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Concert Reviews:
Ozzy Osbourne hears them "Scream" at the Palace

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, February 13, 2011

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AUBURN HILLS -- In recent years, Ozzy Osbourne has been so successful in other endeavors -- best-selling autobiographer, newspaper health columnist, celebrity ad pitchman and, of course, reality TV star -- that they've eclipsed his initial, and enduring, claim to fame of music.

But on Saturday night (Feb. 12) at The Palace, reminded fans of that with a 13-song, 100-minute show that surveyed his 40-plus years of rock 'n' rolling with a jovial, vaudevillian spirit even as he was singing songs about war, depression and paranoia.

The 62-year-old British-born singer's voice is still a proverbial shadow of its former self (though it got stronger as the show wore on), but Osbourne has figured out how to mitigate that shortcoming. For starters, he's still...well, Ozzy, the iconic, much-loved Prince of F-ing Darkness whose mere presence satisfies the faithful enough to forgive any shortcomings. He also brings with him a solid group of songs, all singalong favorites from the hard rock/heavy metal world and played by a crack band -- this time including new guitarist Gus G and Detroit-born drummer Tommy Clufetos, a Rochester Adams High School alum -- whose fierce, exuberant attack makes Osbourne sound that much better.

So while finding the perfect notes on "Bark at the Moon," "Let Me Hear You Scream" and "Mr. Crowley" was a bit happenstance, Osbourne and company still entertained with everything from well-placed pyrotechnics to a hilarious, show-opening video montage that placed him, luridly and profanely, in clips from "Avatar," "Jersey Shore," "Iron Man 2" and others. Osbourne also repeatedly doused his head in a bucket of water and sprayed the crowd, several security guards in the pit and himself with a large foam gun.

The material, meanwhile, kept everyone engaged, whether it was Black Sabbath hits such as "Fairies Wear Boots" and "War Pigs" or Osbourne solo successes like "I Don't Know," "Suicide Solution" and "Road to Nowhere." Gus G and Clufetos solos after "Bark at the Moon," meanwhile, gave Osbourne a 13-minute break, which allowed him to come back strong with "Crazy Train," "Mama I'm Coming Home" and Sabbath's "Iron Man" and "Paranoid." He only delivered his trademark salutation, "I love you all," a couple of times, but Osbourne could rest assured that all of those at the Palace loved him just as much.

Saturday's opener, former Guns N' Roses member Slash and his band, had more folks in their seats than usual for the support act, and with good reason. No dummy he, the guitar hero took the stage 10 minutes early to play for a full hour, and while he did due diligence to his 2010 solo album "Slash" and his post-Guns bands Slash's Snakepit and Velvet Revolver, he offered a generous selection of GNR material -- all from the 1987 smash "Appetite For Destruction" album -- including "Nightrain," "Mr. Brownstone," "Rocket Queen," "Sweet Child O' Mine" and "Paradise City," all capably sung by Myles Kennedy, moonlighting from his regular gig with Alter Bridge.

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