WATCH: Ozzy Osbourne Is Obviously Not a Fan of Auto-Tune

Thoughts from Saturday’s Black Sabbath show.

On Saturday night, aging but still devilish heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath descended upon (or, perhaps more accurately, ascended to) Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center with their particular brand of evil sounds.

Lead singer Ozzy Osbourne was joined by his co-founding bandmates Tony Iommi (guitar) and Geezer Butler (bass), as well as thousands of their fans, young and old, though mostly on the AARP end of the spectrum or approaching it.

Once I managed to sit through the abominable opener, Andrew W.K., and also come to terms with the fact that the lead singer of the band I was there to see can’t hold a tune, I had a pretty terrific time.

Below, some thoughts from the evening.

1. Ozzy Osbourne cannot sing. Not even a little bit.

I’m not sure if the 64-year-old frontman was ever able to sing, but if he once had any vocal talent whatsoever, it is gone. If you don’t believe me, just watch my video from last night of the band performing their 1970 song “War Pigs”, easily my favorite of their compositions. Osbourne’s vocals enter at 1:10, and they don’t get any better from there. Clearly, none of Black Sabbath’s fans care about this little detail.

2. Long live the drum solo.

I don’t remember the last time I saw a good rock drum solo prior to the Sabbath show. Drummer Tommy Clufetos (he’s taken over for original drummer Bill Ward, whom Ozzy said is too fat to tour) is a maniac, and he performed a maniacal drum solo, which a fan was kind enough to catch on video. The ridiculous thing starts at around 1:00. Turn up your speakers and watch. It’s so, so good.

3. It turns out Black Sabbath performed at Live Aid.

I thought I knew all of the performances from the 1985 Live Aid concert, at least the portion that took place at JFK stadium in Philadelphia. So when I heard a guy in the Wells Fargo Center bathroom bragging that he had seen Ozzy and company at Live Aid, I thought he was B.S.’ing. But he wasn’t. Black Sabbath — with Osbourne at the microphone — did a three-song set at Live Aid, and fortunately it wasn’t longer. Somehow, Sabbath sounds better nearly 30 years later, in spite of Ozzy’s pitiful voice.

4. Ozzy Osbourne still throws buckets of water on people.

To the artists who complain about looking out into an audience and seeing a bunch of cell phones pointed at them, do what Osbourne does: throw buckets of water on everyone. Classic.

5. Black Sabbath wrote some of the best heavy metal songs ever.
And seeing them performed live by the men who conceived them, supported and energized by Clufetos’ insane talent, is something that shouldn’t be missed by any true metal fan. So if you’re reading this in any of the towns left on the tour, which wraps up on September 3rd in Los Angeles, you seriously need to buy your tickets now. And for any Philadelphia-based heavy metal fans looking to continue the madness, go see Serpent Throne at Johnny Brenda’s on Monday night. (Earplugs are available for sale at the bar, don’t worry.)

6. Andrew W.K. truly was the worst opener imaginable.

Apparently, Andrew W.K. is a talented pianist and producer, and he recently earned the world record for the longest continuous drumming session ever, at 24 hours. But all he did at the Sabbath show, which he opened, was play a bunch of digital music files while air-drumming and air-guitaring. So, so lame, and I wasn’t the only one who thought so:

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  • filmrecords

    I was there too. The DJ guy was the worst excuse for an opener EVER. Yes, sad that Ozzy could not hold pitch. He was like 2 whole steps off on most songs, which I would think was very hard to do if you WANTED to. I am at a loss as to wtf is up with that. Otherwise, Geezer and Tony were great, and the drummer did OK. Ozzy is still funny as hell with the crowd. Glad I went. Ozzy really does need to be autotuned! He didn’t miss a lyric or phasing.

    • filmrecords

      Really missed Bill Ward too.

  • Eric Levy

    Who gives a rat’s ass what you think about his vox!

  • Truxkman

    I was there and thought Ozzy did great. The only songs that he had a noticeable issue with were snowblind (a very hard song for just about any singer) and certain high notes in children of the grave. The only way anyone would have any substantial criticism of Ozzy’s performance is if they were looking and focussing in on critiquing him.

    The concert was great and if anyone didn’t like it then they really only have themselves to blame for it because Sabbath (every member) did awesome.

    • vfiorillo

      Maybe we were at a different concert. Ozzy was off more than he was on. Look at the various videos out there. That said, I had a great time at the show.

