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Saturday, October 20, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Concert Review

Ozzy Osbourne | Physically slower, vocally unstoppable

Seattle Times music critic

Information

To hear Ozzy Osbourne online, go to www.myspace.com/ozzyosbourne.

Halloween came early for the packed-to-the-rafters crowd at Ozzy Osbourne's show last night at KeyArena. Many came to the crazy, wild and bone-rattlingly loud party in pasty ghoulish makeup, witchy-woman weeds, skeletal masks, black T-shirts or hoodies with skull and crossbones, and other scary getups.

Ozzy looked a little silly wearing a big thick wig that might've been snatched off Tina Turner's head, and he moved a little hesitantly now and then, but the old boy delivered big time. No fan could have left unsatisfied, as Ozzy and his band played a long, hit-studded show that got everybody involved.

"I love you all!" Ozzy yelled repeatedly, when he wasn't complaining that we weren't freaking loud enough. "I can't hear you!" he kept saying. And the crowd just got louder. By the end, the roar was deafening.

Ozzy has a special place in Seattle rock history because of the nexus between Black Sabbath, his legendary band, and punk-rock, which gave rise to grunge. Ozzy is revered here, and he knows it, which may be why he did an extra-long set. He often closes with "Mama, I'm Coming Home," but last night did three more songs after that, ending at around 11:30 p.m., 30 minutes past KeyArena's usual rock-concert curfew.

He played Sabbath songs; several cuts from his outstanding new album, "Black Rain"; and classics from his solo career. Every song was highlighted by the speedy, intricate, muscular guitar work of Zakk Wylde, who roamed the stage in clodhopper boots, leather kilt and motorcycle jacket, his enormous thatch of blond hair and long, ponytailed beard flying as he bobbed his head to the beat.

The crowd loved Wylde almost as much as Ozzy, especially when he fell, or collapsed from exhaustion, and just kept playing on the floor, as two roadies (in matching leather kilts) hovered over him looking concerned. When he leaped up, the place went nuts.

Ozzy's staging was fairly plain, except for some video screens, occasional pillars of fire and loud colorful pyro at the end.

Opener Rob Zombie, by contrast, had a stageful of huge monster-faced props, plenty of visuals on several screens and lots of stage business. He and his band were even more Halloween-like, all with painted faces and stringy, ratted hair. Even the go-go girls had skeletal makeup.

Zombie's grinding, stomping music was like a well-oiled machine moving at breakneck speed, energizing the crowd so that they were primed when Ozzy and crew took the stage.

After that helluva show, Halloween is going to seem anticlimactic.

Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or pmacdonald@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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