The first all-new studio album in six years, the first London show for even longer after the 2003 and rescheduled 2004 tours were cancelled, and the first double-header with guitarist Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society
to hit the UK. 2007 is a big deal for Ozzy Osbourne fans, who travelled from far and wide to see him take on Wembley Arena. They were treated to a first class run-through of a tired setlist and terrible sound for the Black Label set, but they all left happy.
The night didn’t start well. The fans that were there early queued in the rain for the race to the front row, and those that weren’t there early were forced to miss Black Label Society. With doors opening at 7:30pm and BLS taking the stage at 7:50pm, many fans in the queue missed the start of their set and those that arrived after the doors opened missed even more. I finally took my seat with four songs left of Zakk and company’s set, thoroughly angry at the unnecessary timings, but was relieved to discover that the sound was atrocious, so I’d not missed out on much. Zakk’s vocals cut through OK, but the rest was a messy wall of sound with the clarity of an angry drunk reading a Chaucer poem. The four songs I did catch (Fire Me Up, Black Mass Reverends, Concrete Jungle
) indicated a terribly predictable set that continued, as on the 2005 European tour, to ignore the early albums and focus on the much more main-stream, Ozzyfied metal of Mafia, The Blessed Hellride
and recycled new album Shot To Hell
Just ten minutes after BLS finished an announcement was made that Ozzy would be on in 15 minutes. And right on time he was too. Obviously gunning for an early finish he barely even wasted time with an encore gap as he strolled through all the big hits from his solo career and a couple of Black Sabbath numbers looking in better shape than he has for the past couple of years.
An indication of the level of fans in the building came with the piercing screams and enormous cheers which greeted tracks like Crazy Train
, Iron Man
and unbelievably Paranoid
. Those fans of Ozzy who know a little more of the back catalogue were rightly disappointed at the inclusion of these songs, crazing more of the new album and a few surprises. However, Ozzy went for the greatest hits set, with only one different track (Road To Nowhere
, requested by his grandchildren, who’s names he couldn’t remember) slotted in early on.