The once and future Prince of Darkness, from earlier in the tour.EXPAND
The once and future Prince of Darkness, from earlier in the tour.
Photo by Mark Weiss

Ozzy Osbourne May Not Be Eternal, But He's Still Pretty Fun Live

Ozzy Osbourne, Stone Sour
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
September 28, 2K18

There’s a video that kicks off Ozzy’s set on this run of dates known as No More Tours 2. In it, we see clips from the various stages of his career. It’s an interesting glimpse at how though many things changed — the technology, the band members, the hair — Ozzy has always had the perfect face for the music he sings. There’s a certain wide-eyed spookiness that even now, after 50 years of touring, he can still conjure, the type of look at would have spawned countless Tumblr pages had he been born in a more modern era.

This tour does just about everything right when it comes to playing to the strengths that 2018 Ozzy possesses. The setlist is pretty much perfect, focusing on the hits from his solo work while mixing in some well-timed Black Sabbath classics; no show featuring a performance of “War Pigs” can really be considered bad. The band plays like a well-oiled machine, although the mid-show guitar and drum solo section does go on far too long. There’s a lot of moving video and bright lights to augment the performance so that the star at the center of it doesn’t carry the entire burden of the show alone.

And then there’s Ozzy’s clear enthusiasm for being out on stage. His claps might not always be in time, and he might sound more grandfather than rock god when he asks the crowd if it’s having a good time, but you’ll rarely find him standing still. He’s out and about, trying to keep the crowd engaged and taking in the well-earned “Ozzy!” chants as they poured out from the packed crowd up in The Woodlands.

A bigger looks at the No More Tours 2 set.EXPAND
A bigger looks at the No More Tours 2 set.
Photo by Mark Weiss

“Final tours” are all the rage these days, and as a gimmick, it’s better than most. We should be going out and celebrating the legends we still have while we can, and if we have to pay a slight premium for that, it’s not like they haven’t earned it. Ozzy could easily sit on a throne in the middle of the stage and no one would have complained. But he’s still giving what he can, the way he always has. It may not make for a perfect performance, but there are those moments where you’ll realize just how much you’ll miss his face once Ozzy is gone.

So, How Was The Opener?: I am told that Stone Sour opened this show, but I find that hard to believe given how quiet their set was. I mean, even modest openers can be heard as you walk up to the building, but we were damn near right on top the amphitheater before realizing that Stone Sour was in fact on stage. Good on them for getting a payday even with little to no volume.

Personal Bias: While Ozzy’s place in the pantheon of hard rock was secured literally decades ago, I hope when we talk about his legacy we don’t forget the platform he gave a generation of bands via Ozzfest. The festival wasn’t something that could last forever, but in its day it did give more than a few bands some prime touring experience before they exploded onto the scene on the strength of their own music.

The Crowd: About as many black shirts as you might imagine.

Overheard In The Crowd: “Look at that dude playing his Michelob Ultra,” my best friend pointed out about a man doing the air guitar fingers on his beer can while watching Zakk Wylde do his big rock solo in the crowd. Given the beer prices, it almost was like he was playing guitar.

Random Notebook Dump: I went to a lot of concerts with my dad growing up. It was how we bonded, and had it not been for those shows we went to in my teen years I’m likely not writing this review today. The first concert I ever remember my dad being genuinely excited about going to was when Black Sabbath reunited; we had gone to plenty of shows by then, but it was the first time he had been as enthused as I had been about going to something. My dad passed away on Sunday, and here I found myself, watching Ozzy at the venue where I shared my final concert experience with my dad. Coincidence is weird.

I wish I knew what my dad thought about the show.

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