Rock legends Rob Halford and Ozzy Osbourne rocked Madison Square Garden this Wednesday with the aid of their respective talented band members. The crowd spanned several generations, from the man with the snow-white mustache seated in front of us who whipped out a lighter during "Mama I'm Coming Home" to the small child dancing a row back, who seemed to know the majority of the words to most of Ozzy's songs. Several WSOU staffers, graduated and current, dotted the crowd as well. The show began at 8 p.m. on the dot and continued well past 11, with near-constant entertainment for the crowd.
Halford took the stage first as the opening act, performing several songs of their own as well as a variety of cover songs. Rob Halford proved that he's still got that epic voice, screeching his way through the opening track, "Resurrection," before bringing in that constant interplay of growl and metal legend wail throughout the entirety of his energetic set. The 59-year-old Judas Priest veteran blazed through several tracks before stopping to chat with the audience, thanking them very sincerely and introducing the cover songs that he subsequently launched into--these tracks included a Fleetwood Mac cover, a reinterpretation of Joan Baez's "Diamonds and Rust," and the Judas Priest track "Jawbreaker." After a few more songs, the band members took a group bow, and exited the stage, having gotten the crowd suitably excited for the arrival of the Prince of Darkness.
Before Ozzy took the stage, the audience was treated to a short film that green-screened the sometimes-actor into several movie and TV scenes, which included an Ozzy Avatar, a fight with The Jersey Shore's Snooki, and a scene from Twilight (including the line: "Vampires are p*****s. I'm the Prince of f****n' Darkness!"). The real Ozzy then took the stage, totally conscious of his status as a rock giant, and began to whip up the crowd, starting with the promise that the louder the crowd was, the longer he would keep playing. He then launched into "Bark at the Moon," followed by his newest single, "Let Me Hear You Scream," and a series of tracks interspersed with interludes wherein he would attempt (successfully) to rouse the crowd to make as much noise as possible. The front few rows and the stage itself became a splash zone at several points during the evening, as the singer was given access to a foam-shooting hose and frequently stuck his head in buckets of water that were on the stage, the contents of which were flung into the crowd at the end of the show. Ozzy was in his element, singing, clapping, and smiling as he went through hit after hit. He threw in some Black Sabbath songs, as well, including "Fairies Wear Boots," "War Pigs," and "N.I.B." in the first half of the show.
Shortly after introducing his band members (Gus G. formerly of Firewind [lead guitar], Rob Nicholson [bass], Tommy Clufetos [drums], and Adam Wakeman [keyboard, guitar]), Ozzy took a brief break, during which his band showed off their musical chops with some soloing. Gus G. performed some fancy fretwork and Tommy Clufetos' earned the title of the smiliest damn drummer I've ever seen, keeping the crowd entertained while their singer took a breather. Then he was back with "Iron Man" and several other tracks, including "Flying High Again," Black Sabbath's "Into the Void," and what was ostensibly his closing track, "Crazy Train." He then led the crowd in a chant of "one more song," after which he performed "Mama I'm Coming Home," and then teased the crowd again before rounding out the evening with Black Sabbath's "Paranoid."
Really, though, Ozzy really just wants you to clap your hands, as he reminded the crowd during the instrumental portions of every song--either appealing to metal harshness ("Put those f*****g hands in the air!") or fondness for his audience's enthusiasm ("Let me see your beautiful hands!"). The Prince of Darkness is clearly still kicking and, as he said during the show, "still f*****g crazy."