What's a rock & roll Prince of Darkness to do in the midst of becoming America's favorite television family man? He journeys to the sacrosanct Budokan arena in Tokyo and cuts a live one. On Live at Budokan, Ozzy lumbers through thirteen tracks, including big crowd pleasers such as "Mr. Crowley," the great "Crazy Train" and the Black Sabbath chestnut "Paranoid." Between songs, he slurs commands to the audience and gets it shouting back the refrains. Ozzy sings his post-Eighties material -- "No More Tears," "Gets Me Through," "I Don't Want to Change the World" -- with abandon, his guitar foil Zakk Wylde propping him up with screaming, dense solos when the old man's voice hits a sour note. But after months of bumbling around the house on national TV, cursing with his wife and children and cleaning up doggy poop, Ozzy is no longer convincing when he's barking at the moon. Live at Budokan may be his best performance set since 1987's Tribute -- a sterling collection featuring the late Randy Rhoads' fiery guitar -- but by now the Prince of Darkness has fully metamorphosed into the Court Jester. Here, Ozzy is at his most credible crooning "Mama, I'm Coming Home."
(RS 902 - August 8, 2002)
(Posted: Jul 16, 2002)