Ozzy Osbourne at the Target Center, 1/12/11
|Photos by Tony Nelson - click for slideshow|
January 12, 2011
Target Center, Minneapolis
Coming up from Mankato on a cold Wednesday night, 10-year-old Grady Wolters and his dad, Todd, were anxious to see the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, finally perform. Grady's old man first saw Ozzy in 1991 and was excited for his son's first ever big concert, as was the Target Center crowd that was forced to wait an extra month when the original date was postponed because of a reported ear infection.
As someone who has never taken himself too seriously, the show opened with a video introduction that super-imposed Ozzy with some of today's contemporary television and film scenes, interjecting him and his silly grins as he played the role as Beyonce in the "Telephone" video, Edward Cullen in "Twilight," an Avatar, a scene in "The Hangover," and as the Situation in "Jersey Shore."
Ozzy was backed by a band that included former Rob Zombie drummer Tommy Clufetos, bassist Rob Nicholson, Adam Wakeman (yes, the son of Rick) on keyboards, and the newest in the line of guitar hero sideman to play with Ozzy, Gus G., who played all the well known material with his own flare and great energy. The band regaled the three-quarters full Target Center with a heavy dose of classic metal anthems from his long and never ending career.
Ozzy pounded the enthusiastic crowd with samplings from his early solo records, including "Mr. Crowley," "A Shot in the Dark," and "I Don't Know" on up through last year's satisfying "Scream."
Introducing "Suicide Solution" with pride, Ozzy explained how he's "Gotten a lot of shit for this song through the years but I couldn't really give a fuck because...I'm Ozzy!!" to which the crowd roared in fist-banging unison and devil horns, fully cooperating with Ozzy as he repeatedly urged the crowd to "Go fucking wild!!" all night.
As anyone would expect, updated treatments of his former band Black Sabbath's catalog were peppered throughout the set. Pleasantly unabbreviated and greeted with screams from the audience who couldn't get enough air guitars and sing-alongs as each classic, the set was highlighted by "Fairies Wear Boots," "Rat Salad," "War Pigs," and the inevitable "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" sounded as fresh as ever.
During on of the ubiquitous guitar solos, I asked Grady what he thought of the show. He was doe-eyed and fully inspired. His Dad told me he plays the trumpet in band and recently took up drums. "He told me he wants to be that guy some day," he said, pointing to Clufetos who at that point was banging an over-sized gong on the levitating drum riser in the middle of his own extended drum solo.
After a bit of break backstage, Ozzy came back out and the Target Center once again went wild. On fire all night, Ozzy continued to get the crowd to "Raise your fucking hands!!" and constantly pulled out a foam-spitting fire hose, dousing the first half of the main floor with healthy helpings on the front row security guards who managed to smirk off the gag. It seemed Ozzy could really get away with anything and everyone loved him for it.
In a week that's given insanity a bad name in the news, the concert was a landmark event that brought the best out in the recuperated Ozzy, who despite age, a roller coaster history with drugs and alcohol, and a debaucherous lifestyle, still remains one of the living legends of rock and roll; he provided an extremely cathartic and celebratory musical event for Minnesota's metal family.
As the lights came up and the smoke on stage cleared I caught the Wolters leaving their seats and wished them safe travels back to Mankato.
Beaming, Grady waved good bye, "That was awesome!!"
Critic's Bias: Can't really think of any logical explanation why this man, Ozzy Osbourne, is still alive not to mention with so much energy at 62.
The Crowd: Despite all the on-stage expletives this was as much a family event for many rabid Ozzy lovers and their metal offspring of all stripes and ages.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Dude, I wasn't even a sperm in my Dad's nuts when this song came out..do you got any weed?!"
Random Notebook Dump: "It's been a long time since I found myself so wrapped up in the music that I find myself acting like a total buffoon."
For more photos: See our full slideshow by Tony Nelson.
Bark at the Moon
Let Me Hear You Scream
I Don't Know
Fairies Wear Boots
Road to Nowhere
Shot in the Dark
Killer of Giants
I Don't Want to Change the World
Mama, I'm Coming Home