I’M STILL F#####G CRAZY!” 

The former Black Sabbath lead singer made sure to revisit tunes of old as he and the band played one of my favorites, “War Pigs,” along with other classic songs from his past like “Iron Man” and “Rat Salad.”  And after all these years, not only is Ozzy still crazy, but the guy still has it.  He’s grabs the audience’s attention with the ferocious grip of a hawk’s talons and never lets go.  Once you’re along for the ride, buckle up.  Ozzy’s vocals are undiminished, dazzling the many generations of the audience with his penetrating sound and dominating presence.    The stage’s pyrotechnic effects were the perfect blazing accents to a show that was on fire from start to finish.  Closing out a two-song encore with “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and “Paranoid,” the quintet of hard rockin’ musicians, took a simultaneous bow.  Ozzy was the last to leave the stage, wishing all a Merry Christmas and bidding farewell to the crowd until next time. 

Set List:

  • Bark at the Moon
  • Let Me Hear You Scream
  • Mr. Crowley
  • I Don’t Know
  • Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)
  • Suicide Solution
  • Road to Nowhere
  • War Pigs (Black Sabbath cover)
  • Shot in the Dark
  • Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover with Guitar and Drum Solos)
  • Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)
  • I Don’t Want to Change the World
  • Crazy Train
  • Encore:

  • Mama, I’m Coming Home
  • Paranoid
  • Let loose and Scream today!


    6 Responses to “Ozzy Let’s the Concert Madness Begin”

    1. Gerard Iribe

      Judas Priest broke up again?

    2. Gregg Senko

      I’m not entirely sure but it doesn’t sound like they’re active. I get the impression Rob Halford is pouring his energies into his own band.

    3. Brian White

      Is that really the entire setlist above? He only played one new song? 🙁

    4. Darkblade

      Awesome review, it’s exactly what everyone was saying this past August in San Bernadino – wow, WHAT a concert. This invisible something threaded it’s way with Ozzy’s voice bridging the span between us and bam! connected with me 3 inches below the navel dead center. just like you said. making me flash back to that 11-12 year old girl who first heard his voice and fell in love back in 1975/1976. ~*

    5. Gregg Senko

      Yup. They were on for about 95 minutes. I wasn’t complaining as I enjoyed the older stuff, but I was kind of surprised.

    6. Gerard Iribe

      Wow, what a short set-list. It’s past Ozzy’s bedtime, I guess.