Review – Ozzy Osbourne Lit up the Dark Souls of Denver

Throughout the ’70s, Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne ruled the darkness of heavy metal. After his firing from Black Sabbath in 1979, Osbourne went on to rule the ’80s and beyond as an individual entity, which the 11 albums released would suggest him successful. Known as the Prince of Darkness and Godfather of Heavy Metal, Ozzy Osbourne will always be an act that the masses will flock to see, even at age 69. Despite his decades of multi-platinum certifications, younger generations might remember him better for his reality TV fame from MTV’s early 2000s The Osbournes, and the currently running series Ozzy & Jack’s World Detour, which is in its third season.

Although Osbourne reunited with Black Sabbath in 2013 for the recording of their album 13, that reunion was temporary. Osbourne took the stage the Pepsi Center in Denver on Tuesday night with his own band, some of whom have also performed for Black Sabbath over the years, either as touring members or otherwise. The band included Zakk Wylde on guitar, Rob “Blasko” Nicholson on bass, Adam Wakeman on keys and Tommy Clufetos on drums.

Stone Sour was the opening number for the event, and the hair of the group made for an equally interesting experience as the music. Mohawks, a beard to the bassist’s stomach, colored tufts on the drummer and a bald guitarist all circled around lead singer Corey Taylor’s full head of locks. Taylor engaged the mostly filled Pepsi Center by spraying the metal fans with liquid, a confetti gun and throwing nearly full bottles of water at them. He grabbed a guitar about halfway through his set to perform a solo “Bother,” a song he cited Denver as serving a great inspiration to. The group rejoined the lead voice and rocked their fan favorite, “Through Glass” before finishing their set with their alternative metal sound.

Osbourne dramatically took the stage in a purple cape just before 9 p.m. along with four large screens playing a montage of his career behind him. Although a bit harder to understand than several decades ago, Osbourne assured the crowd, “I am not here to fuck around, and I want you all to go fucking crazy.” Next to him, hiding under a wall of hair, was his off-and-on guitarist sidekick Wylde, who has made a name for himself as one of the greatest guitarists alive since his hiring with Osbourne in 1989. In his distinct Brummie accent, Osbourne belted out “Mr. Cowley,” while running up and down the stage.

“People say this is my last tour, but that’s a crock of shit,” said Osbourne of his return to the stage. 

After some excellent criss-cross through solo work and Black Sabbath showcasing, including an evening highlight in “War Pigs,” Wylde took the reigns of the show for a 10-minute solo — and not your ordinary solo. Wylde took the cameras and hefty security into the crowd, ripping his instrument directly in front of a head-banging fan. He then worked his way to a platform in the middle of the floor, showing off his skills by playing behind his head and with his mouth. Once he finally tired of his own antics, he gave the spotlight to Clufetos, who took the opportunity for his own drum solo. While impressive, the segment crept into a territory of redundancy and the return of the structured act was welcomed.

Although Osbourne was actively participating in the show with energy, his movements were plagued by a stiffness that only age and a rugged life can be attributed to. It did not stop him from spraying the crowd with a white liquid — which he also dumped on himself — and orchestrating dance moves with the music.

While the show proved that iconic acts are usually worth the ticket price and few hours of attention, Osbourne is a perfect example of taking a performance for what it is worth when the act has seen nearly seven decades of life. Osbourne will forever be the master of his craft and imprint to what heavy metal yearns to return to, and the “No More Tears Tour 2” served its purpose in satiating the appetites of Denver’s darkest souls.

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