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Taken from syracuse.com (Sep 02, 2018)

Long live Ozzy Osbourne (review)

by Dan Poorman



Ozzy Osbourne performed at St. Joseph's Health Amphitheater at Lakeview in Syracuse on Saturday. (Dan Poorman)


Yesterday in Syracuse was a big deal.


A record 134,115 bodies flooded the Great New York State Fair. This fleet, no doubt, sought a litany of pleasures. Some came for the cows; some, for butter art; others, for newfangled glazed donut sandwiches and vodka milkshakes; some more, for ZZ Top at Chevy Court.


A sizable faction, though, took to the lake to behold the Prince of Darkness himself, pushing 70 and celebrating his retirement from the road -- again.


Early in his set at St. Joseph's Health Amphitheater, Ozzy Osbourne announced a footnote to his "No More Tours II" farewell tour 2.0.


"I'm not done," Osbourne said. "I'm just not touring the f----n' world anymore."


There was laughter, and then the horns went up. In that moment, it seemed that even if Ozzy were to punk his fans once more (the first "No More Tours," in 1991, was followed up by the "Retirement Sucks Tour" in 1995), they'd instantly forgive him and continue dropping Benjamins on his bat-emblazoned hockey jerseys.


One should never test the faith of a metalhead.


While we can't be certain what will happen to Osbourne's music career after this tour, the setlist on Saturday sure felt grand enough to fit a finale. The band started the show with "Bark at the Moon" and ended it with "Crazy Train." The encore saw performances of "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid." The whole thing was a slew of hits.



Readers may be wondering how Osbourne, famous for his turbulent rock'n'roll lifestyle and his resultant turn as a deliriously domesticated reality TV dad in the early 2000s, sounds on stage. Does he slur the lyrics? Does he reach for the high notes? The truth is this: Ozzy, on Saturday, was not perfect, but he was ultimately great.


He strained on a few numbers, notably "Suicide Solution" and "Mama, I'm Coming Home." Osbourne's singing will rankle vocal coaches the world over. His charismatic bleat defies proper technique, coming not from his gut but his throat. At his worst on Saturday, Osburne sounded a bit flat, and like his head might explode.


But folks have to understand that nobody comes to see Ozzy Osbourne, especially in 2018, for a pitch-perfect performance. They come to see him for the spectacle, and for the raw energy he inspires in his devoted fans. Case in point: Ozzy made his entrance on Saturday in a glittering purple robe to Orff's "O Fortuna" -- it felt like a gladiator stepping into the Colosseum. It was strangely beautiful.


And, while he may have faltered a few times, it should be noted that Osbourne's vocals were spot-on for the majority of the show. There were many "He's still got it!" moments, especially on "No More Tears," "Road to Nowhere" and the glorious Sabbath cuts "Fairies Wear Boots" and "War Pigs."



"War Pigs" was far and away the highlight of the evening. It showcased not only Osbourne's legacy as the Godfather of Heavy Metal -- the sheer genius of Black Sabbath -- but the prowess of his current band. Guitarist Zakk Wylde, considered by many Ozzy fans to be the ultimate carrier of the late Randy Rhoads' torch, is back for "No More Tours II" -- and during "War Pigs" on Saturday, he melted into a 10-minute shred fest that took him into the crowd. He played his guitar upside down, then with his teeth, all while wearing a kilt. It was ridiculous, but warranted. Why not, you know? He's the kind of player who really gives an otherwise crude hunk of wood and metal an uncanny voice.



Above all, as is the case with many legendary performers, what made Ozzy Osbourne great on Saturday was a sense of minimalism, mingling wonderfully with his more easily noticeable flamboyance. There was little to no stage banter. Osbourne would simply shout "Thank you!" between numbers. He'd tell us to clap, or chant "Hey!" to the rhythm. He'd slate the title of a song before playing it. He'd announce a forthcoming breakdown. He'd drop the salutations of his band members in the middle of their featured parts.


After closing with "Crazy Train," Osbourne was not backstage for more than ten seconds before we heard his disembodied voice instruct us to ask for the encore.


It's that analogue spirit that keeps a rock show moving; that keeps audiences wishing they didn't have to say goodbye.


Maybe it isn't goodbye. Regardless, long live the Prince of Darkness.


The Setlist

"Bark at the Moon"
"Mr. Crowley"
"I Don't Know"
"Fairies Wear Boots" (Black Sabbath)
"Suicide Solution"
"No More Tears"
"Road to Nowhere"
"War Pigs"
"Miracle Man" / "Crazy Babies" / "Desire" / "Perry Mason"
"I Don't Want to Change the World"
"Shot in the Dark"
"Crazy Train"

Encore:
"Mama, I'm Coming Home"
"Paranoid" (Black Sabbath)



 
 

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