Even Ozzy Osbourne's most diehard fans know you have to rate one of his concerts — even the somewhat abbreviated one he performed last night in front of a three-quarters full Quicken Loans Arena — on a a curve. It's common knowledge that hard living and advanced age have cut into both Osbourne's vocal range and stage mobility. The straining and lurching are part of the charm of a late-era Ozzy show.
After kicking off the show with a blistering "Bark at the Moon," Osbourne wasted no time informing the audience that his doctor wanted him to cancel the show because of an ear infection. "I told him, Kiss my ass!" was Ozzy's reply.
A few minutes later, during an impressive "Mr. Crowley," Osbourne broke out a fire hose filled with some kind of soapy foam, doused the crowd, then pointed it at his own head at point-blank range. Ear problems, huh? Can't imagine why ...
Still, Osbourne sounded stronger than he has in recent years throughout his set — perhaps he was energized by a new band led by his latest hotshot guitarist Gus G, who faithfully recreated all of Black Sabbath's riffs and leads and still injected his own personality into them.
The only complaint: Most cities have been getting two and a half hour shows. Last night's set ran about 100 minutes. Hopefully Osbourne will return in the summer with a full concert. —Matthew Wilkening