Long gone may be the days of Black Sabbath, but Ozzy Osbourne is still strutting his stuff, and strutting it well, to say the least. Bringing his "No More Tours 2" world tour to a jam-packed Xfinity Center in Mansfield last Thursday night (September 6), the Prince of Darkness showed that age is just a number; the 69-year old took the stage donning a purple sequin trench coat, greeting the crowd with the excitement and energy of a young child.
Front the moment Ozzy tore into his platinum-hit setlist, it was all aboard the crazy train, and coming along for the ride was Stone Sour -- of course, led by heir to the metal throne and Ozzy disciple, Corey Taylor.
Under the pavilion and away from the rain, Taylor and Co. proceeded to bring a storm of hard crunchy riffs and gravelly vocals that proved that they haven’t just flown on the coattails of Taylor’s meteoric success in the metal scene. Throughout their 10-song setlist, half of which was comprised of tunes off their critically-acclaimed 2017 album Hydrograd, the quintet delivered a scorching dish of melodic metal mish-mash that displayed not only a musical versatility we all knew Taylor and his cohorts were capable of, but it also showcased the lyrical vulnerability that has made the curly-haired frontman such a force to be reckoned with for more than two decades.
Aside from newer tracks like “Taipei Person/Allah Tea,” “Knievel Has Landed,” and “Whiplash Pants,” the band kept the emotion of older songs like “Through Glass,” “Bother,” and “Tired” intact, while balancing powerful and aggressive rock and roll with a light-hearted and active stage presence.
Taylor worked his magic, song after song, with his telltale screaming and growling vocals, while guitarists Christian Martucci and Josh Rand, whose pre-tour knee injury kept him restricted to a stool, joined forces with the raucous rhythm section of bassist Johnny Chow and drummer Roy Mayorga to create a cohesive rock show, which Taylor couldn’t help but attribute to the direction and attention he’d been given over the years by the man they all came to see. “That man and his family have given me so much, so give it up for Ozzy fuckin’ Osbourne,” Taylor said before counting into the band’s most recent smash radio hit, “Song #3”.
The approach to presenting a kick-ass set was brought full circle to end their time on stage, as the visual game was on point, as well. A fairly decent light show was accented nicely by a generous amount of pyrotechnic sparkboxes, and Taylor showed some initiative to keep things light, employing a confetti cannon, as well the visual excitement of what Family Guy fans may refer to as the “wacky wavy inflatable arm flailing tube man” to close their set with another new(ish) track, “Fabuless”.
By the time the lights had dimmed before Osbourne took the stage, the rain had retreated to a sprinkling mist. But once “the Boss” (as guitarist Zakk Wylde affectionately refers to him) appeared in the flesh following a career spanning video tribute on the big screen, it was as if he had made a deal with mother nature herself.
With the raising of his hands as he trotted out in that blinding purple jacket, the veritable ocean of crazed fans went berserk for the Ozzman and the troops of musical mayhem that followed him. As he lowered his hands in a sort of “hushing” fashion and uttered the phrase, “let the madness begin,” the rain stopped almost immediately -- then Ozzy proceeded to bring the rain himself.
With the help of the reacquainted Wylde alongside drummer Tommy Clufetos and bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson, Osbourne lived up to his own legacy (as if he really had to) by preparing a setlist of such epic proportions, that it seemed as if he had created a tribute to himself by the end of the night. Beginning the 15-song journey through the land of Oz with “Bark At The Moon,” it became clear very quickly why fans missed Zakk Wylde so much, in all of his kilted and Gimli-bearded glory; he’s freaking mind-blowing when he gets his hands on a guitar.
After belting out Randy Rhoads-era bangers “Mr. Crowley,” “I Don’t Know,” and “Suicide Solution,” as well as Sabbath classic “Fairies Wear Boots,” the godfather of heavy metal took a second to address the sorta-kinda elephant in the room. “There’s some confusion about me retiring, where some people are thinking that I’m not gonna tour anymore, and that I’m not making any more music,” Osbourne said, with a stammering pause. “That’s just a real big crock of shit. You people are my life!”
And he certainly showed that he meant that throughout the rest of the evening, giving it his all through each and every song.
Of course, his voice has seen better days, but for a nearly 70-year-old man who has burnt himself out, vocally, year after year for five decades (!!!), his voice was the best it has been in quite a long time. But, honestly, when you have thunder buddies Blasko and Clufetos, alongside Wylde, who certainly had the spirits of his idol “St. Rhoads” (another Zakk-ism), as well Tony Iommi on the wing, there’s no need to push it. But Osbourne insisted on making his last full world trek worth it, for both him and those in attendance.
Keeping the flow nice and heavy, Osbourne continued to steam-roll through the docket with a blistering rendition of “Road to Nowhere,” before turning up the heat even higher, with the help of Wylde’s guitar wizardry on “War Pigs.” Letting the Sabbath classic sizzle for awhile, Wylde brought his signature Warhammer guitar into the crowd and proceeded to unravel a seven-minute guitar solo that bled into a medley of “Miracle Man,” “Crazy Babies,” “Desire,” and “Perry Mason”. The sheer power Wylde exhibited while headbanging amidst the monsoon of fans that had huddled around him was jaw-dropping, but Clufetos gave Wylde some decent competition.
Osbourne had a chance to catch his breath while the drummer fed off the cheers from the crowd and smashed the skins for a few minutes, going ham on the kit like Animal from The Muppets -- minus the smoldering drum set, unfortunately. But before Clufetos had a chance to tear holes through his snare head, Osbourne returned to deliver an energetic trio of bangers to finish the first part of his dwindling set.
Following “I Don’t Want To Change The World,” which had virtually the whole venue jumping around, and “Shot In The Dark,” the set came to a rousing end with none other than “Crazy Train.”
After yet another face-melting guitar solo from Wylde, the lights dimmed for a few seconds, but Osbourne didn’t even leave the stage. In fact, he started his own chant of “ONE. MORE. SONG” before Wylde chimed in with the opening riff of “Mama, I’m Coming Home”. With one more left in him, Osbourne chose wisely, as the frantic power chords of “Paranoid” rang out to send everyone into that good night.
But before he said goodbye, Osbourne fell to his knees and bowed to the crowd, and a spirited “Thank you! God bless you! We love you aaaaaaalllll” made it through his microphone. In addition to his vocals coming back to a respectable level, and his relentless energy, Osbourne didn’t let the crowd forget, for one minute, how much he appreciated them. If this is, in fact, his final globe trot, The Great and Powerful Ozz gave nothing short of 100 percent of himself in Mansfield, and, in turn, further cemented his legacy as the brightest beam of darkness in rock and roll.
Stone Sour photos below by Jason Greenough; follow him on Twitter @DadBodVanilla.