I had been a fan of Ozzy and Sabbath for a long time, and even though he hadn’t put out a decent record since Randy Rhoads flew upside down into a ploughed field, he was still supposed to be one of the best live acts on the circuit. No Rest For The Wicked was the album he was pushing in 1989, and I can’t name a single track off it. 99% of the people in the Hammy O were there to hear Sabbath classics and early Ozzy though.
Firstly, there were two support acts to see. Slammer were a young British band, fairly thrashy as I remember, and championed by Tommy Vance. They had cool shirts for sale, but I don’t recall a great deal other than that.
Now, U.D.O. was Udo Dirkschneider’s post-Accept band – ‘Fast As A Shark’ was one of the first metal songs I heard so I was realy hoping that he would play it. The rest was fairly forgettable, with the exception of the one U.D.O. track I knew ‘They Want War’ (courtesy of, who else, Tommy Vance). Short fat German skinheads shouldn’t do metal, in my opinion.
Ozzy came on to rapturous applause, he was going through his white spangly kimono phase, and was pretty tubby in those days too. Not a rock god to look at, but he is one of the best live singers I’ve seen before or since. Nobody puts more energy into a performance, it’s a wonder a lardy bloater such as he was then could get through a 90 minute gig. Blizzard and Bark At The Moon were well represented, and a couple off Ultimate Sin, but it really was the Sabbath stuff we were there to see. Paranoid was the highlight, and he did a pretty good version of War Pigs too. Zakk Wylde was playing guitar for him in those days – he totally looked the part, long blonde hair, bare-chested, bell-bottoms and toting a black and white spiral patterned Les Paul. Far too much down-on-one-knee soloing histrionics, but he was exceedingly talented, it had to be said.
Randy Castillo subjected me to the most preposterous drum solo I’ve ever seen – his drum cage either span round or totally turned upside down with him strapped in, I don’t actually remember. After having bashed the shit out of all the drums within his reach, he proceeded to come round the front and flay the row of drum pads fixed to the outside of the cage, with his hair. The ponce. Geezer Butler on bass and John Sinclair on keyboards made this a passable imitation of a super-group. Geezer is one of the unsung heroes of metal (er, bassists generally are) but he was pretty low in the mix, certainly from where I was stood (row W upstairs) so he could have been any old bassist as far as I was concerned. Overall an awesome gig.