If Ozzy Osbourne made one thing clear at his portion of this year’s just-wrapped OzzFest tour, it was that he is more than ready to put his live performance days behind him. Playing in this all-day show’s headlining slot, and immediately after such stars of the moment as System of a Down and P.O.D., ol’ Ozzy has rarely looked more feeble onstage.
He was a virtual slave to the lyrics on his video monitor, his between-song comments were sometimes even more ludicrous than his lines on “The Osbournes,” and his stage moves have been reduced to exactly three tricks: spraying the people in the front rows with a high-powered water hose; repeatedly taking his microphone off its stand and then replacing it; and his trademark bunny hop, which this year only cleared about 6 inches.
Ozzy’s hotshot band, on the other hand — featuring extraordinary guitarist Zakk Wylde (whose band Black Label Society also played), former Infectious Grooves bassist Robert Trujillo, and former Faith No More drummer Mike Bordin — smoked loudly and proudly through a tight set featuring new and old Ozzy songs, plus lots of faves from the Black Sabbath catalog.
Ten or 15 years ago, the chance to see Ozzy play all the Sabbath classics would have been one worth taking, however, even these songs (“War Pigs,” “Paranoid,” etc.) are beginning to wear out their welcome in Ozzy’s tired hands. Maybe he could have been mistaken for the “Iron Man” in the past, but no more.
The future of OzzFest, which has been the most successful of the summer festival tours for the past few years, is undetermined, and this edition may well be the last.
However, with such promising recent OzzFest grads as the Apex Theory, Glassjaw, Otep and Mushroomhead all making their individual marks, the future of the genre appears in good hands.
Tommy Lee and his band replaced Drowning Pool on the bill, following the death last month of DP singer Dave Williams.