Ozzy Osbourne. There is hardly anything or anyone more metal than this guy. He doesn’t need any introduction; it’s certain that even your non-metal parents know who Ozzy is. That’s why the significance of his solo concert in Helsinki on the 9th of September is pretty much self-explanatory. Every heavy metal fan found it necessary to be at Hartwall Areena that night and pay homage to one of the godfathers of their favorite music genre, while keeping in mind Ozzy’s age and general state, one couldn’t get their hopes up too high. The setlist from the previous night in Sweden was very promising, yet I was only hoping that he will go through the show without crumbling into dust.
Strictly on schedule, at 21:00 we heard a familiar voice coming from out of nowhere above a still-empty stage. The voice was chanting something that reminded me of a football chant and was instantly taken up by the crowd. A moment later, the stage was lit with bright light and none other than the Prince of Darkness rose in front of our eyes. Speaking of the light, it was done perfectly, reflecting the supposedly “spooky” atmosphere of the show. The light gray, shimmering backdrop seemed quite simple; you would expect more from Ozzy’s stage set. However, once the light-tech started his work, the backdrop reflected all the lights directed at it, creating a very good impression.
Without any further ado, Ozzy started the show with “Bark at the Moon.” Surprisingly enough, on stage Osbourne was exactly the opposite of what many people would imagine him to be. He is far from a shaking mummy – he is alive and he’s even got the energy to move around the stage! Of course, he is not the Ozzy he was in the 80s and his vocals are also not as good, but he was still on an unexpectedly decent level. And no matter what, he still can get the crowd going, he still can sing, he is still breathing!
Even though the current tour is in support of Ozzy’s latest release, Scream, the setlist consisted of tracks from Osbourne’s solo career from the 80s and 90s together with some of Sabbath’s hit songs, and only at the beginning of the show was the freshly-made “Let Me Hear You Scream” performed, the chorus of which Ozzy lively jumped at the mic-stand. This was followed by an aerobics lesson started from “Mr. Crowley” and continued through the rest of the show, when Osbourne shouted “Let me see your hands!” and thousands of hands were instantly waving in the air.
Throughout the whole gig, Ozzy was happily pouring some wet foam out of a hosepipe over the people standing in the front, probably so that they could be sure they are not dreaming. Just in case this wasn’t enough, closer to the end of the concert, the Ozzman poured three buckets of water on them, first dipping his head into one. I suppose it’s a good thing that this show didn’t take place during wintertime. And maybe pouring water on the audience might be considered as oh-so-last-century by some, it’s Ozzy fucking Osbourne we’re talking about. He’s allowed to do whatever he likes, as without him last century might have even have had a different ending.
In general, I got the impression that I had attended an exciting lecture, done by one of the most authoritative professors in the field – provided that the lecture was on the history of the formation of heavy music and the professor was Ozzy Osbourne. The show went by in the best traditions of heavy metal and in this was its grandeur, because that’s exactly how it all began a long time ago. Ozzy didn’t bite the head off a seagull (which would be the Finnish version of a bat). He did, however, constantly repeat that he loves us all, got down on his knees, and sent kisses to the public. This man’s may be doing the show for himself, but Ozzy makes every penny spent on the tickets worth it.
Nobody could leave before the show was over because “Paranoid” was left untill the very end, and there was no way this song could be missed. You can never know if you get another chance to hear it live. The show lasted for a little over 1.5 hours and this earned Ozzy even more respect. He proved that he is more alive than anyone could imagine and he can still kick it hard and heavy.
1. Bark at the Moon
2. Let Me Hear You Scream
3. Mr. Crowley
4. I Don’t Know
5. Fairies Wear Boots
6. Suicide Solution
7. Road to Nowhere
8. War Pigs
9. Shot in the Dark
10. Iron Man
11. Killer of Giants
12. I Don’t Want to Change the World
13. Crazy Train
14. Mama, I’m Coming Home
Text: Tanja Caciur | Photos: Henri Lassander