September 10, 2018 Ozzy Osbourne A Celebration of Rock Jones Beach, NY 9-8-18 w/ Stone Sour
The 2018 concert season at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater, in Wantagh, New York, has seen, unquestionably, one of the best summer lineups for Rock and Metal music in recent memory. Over the course of three months, some true VIP’s have graced the Jones Beach stage. From Lynyrd Skynyrd to Poison, Weezer to Slayer, Godsmack/Shinedown, and Judas Priest/Deep Purple, Long Island fans would agree, this was the summer of summers, as the biggest tours of the year rolled into the scenic venue.
That said, with one last Rock show to go, only one man could headline such a rocking concert season, and, on the chilly, rainy Saturday night of September 8, 2018, the Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy Osbourne, was slated to bite the head off Jones Beach. Celebrating five decades of beloved madness, back in early February, Ozzy announced his proclamation to retire, not from music altogether, but from prolonged touring. For long-time Ozzy fans, if you feel a little deja vu, you are not alone, as this is not the first time Ozzy has decided to call it quits.
After an influential decade forging Heavy Metal in the ’70s with Black Sabbath, then riding a blizzard of solo hits in the ’80s, Ozzy embarked on the original No More Tours tour in 1992. Missing the life he left behind, Ozzy re-emerged a few years later with a killer new album, 1995’s Ozzmosis, and hit the road on the aptly titled, Retirement Sucks Tour. Back in the saddle, Ozzy founded and performed on his own festival, Ozzfest, for a number of years, and continued to release new albums like 2001’s Down to Earth and 2010’s Scream. Looking to go out on top, the sequel, No More Tours 2, will usher Ozzy around the globe, and, in North America, the insanity would begin in Allentown, Pennsylvania on August 30th. Proudly coming along as direct support to Ozzy would be a top act of Modern Metal, Stone Sour.
As the weekend arrived, summer may not have been in the air, but big-league Rock vibes were in full force at the Jones Beach like a scene from the 1986 Documentary, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, overrun by masses of animated Heavy Metal fans, blaring music and getting pumped for showtime.
Speaking of showtime, droves of fans headed into the venue around 7:30 PM, not wanting to miss a moment of Alternative Metal champs Stone Sour. A critically acclaimed act, Stone Sour features Slipknot leader, Vocalist/Guitarist Corey Taylor, Guitarist Josh Rand, Drummer Roy Mayorga, Bassist Johny Chow, and Guitarist Christian Martucci. Named after an alcoholic cocktail, Stone Sour was actually started by Taylor before his time with Slipknot. However, Stone Sour was put on the back burner in 1997, leaving the front-man time to focus his efforts on Slipknot. An instantaneous win, Stone Sour immediately struck gold with their self-titled debut album along with the hit single “Bother.” Now a Grammy nominated band, Stone Sour released the sophomore LP Come What(ever) in 2006, scoring another huge single in the ballad “Through Glass.”
Taking over the Jones Beach stage, Stone Sour was welcomed by deserving cheers from the audience, who were not bothered by the rain, they just wanted to rock. Giving the people what they want, Stone Sour kicked-off a blazing set via “Tapai Person/Allah Tea,” off 2017’s Hydrograd. Bringing forcible, violent melodies, Stone Sour proceeded to grind the craniums of fans in attendance with performances of “Do Me a Favor,” “Knievel Has Landed,” and “Absolute Zero.”
Often times unhinged, Taylor showed his somber side, performing “Bother” alone, just Taylor and his guitar. At one point, Taylor acknowledged the resilience of Rand who, due to having a knee injury, was sitting the entire set with no intention of missing this huge tour. As “Song #3” portrayed what two souls can do for each other, Taylor poured his heart into an emotional performance of “Through Glass” before Stone Sour closed with “Fabuless.” Following a rocking set, Taylor praised Ozzy, asking the crowd to applaud the Ozzman for being the reason Stone Sour and Slipknot exist. As expected, the grateful crowd obliged via a send off of enthusiastic cheers. Needless to say, if you plan on attending No More Tours 2, Stone Sour is a must see.
As the night settled in on Jones Beach, a near capacity crowd of veteran and first time Ozzy Osbourne concert goers filled the theater, all systems go for what was expected to be a real special Rock show. As the house lights went out, the excitement was on another level, as Ozzy’s video package intro’d the event. The Ozzman cometh, as most bands hit the stage and dive right into the first song, John Michael Osbourne does things differently, simply walking out and asking Long Island if they are ready to go crazy.
Throughout Ozzy’s solo career, the supreme frontman has always surrounded himself with Grade-A musicians, and this last ride was no different. The back-bone to Ozzy’s set consists of his longtime friend, the incomparable shredder, Zakk Wylde, Drummer Tommy Clufetos, Keyboardist Adam Wakeman, and Bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson. Appearing before his followers, Ozzy was blessed by a deafening ovation from his devoted New York fans. Ready to go, Ozzy spoke those magical words, “Let the madness begin!” and the band blasted into the howling 1983 terror “Bark at the Moon.” If there is one thing many Ozzy fans question, it is could the 69 year-old Ozzy’s voice hold up for the duration of the tour? Well, after just one song, Ozzy’s vocals sounded strong and his energy level the best in years.
Channelling the supernatural, Ozzy and company elated the crowd on “Mr. Crowley,” introducing the first of many laser light shows that would illuminate Jones Beach all night. All systems go, Ozzy had everyone singing along to the Blizzard of Ozz classic “I Don’t Know” and dug deep into Black Sabbath for the riveting “Fairies Wear Boots.” Calling on the spirit of Randy Rhoads, Wylde gave his all on guitar, as Ozzy eclipsed into “Suicide Solution,” begged for “No More Tears,” and led Long Island down the “Road to Nowhere.” Reaping one of the loudest receptions of the show, for Black Sabbath’s “Warpigs,” Ozzy and his band pulled out all the stops, with the fans singing along, Wylde performed a spaced-out, extended guitar solo in the crowd which led to snippets of “Miracle Man,” “Crazy Babies,” “Desire,” and “Perry Mason.”
One thing old-school Rock shows are known for is drum solos and this night was no exception. Giving the rest of the band a break, Clufetos gifted Jones Beach with a hard-hitting, nostalgic, 80’s style drum solo, showing off his incredible percussive skill-set. Back on stage, Ozzy anointed all via crowd favorites, “I Don’t Want to Change the World” and “Shot in the Dark.” Then, Ozzy stated he was going to play one more song, but would play more if everyone went wild. Naturally, the Long Island fan base did not let Ozzy down. All-aboard, Ozzy thrilled the crowd, celebrating a storied career with “Crazy Train.” For the grand finale, Ozzy kept his promise, first on a moving performance of “Mama, I’m Coming Home” and then “Paranoid” drew the show to an electrifying close. Always showing his gratitude, Ozzy thanked Long Island and waved good-bye, maybe for his final Jones Beach performance.
In our current state of music, there are those who think they are rockstars and then there are just a few artists who actually embody every ounce of the term. Ozzy Osbourne is the latter. To his critics, on this stage, on this night, Ozzy was in true form, sounding perfect all the way through the final note, and his spirit never wavered. For die-hard fans of Ozzy Osbourne, if this is truly the final tour, do not miss your chance to catch a legend at his best.
Feature photo credit: Mark Weiss