Ozzy Osbourne – Blizzard of Ozz: 9/11-12/1981

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I decided to put both of these stubs into one post, mainly because the distinction between the two shows is not that clear for me. But the overall experience is still vivid.

I went both nights with my friend Jim. I was pretty psyched. I’d always loved Black Sabbath and now Ozzy was back with a hot young guitarist, Randy Rhoads. The Blizzard of Ozz tour was Ozzy’s first solo tour since leaving Black Sabbath, and they also had a great up-and-coming opening act: Def Leppard. So for less than $10 a ticket, I was definitely going to catch both nights.

Def Leppard was great as an opener. They were young and energetic, and this was pre-Pyromania so they had not started down the mainstream road yet.

Ozzy was incredible! The first night we stayed in our seats, but the second night we went up front along with all the head-banging crazies. And Randy Rhoads was mind-blowing on the guitar. I remember leaving the concert, ears ringing, and thinking that they were as good if not better than when I had seen Black Sabbath.

Unfortunately, Randy Rhoads would die tragically way too soon.

Thanks to Wikipedia, I was able to get the setlist from this show. It was the same both nights, but that was not a problem. Hell, I’d pay to see the same set again today. Anyway, here’s the setlist.

“O Fortuna” (Carl Orff – Audio Introduction)

  1. “I Don’t Know”
  2. “Crazy Train”
  3. “Believer”
  4. “Mr. Crowley”
  5. “Flying High Again”
  6. “Revelation Mother Earth”
  7. “Steal Away the Night”
  8. “Tommy Aldridge drum solo”
  9. “No Bone Movies”
  10. “Suicide Solution” [+ “Randy Rhoads guitar solo”]
  11. “Iron Man”
  12. “Children of the Grave”
  13. “Paranoid”  [Encore]

Black Sabbath and Van Halen: 11/5/1978

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Since this concert was back in the 70’s, the details have become a little foggy. What I remember the most about this was the sheer excitement of seeing Black Sabbath in concert. I remember going to a yard sale with my mom as a young kid and looking through a bin of albums, then discovering Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid,” which I bought for a quarter and wore out on my turntable. I would sit with the album cover opened, staring at the black and white photo of the band inside, and thinking how cool they were. So getting to see Sabbath, as a young teenager, was a big deal for me.

Van Halen was the opening act. I would see Van Halen other times afterwards, and they were never as good as this time. I remember being impressed with their energy on stage. They were young, hot, and bursting with rock and roll vibrancy.

As far as Sabbath goes, I recall the eerie effects of the stage bathed in rich hues of lighting. I remember Ozzy, summoning the crowd with his vocals while Tony Iommi unleashed thunderous sounds on his SG. I also, sadly, remember someone falling from the rafters. At the Sporto, people would climb across the metal beams on the ceiling to attempt to get a better view. One unfortunate soul lost his grip that night.

I wish I could recall more details, but alas, all I have is the ticket stub and the deep feeling that I had a really great time at this concert. And hey, music is all about the feeling, right?

Rock on!

REO Speedwagon, Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, and The Godz: 6/10/1978

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This is one of my earliest ticket stubs, possibly my oldest. I was very young when I went to this show and it was pretty crazy.

My mom drove my friends and me to the Suffolk Forum in Commack, Long Island, NY. We got there early and waited in line since it was general admission. I was with two of my friends: Tommy and Schnook. We went in and found seats in the stands for the first act, The Godz.

The Godz may be the archetype for bad 70’s hard rock. Years later, when I saw the film “This is Spinal Tap,” the mock metal band featured in the film reminded me of The Godz. They were so bad and so cheesy that they were actually good, if that makes any sense. I still have a vinyl copy of The Godz’s album, if you can believe that.

Next up was Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow. This was actually the band I was interested in seeing and the reason I went to this concert. At a young age, I was a big Deep Purple fan, so seeing the legendary guitarist’s new band was huge for me. At this time, Ronnie James Dio was the lead singer for Rainbow. Dio later went on to sing with Black Sabbath and after that he had a successful solo career.

My friends and I decided to go down onto the floor for Rainbow. It was insane, but we managed to get fairly close to the stage. Toward the middle of the set, Ritchie Blackmore took hold of the body of his Stratocaster and started smashing the neck of the guitar against the edge of the amplifier stacks. Soon pieces of guitar neck were sailing out into the crowd. Then, a piece flew toward us. I watched as the piece of guitar travelled through the air in slow motion and landed right in Schnook’s outstretched hand. He looked at me with a huge smile on his face, which lasted just a moment. Immediately, a fist came out of nowhere and punched Schnook in the face, and his rock and roll prize was snatched from his hand. We went back to the stands and Tommy and I watched as Schnook’s eye blackened and swelled shut. He told me that he actually saw stars when the guy punched him. I felt bad for him.

REO Speedwagon played next. I can’t tell you much about them other than they were OK. But I kept wondering why Ritchie Blackmore was opening for this band, which I had never heard of before. Of course, a few years later, REO would become super popular.

I learned an important lesson that day—concert’s were dangerous and if something sails into the audience from the stage, best to move out of the way.

Rock on!