Last Night: Ozzy Osbourne At Toyota Center, Part 2

Ozzy Osbourne Toyota Center January 18, 2011

See more photos of the Ozzman, opener Slash and their fans in our slideshow.

How does he do it?

Say there's this musician who a) overindulged to such an extent for 30 years he made Caligula look like a Southern Baptist; b) left his genre-defining band, returned, got fired, became one of the most successful solo metal acts of all time, then reunited with that band again; and c) once snorted ants, for chrissake: how does he continue to go out and rock at 62 years of age?

That was the question on more than a few of our minds Tuesday night at the Toyota Center as metal patriarch Ozzy Osbourne brought his "Scream" tour to Houston. It was a show spanning the Prince of Darkness' 40-plus year career, and a few minor glitches aside, he delivered, to the delight of the assembled middle-aged metalheads (and their kids).

The tour is ostensibly in support of his latest album of the same name; however, Tuesday's night's set list only featured the opening track, "Let Me Hear You Scream," and Ozzy got it out of the way quickly by playing it second. The man knows his audience.

Aftermath is sure a sizable portion of the crowd faithfully buys every Ozzy release, but we're willing to bet the stuff in constant rotation on their MP3 players and disc changers is more likely old Sabbath, Blizzard of Ozz and The Ultimate Sin. To that end, they were treated to classics like "Mr. Crowley," "Shot in the Dark," "Paranoid" and "Suicide Solution." That last one is a bit of an interesting choice, given the song's history.

But there were also a few somewhat obscure selections, like Paranoid's satisfyingly crunchy "Fairies Wear Boots" and "Rat Salad," which gave drummer Tommy Clufetos and new guitarist Gus G. a chance to show their solo chops (and gave Ozz a chance to catch a breather).

Calling Gus "new" is a bit disingenuous, given that he's been with Ozzy since 2009. It just seems that way since Zakk Wylde played with the guy for, like, 50 years. His latest band (including returning bassist Blasko and keyboardist Alan Wakeman, son of Rick) seems tighter and more aggressive than past incarnations; the result is a much gnarlier sound, which Ozzy fed off of admirably.

Wait, did we just say "gnarlier?" Yes we did, and we air-guitared to "Crazy Train" too. Fuck off.

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Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar