Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ozzy Osbourne/Slash - Bridgestone Arena Nashville, TN February 16, 2011

Ozzy used to be a name that struck fear in parents and to be honest, he scared me just as much when I was in junior high but I was still drawn to his music. Blizzard, Diary, Bark At The Moon and the Ultimate Sin were in heavy rotation in junior high and high school. The end of my high school days and start of my college life was consumed with GNR's Appetite for Destruction so with these two forces of Ozzy and Slash combining at the Bridgestone Arena I was looking for a fun filled show.

The ticket stub stated the start time at 7:30 but thanks to following Slash on Twitter I knew he was starting the shows early, at 7:20. Axl.....take note, Slash starts his shows EARLY. I know that is a foreign concept but you should try it. Yes, I am still bitter over having to wait for you for three hours in 1992. Anyway, Slash has a wide catalog of material to choose from and I think he did a great job of representing all stages of his career. The show opened with "Ghost" from his latest solo CD and Myles Kennedy proved why Slash chose him to be his vocalist on this tour. The second song was "Mean Bone" from the second Snakepit CD and then they kicked things into high gear with "Nighttrain". Anyone not yet on their feet were at the opening of "Nighttrain" and they were up for the rest of the set. After another Snakepit tune, they launched into "My Michelle" and "Rocket Queen" and at this point Myles had me thinking "Axl who?". The band and the crowd were feeding off of each other's energy and it didn't stop when the next two songs performed were from the new CD. The new material got a great response, as it should have, but it was nothing compared to the eruption that occurred when Slash hit the opening note to "Sweet Child of Mine". At this point in the show I was thinking that Slash needs to return to Nashville soon as a headliner. Things didn't let up after Sweet Child as they ripped into Velvet Revolver's "Slither" and then closed the set with "Paradise City." I was expecting a good set from Slash and Co. but they far exceeded my expectations. I can honestly say they were one of, if not the best, opening bands I have ever seen. They definitely got the crowd warmed up for Ozzy and I feared Ozzy would have a hard time competing. If you are a fan of GNR, VR, or a Slash solo, this is a show you must not miss. The entire band is solid and Myles Kennedy is a phenomenal vocalist. He was hitting Axl notes that Axl can't hit anymore. Slash looked so happy on stage with these guys and it makes me wonder if a GNR reunion would be worth the headaches of dealing with Axl. I hope Slash continues to work with these guys in the future and I hope to see them in Nashville again soon. They were so good they made me forget about Slash's appearance with the Black Eye Peas at the Superbowl and that is saying a lot.

After a VERY short break the lights went down and a video montage of Ozzy in various movies, TV shows and videos was shown. This showed Ozzy's great sense of humor and it was worth it all just to see him as a cast member of The Jersey Shore and Twilight. As the video ends, Ozzy walks out on stage and greets the crowd and then announces "Let the madness begin". And so it did. While Ozzy has gone Lorena Bobbitt and cut the setlist short, the hits never stopped coming. Opening with one of my favorites "Bark at the Moon", it really got the crowd fired up for a night of some classic Oz. Ozzy wisely played the one new song early in the set and "Scream" was well received but let's face it, we want old school Ozzy/Sabbath and when Scream ended that is what we got the rest of the night. "Mr. Crowley" was next and it was this song that Ozzy took the opportunity to bring out the foam cannon for the first time. Only at a rock and roll show can people get so excited about being sprayed with foam by a senior citizen. I couldn't tell who was enjoying it more, Ozzy or the crowd. Ozzy is like a big kid, which is a good thing, and his love of the crowd seems genuine as he was smiling all night long. In 20 years he has evolved from the Prince of Darkness to the lovable, down to earth, humorous Ozzy. As the set continued with the standard Ozzy hits it was the Sabbath tunes that generated the greatest response. "War Pigs" was one of those goose bump moments as thousands of people are singing those classic lyrics at the top of their lungs. "Rat Salad" was thrown into the mix and gave Ozzy a chance to rest as the band showcased their talents. With a rhythm section that formerly were part of Rob Zombie's band, bassist Blasko and drummer Tommy Clufetos, it was easy to see why Ozzy wanted to hire these guys as they are both very skillful and also good showmen. New guitarist Gus G did a very fine job of replacing Zakk Wylde. I hope Ozzy keeps him for awhile and Gus gets his chance to shine as other past Ozzy guitarists have. The set ended with "Crazy Train" and I knew the band would leave the stage and be back for the encore. However, Ozzy never left the stage and instead the band kicked off the encore with "Mama I'm Coming Home" and ended with the always crowd frenzied "Paranoid" and I can't think of a better way to end it.

Ozzy only played 14 songs. As the tour has progressed the set has gone from 20 songs to 14 so I am assuming it is to save Ozzy's voice and to keep him rested. If you are a diehard Ozzy/Sabbath fan it is a show worth attending, especially with a strong warm up band like Slash. If you are just a casual fan I would say it might not be worth the money. The show ended at 10:00pm which means Ozzy could have played up to another hour. I loved the show and the setlist but I do wish he had included at least a couple more songs. Touring is probably not easy on Ozzy and I am not sure how many tours he has left in him so I am glad I went. I personally feel like it is the touring and the fans that keep him going and if that is true I hope to see him again soon.

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