25 March 2008

The Prince of Parody

"The first thought was 'how did he find the stage'? Presumably Sharon, his wife, helped him with this task...He was actually remembering the words to all his songs without any assistance"

Recently the phone rang at work. Nothing unusual about that really, except for once it was not work related. On the other side of the line (presumably cordless given today's technology) was one of my rock buddies. My buddy was able to get free tickets to the Ozzy Osbourne concert for the following Tuesday. 'Did I want to go?' was the question asked of me. Within a split second the answer was 'yes'.

Now I am not an Ozzy fan but I did know some of his songs from the early eighties. If I had said no then the option was 'Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares' on television (thankfully Gordon hasn't seen me in the kitchen lately as he might have real nightmares!). Given that I was going to hear the 'F' word repeated frequently from Messrs Ramsay and Osbourne I thought it would be better to hear it live rather than in between loads of advertisements on good ol' Channel 9.

Now Ozzy is the self confessed 'Prince of Darkness'. He even bit the head off a bat many moons and drug trips ago. Would he still have this persona? Would he be able to remember the words to the songs? and more importantly would he be able to find his way to the Acer Arena for the show?

I have to admit that I found 'The Osbournes' to be one of the funniest reality shows of all time. It was hilarious to see this rock Goliath stumble and mumble his way throughout the series. Mind you, I thought that 'Stan' by Eminem was a comedy song when I first heard it as I couldn't take it seriously! Whatever you think about Ozzy as a reality television star, the point remains that it re-ignited his career with a more youthful audience.

So onto the show. We got there just as the support act was finishing. By the sound of them I hadn't missed too much. The first thing I noticed was the age of the fans. It seemed to range from 65 down to 9 years old. I even had a family with their pre-teen son and daughter sitting next to me. Presumably the children had been inoculated against the 'F' word and had done their school homework already. The other noticeable thing was the type of fan. There were loads of rockers, a few bikies, goths and even a few punks. To this day I am not sure of the appeal of Ozzy to the punk brethren but there you go.

The arena went dark. On the big screen were a number of scenes from television shows and films. Ozzy appeared in all of them by acting out many sexual innuendos from shows like 'The Sopranos' and films such as 'Pirates of the Caribbean'. I felt that the family's children next to me were getting a school lesson that was normally reserved for adults! The screen went blank, the curtain fell and there in front of us was an ageing 59 year old dressed in black with the making of a good shaped beer gut!

The first thought was 'how did he find the stage'? Presumably Sharon, his wife, helped him with this task. Ozzy shuffled to the mic and echoed the 'F' word! We knew then that the show was going to be good. The backing band were superb and the lead guitar work of Zakk Wylde was awesome. I had wanted to see Zakk for a while and he didn't disappoint. Mind you, he looks like a mountain man who spends too much time hunting bear in the Adirondacks though!

The next amazing thing was that Ozzy didn't have an autocue. He was actually remembering the words to all his songs without any assistance. This was very impressive. In fact, this could be the next wonder of the world! For some reason Ozzy had a fetish for water. Every few minutes he would potter to the side of the stage and throw water over the front of the crowd. Not sure that this qualified for an activity worthy of the 'Prince of Darkness' but possibly the 'Prince of Parody'.

I couldn't take Ozzy seriously and things got even more funny when Ozzy tried to jump up in the air. For some reason the legs would not leave the stage! In the end Ozzy just tightly gripped the mic stand and imitated jumping.

To be fair to Ozzy, he gave a great show and tried his hardest to get the fans involved in between the buckets of water and the 'F' word. He sang a couple of Black Sabbath songs with the encore of 'Paranoid' being the best song of the night. The group were superb and Zakk shone bright on the night. So the 'Prince of Parody' came and went and not one bat was glimpsed, or indeed harmed the whole night.

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