This was a better Ozzy show than his last show in October, 2007, when he was upstaged by then opener Rob Zombie. After that show, I blogged that I wouldn't see Ozzy again unless I ended up within the first ten rows or unless he released an excellent album. I ended up in the fifteenth row but could have been closer if I didn't buy through the pre-sale. Still, I was curious to see Rob Halford without Judas Priest and I was intrigued by Ozzy's setlist, which promised more classic Ozzy and Sabbath and less new-ish material.
Halford were mostly disappointing, not because of their musicianship, but due to their terribly simple and boring songs, complete with embarrassingly amateurish lyrics. They did play some decent material but overall, the songs just weren't there. Rob Halford sounded fine, well past his peak but still able to perform to an acceptable level. The first five songs that they played just didn't seem like anything anyone would want to cover. Things picked up with the more memorable "Fire and Ice," and "Thunder and Lightning," both from the new album Made of Metal. The fans perked up considerably with the next two songs, the Fleetwood Mac and Joan Baez covers and Priest classics, "The Green Manalishi (with the two-prong Crown) and "Diamonds and Rust." The Priest non-cover tune that they performed was "Jawbreaker," one of the better known tracks from 1984's Defenders of the Faith.
photo: David Lipnowski/ Winnipeg Free Press
Ozzy sort of surprised me with his longer than normal set. I read some other reviews of the Canadian tour and knew that he played over two hours elsewhere. Ozzy's set began around 8:45 and ended at 11:15, about 2.5 hours, and included several Black Sabbath numbers. At one point, he wanted to talk about a "rumour" but decided not to go there. I think the rumour was that, with the death of Ronnie James Dio, there will be a reunion of the original Black Sabbath, as the Dio-led version, Heaven & Hell, are finished.
On at least three occasions, Ozzy sprayed people in the first several rows with foam from a gun. He couldn't escape getting himself covered, as well, as this resulted in a tech running to the front of the stage to clean off the tele-prompter. Near the end of the show, he threw three buckets of water in the crowd. I wasn't sure if this was just Ozzy being crazy and fun or if he meant to discourage fans from filming the show with their cameras. One of the local newspapers published a photo of the venue's photographer displaying his foam-soaked gear.