Friday, November 09, 2007

Concert Review: Ozzy Osbourne / Rob Zombie in Winnipeg, MB, Oct. 27, 2007

Around 9500 fans showed up at the MTS Centre to see Ozzy's third Winnipeg show in seven years, but I think many were actually bigger Rob Zombie fans.

Ozzy played about two or three songs from his weak new album, Black Rain. Classic material heard included "Crazy Train," "I Don't Know," "Mr. Crowley," "Suicide Solution," "Bark At The Moon," the ballad, "Mama I'm Coming Home" and Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."

Not so classic material played included "Fire In the Sky," "Not Going Away," and "I Don't Wanna Stop." Missing were favorites "Over The Mountain," "Flying High Again," "Iron Man," "No More Tears," "The Ultimate Sin," and "Journey To The Centre of Eternity."

Ozzy is a nostalgia act, like many veteran artists, and as such he continues to survive and draw fans largely based on the strength of his best material, as opposed to his new releases.

Ozzy's vocals were all right, but obviously past their prime.

Fortunately for us, he didn't take his shirt off like he did the last time I saw him, about seven years ago. He looked like he came from a workout with his black outfit appearing as sweats and a sweatband across his head.

Throughout the set, there was a video camera panning the crowd, which stopped on a woman who was jiggling her breasts. She noticed herself on camera and was really delighted to display them for all to see. Of course, a few exhibitionists decided to pull up their tops for the camera, including this one woman standing with her girlfriend beside me.

One guy in front of me realized that the camera was showing a woman with red horns and turned around to confirm that it was this young woman by me. He pointed toward her bare boobs with his full arm, obviously enjoying the scene and then decided to take a few steps toward her, to get into the party by copping a feel. Well, her friend was having none of that and sternly slapped his hand away.

As usual, Ozzy spent a fair amount of time trying to get the audience fired up with his constant beckoning of "Make some f**king noise. I can't f**king hear you!"

I know Zakk Wylde is a guitar hero to many and is successful with his own band, Black Label Society, but....his ten-minute guitar solo was woefully lame.

Maybe I'm spoiled after having seen Eric Clapton solo brilliantly without appearing to break much of a sweat, earlier this year. In comparison, Wylde was about as good as the guys from Twisted Sister. Randy Rhoads, I miss you.

Rob Zombie played like a headliner and his stage set up was easily the best that I've seen a supporting act perform with, not to mention the endless flames that blasted out in synch with the music. The set boasted six video screens which accompanied all the songs with scary and campy animation and snippets from films. Most of the footage seemed to revolve around vampires, zombies, werewolves, Herman Munster and most common of all, breasts, some clothed, some not but all jiggling.

Zombie's set opened up with the band wearing skull masks, which reminded me of how the last Alice Cooper show began, with the band in masks. The drum kit was on a platform around 20 feet in the air, and the platform itself appeared to be a Japanese demon face, almost "Simpsonized."

Early on in the set, during "More Human Than Human," a 10 foot tall robot walked on stage and proceeded to thrash around and pursue the musicians.

Of course, this is straight out of the Iron Maiden playbook that came up with the gimmick over two decades ago with their mascot Eddie. Songs performed and accompanied by stunning videos, included American Witch, Living Dead Girl, Dragula.

LA's In This Moment, fronted by a female vocalist who looked as if she stepped off a Lawrence Welk set in her dress (costume), were quite good with their dramatic and powerful melodic metal, not unlike Lacuna Coil and Evanescence.

I would see Ozzy Osbourne again, but only if I ended up on the floor within the first ten rows or if he released a really excellent album. While I wasn't Rob Zombie fan and still find his music sounding a lot alike, I might see him if he headlined. He truly earned a second look.

Overall, I would rate the entire evening as a 3.5 out of 5 stars. Ozzy's set was worth three stars while Zombie's was easily 4 stars.

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