Sunday, July 29, 2012

Cinema of the Damned

Ozzy Osbourne – Speak of the Devil: Live From the Irvine Meadows ‘82

2012 – Eagle Rock Entertainment

Muthas, less than three months after the tragic death of guitar virtuoso Randy Rhoades, Ozzy Osbourne filmed a concert for a future broadcast on the fledgling MTV. Thirty years later this concert has finally gotten an official release on DVD after years of being only available as a crappy bootleg. As this concert was before the “Sharon Osbourne (aka Yoko Ono) fucking everything up with her soulless bullshit” days, it’s pure gold. Ozzy is in terrific voice here and his stage banter is kept to a bare minimum.  There is hardly an f-bomb to be heard in the entire set.  It’s refreshing to see a non-addled Ozzy owning the stage as a healthy, younger man.

Along for the ride with Ozzy are Rudy Sarzo on bass, Don Airey on keyboards, Tommy Aldridge on drums and Brad Gillis on guitar.  Brad had big shoes to fill; he pulls off Randy’s solos effortlessly and shreds like a maniac throughout the festivities. It’s sad that Gillis departed for Night Ranger shortly after this concert as it would have been cool to hear what he could have come up with on the next studio album.  Tommy Aldridge is his always excellent self, and Rudy Sarzo does his usual goofball bass antics.  Don Airey is up in the second floor(!) of the stage and is dressed in a hooded robe like a monk.  He adds all the proper keyboard textures and accompaniment without drenching the proceedings in poofery.  

It should be mentioned that even though this DVD is entitled Speak of the Devil, it has a completely different setlist from the album Speak of The Devil.  That was a quick live album of all Black Sabbath cuts hurriedly issued to compete with Sabbath’s 1982 live album Live Evil.  It also featured Brad Gillis on guitar so don’t be fooled into thinking the DVD is a companion to the live album of the same name. The setlist is your fairly standard early Ozzy affair, with all the hits from his first two solo albums. There are also three Black Sabbath cuts at the end of the concert – “Iron Man,” “Children of the Grave,” and “Paranoid.”  One superb track is the “Guitar/Drum Solo” which is a blistering instrumental affair with all the band members sans Ozzy.  It ends with Aldridge bashing his kit with his bare hands!  Now that’s Metal!  

The concert featured a massive two-level stage, pyro, lasers and even a dwarf named "Ronnie.”  Gosh, I wonder who that could have been referred to? Unbelievably, “Ronnie” hangs himself during “Goodbye To Romance” and can be seen swinging in the background from a noose!  You could do crazy shit like that in the 80s and nobody cared.

The video quality is decent but it must be remembered that this was shot on tape (not film), back in 1982, and as such is in no way hi-def.  If you are expecting some jump cut, multiple camera affair you are going to be sorely disappointed.  There are shots from the crowd and shots from the back of the stage, behind the band, as well as a few close-ups and longer shots, with a grand total of three cameras being used.  There are  zero extras on the DVD and an essay in the liner notes by Rudy Sarzo.

The Bottom Line:  If you want to see Ozzy in his prime and hear the guitar wizardry of Brad Gillis, you need this DVD.  It’s a little time capsule back to the days when MTV actually played music and a man could wear blue tights with a red studded belt.  Well, he could if that man was Ozzy

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