    • filmrecords

      I have been a Sabbath fan since 1979, and I’m not going out of my way to criticize, but he was 2 WHOLE STEPS FLAT on 1/2 of the songs. There are youtube videos from a few weeks earlier where he’s spot on for every song. It was still great to see him, but he was having some problems there. Denying this is admitting to being tone deaf.

  • Trina K McCallum

    Andrew W.K. is dead. He is longer considered a musician but a Iranian Man Whore. Look at his wife Cherie, both of them should be hanged or at least chased off. All of this stuff he is doing is for Cherie Lily will have more and more money for her to spend. He is a sellout, and fuck you if you disagree.

    • Guest

      Trina – Looking through your comments on Disqus, and on Andrew’s Facebook page, it’s obvious that you’re mentally ill and harboring an unhealthy obsession with Andrew. Please, for your sake and Andrew’s, seek help.

      • Trina K McCallum

        What does that make you mentally sane. You know for Andrew’s Fan. your giving yourself a bad name by judging other people. You don’t fucking know me, Shrimpy McFatten. I think you are the ONE who is obviously obsessed with Andrew. The thought of him makes me sick to my stomach and to think a person like you defending him is sad and very pathetic. Andrew is a grown person, or a grown boy. He can learn how to defend himself. As for you Shrimpy McFattasshole. You have very bad taste in music and to listen Andrew’s songs is a huge mistake. Ozzy rules and Andrew doesn’t. There I said it. Have a very nice fucking day.

        • Guest

          You’re angry and cursing, when there’s no need for it. Why are you so angry? What are you accomplishing? Please, get help. You’re obviously a sick woman.

          I don’t know you, but I know that you are deluded and believe that somehow Andrew’s wife is blocking you from getting to Andrew. That’s the sort of thing that people with paranoid psychotic conditions would believe.

          If you get the help you need, you’ll see that your anger here is the direct result of illness and paranoia.

          I’m not arguing with you. You’re making me sad. I’m sure you’re a good person. You’re just sick. PLEASE GET HELP!!!

          • Trina K McCallum

            You really need to get your fucking head out of your ass. You can’t tell me what to do. And besides how much did Cherie pay you $5,000 to reply back to me. Did you fuck her as well. I swear to god, every time I hear AWK’s music or Yoga Freak. It sounds like a cat is being ripped apart.If I am making you so sad, then cry me a river and hopefully you can go to that river and drown. To include, you need more help then I do. It’s obvious your very self righteous and so perfect. You ‘think’ you have the fucking right to judge me. If you think you do, maybe I can call you ‘MOM’. So, what MOM what do you want me to do? I am angry, I am hear to respond in my own opinion and from what ‘YOU’ think MOM. You should learn how to shut your hole and know what’s good for you. I have a life and I am happy with my life along with the people who I grew up to love but you have to make it worse by saying, I need Help. I think you need help by living your life. Stupid Ass! I don’t give a flying fuck for Andrew or his man dog wife, Cherie. It’s obvious, both of those wanna-bes are a waste of musical talent! If you think you are so righteous, then leave me alone! I already have enough problems to hear anyone like ‘you’ is making my day worse. Just walk away, if you know whats’ good for you! WALK AWAY SHRIMPY.

          • Guest

            Why are you so violent and angry over a rock singer? Why are you so jealous of his wife?

            I hope for the sake of your children that you get the help you obviously need. You’re a sick and deluded woman.

  • Johnny

    A Heavy Metal Concert – with this magnitude – and everybody in their seats? I had to stay seated during the entire concert because of the rules of that fancy place. Mayhem Fest, in Camden’s Susquehanna Bank Center was the same. Rock concerts with seats! It’s a joke, really.

    About the concert, I don’t care about his voice, it’s Ozzy! It’s Black Sabbath! Toni and Geezer were great, the drummer it’s very good, I saw him playing with Ozzy in others opportunities – same solo, has a good technique and training, but he’s not Bill Ward.

  • Alex DiVincenzo

    Hi Victor. I thought you might like to read this response I wrote to your article – in particular, about Andrew W.K. being the worst opener imaginable. I respectfully disagree.

    http://www.absolutepunk.net/journal.php?do=showentry&e=371041

  • babadax

    Ok Victor I see why you critique Ozzy so harshly. It’s because your an angry little man with a keyboard. I also see why my other comment won’t make on here. it’s because you wouldn’t want any bad reviews of yourself and only you get to do that of others.