Ozzy Osbourne and Slash at Comerica Theatre Last Night

Categories: Last Night
Luke Holwerda
Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne and Slash
Comerica Theatre
January 26th, 2011

Have you ever wondered what happened to the people who appeared in the '80s rock documentary Heavy Metal Parking Lot?

Well, from the looks of it they were all standing in a line that stretched around the Comerica Theatre last night. And they brought their kids, too. Yeah, there was a fare share of young metal heads and even some punk rockers at Comerica last night but it was mostly an older crowd that contained a very diverse group of metal fans.

There was the die hard, who sported the long, thinning hair look with black denim jeans and a metal t-shirt that looked like it was his go to shirt during the Reagan presidency. There were the ex-groupies who probably dressed more provocatively last night than they have since they stopped trying to get backstage at Poison concerts. And, finally, the metal fan who traded in the band for slacks and polos but were eager to relive the glory days last night.

So what could bring this latter group out of retirement? Metal icons Ozzy Osbourne and Slash, of course.

Luke Holwerda

When you think about it, pairing these two up makes perfect sense not just because they are metal icons but because they are both survivors of the genre. While most other acts from the same eras as Ozzy and Slash hang around today on nostalgia alone, these guys have still managed to remain relevant in a scene that's seen its glory days come and go.

Both Guns and Roses and Velvet Revolver have fallen off of the map and their respective lead singers have been reduced to walking punch lines but Slash has managed to avoid falling away into obscurity. Ozzy has managed to remain relevant in an entirely different way of course. Going from the Prince of Darkness to lovable, goofball dad on the reality TV show The Osbournes. And it was this image of pop celebrity that Ozzy played into last night.

Shortly before going on stage, a video played that had Ozzy digitally inserted as a cast member of The Jersey Shore and in the films The Hangover, Avatar, Iron Man 2, a Lady Gaga music video and Twilight. This last one did provide the line of the night when Ozzie told Kristen Stewart's character, "Vampires are pussies, I'm the Prince of fucking Darkness."

From the looks of things being the "Prince of fucking Darkness" has definitely taken its toll on Ozzy Osbourne. That and the massive amounts of drugs and alcohol, too. But you really have to hand it to the guy for the fact that despite his age and well publicized excesses have clearly reduced both his ability to get around on stage and his vocal ability he still appeared to have endless amounts of energy. Not to mention the fact that this guy knows how to work a crowd better than just about anyone.

He's also got some pretty good stamina for a guy in his sixties. Ozzy and backing band played a nearly two hour long set which featured most of the singers biggest hits from his solo days like "Bark at the Moon," "Crazy Train," and "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and a few Black Sabbath tunes as well. There were plenty of theatrics in Ozzy's set as well, including some pyrotechnics and several times during his performance spraying the audience down with a hose those shot white foam into crowd.

It's pretty clear that Ozzy's better days are behind him now and it honestly makes me wish I would have seen him live back in his prime. Even still, though, he managed to put on a pretty fantastic show.

And while Ozzy definitely showed his age last night, opening act, Slash, on the other hand, has remained remarkably well preserved despite his equally impressive excesses. Taking the stage in his signature shades and top hat he looks almost exactly the same as he did in any of the old Guns and Roses videos. This guy must sleep in a hyperbaric chamber because he hasn't appeared to have aged at all during his career. Not only that but he moved and spun around stage more like someone in their twenties rather than someone in their mid-forties.

Joining Slash on stage was Alter Bridge lead singer Myles Kennedy. The good news for Kennedy is that if the whole Alter Bridge thing doesn't pan out he's definitely got a career as the lead singer in a GNR tribute band. His Scott Weiland needs a little work, though. But Slash's set was pretty GNR heavy so it worked out in Kennedy's favor. And, really, Kennedy and the rest of the band are really just there to fill in the gaps between Slash's guitar solos. And Slash definitely delivered, including a pretty geek out worthy moment when he played the intro to "Sweet Child o' Mine."

Critics Notebook:

Last Night: Ozzy Osbourne and Slash at Comerica Theatre

Personal Bias: The Osbournes is one of the only reality TV shows that I will ever openly admit to watching. MTV hasn't had a decent show since that one went off the air. And, also, it's Ozzy Osbourne.

The Crowd: See paragraph two.

Overheard in the crowd: "I use to be able to bang my head for a lot longer."

Random Notebook Dump: I don't know if it was just where I was sitting but after Ozzy started to shoot that foam the place really started to smell funny. He did managed to get former D-Backs pitcher Randy Johnson pretty good with that stuff though.

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A "hyperbolic chamber"? Is that where malapropisms go to sleep so that they aren't found by editors? Does New Times have editors?

Arizona Darkblade
Arizona Darkblade

Ozzy playing just one song off of the Scream album to me and several other fans didn't make any sense. We expecting to hear his new stuff but IN THAT left disappointed. His show, however, overall of course was outstanding. His album is not just 'Let Me Hear You Scream,' it is the other heavyweight songs 'Let it Die,' 'Fearless,' or the more melodic 'Life Won't Wait' and 'Time.' It doesn't appear he thinks the album worthy of performing, not as opposed to performing songs from the '80's or Sabbath, which is a head scratcher. Ozzy is the King of Hard Rock and the Godfather of Heavy Metal and by his show he reinforced that with all fans present. To me, it was a let down hearing so few of his current album Scream.

For those with knowledge of his current lineup beyond one show, Ozzy guitarist Gus G's playing was off on a couple of songs, most notably 'Mama I'm Coming Home.' Very puzzling given his obvious expertise, and almost obsessive skill. Unfortunately he showed himself less a prodigy and far more lazy since earlier concerts. Resting on his laurels as if the game is already won and he's bored. Not even bothering to show the world of Ozzy fans what he can do. A big mistake. He drifted during the Randy Rhoads solo's - something you couldn't help compare to Zakk Wylde, who always captured them flawlessly. A disrespect to long-term Ozzy fans and to the legend of Randy Rhoads. To me, he was about 30% off at a low 'D' and 70% on at a low 'B'.

Tommy Clufetos was excellent on the drums as always, a big crowd pleaser, although during Rat Salad was a bit slow getting the crowd screaming in on queue (maybe from a bit too much imbibing is my guess). A few of the songs were a bit too slow, strange given they were not at Ozzfest. Given the totality, his performance was great - the man is very talented, and created a stellar rhythm section with Rob Blasko on bass.

Blasko was on fire the entire show, an excellent performer, showman, and bass guitarist. Always on, always working the crowd, always honoring the man he knows is a legend. Right on. Nothing negative at all to say about the man. Wow.

Adam Wakeman (keyboards and rhythm guitar) was hidden much of the show, and I for one would have loved hearing more of what he can bring to the table aside of the opening to Mr. Crowley. A very funny and likeable guy. Maybe on the next Ozzy album he'll be brought more into the spotlight. His inputs on Scream while limited were stellar.

Slash was fantastic. From my perspective the GnR went over very poor with the crowd. Nobody hardly recognized the songs aside of 'Paradise' and of course the clear crowd favorite 'Sweet Child of Mine.' The new songs off his solo album Slash, on the other hand, got the crowd going crazy~!

Both performers would really do much better to focus on their current material. Crowds are flexible, and quite used to buying tickets for shows covering their current albums. Slash had a great blend. On the other hand, while it was nice to hear the past, it was a bit too much with Ozzy.

Ozzy's shows are fantastic. In fact better today then they have been in some 15 years. He's hot, focused, happening. This is not a critique of him from a perspective of 'is he good or not,' it's a critique of him from the understanding he's an amazing performer, and what I as a long-term fan expect of his shows when going to see them.


Somewhere in America, an English teacher just woke up screaming without knowing why.


I disagree I found the show excellent.you can't compare apples to oranges. every guitar player is different and as far as ozzy goes you said it yourself most of the crowd consisted of an older generation that enjoys reminising on the older days. He is in his 60's now you can't expect him to do the things now that he did 20 even 10 years ago. This was my first time seeing ozzy and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I thought he was excellent.

Arizona Darkblade
Arizona Darkblade

Imbibing NOT by Clufetos, but rather by the crowd. The man was right on.

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