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!

Ginger Baker: 10/23/1989

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While rummaging through my piles of stubs this morning, I came upon this one, which has a great story associated with it. For those of you who do not know who Ginger Baker is, he was most famous for being the drummer for Cream and Blind Faith, but he also played in other bands.

OK, now for the story.

During this time, I was in a couple bands and playing a lot of music, hence I had a lot of musician friends. One of my band mates, Greg, was a huge Eric Clapton and Cream fan, so he found out about this drum clinic where Ginger Baker would be performing. He and I, along with a few of our musician friends that included Big Ed and Bongo Bob, got tickets to attend. Big Ed and Bongo Bob were in a band together called the Pranksters, inspired by Ken Kesey’s merry band of freaks. Ed, who sadly passed away too young, was about 500 pounds and Bob loved to wear a suede jacket with fringes (in Florida) while channeling his inner Roger Daltrey.

We arrived at McArthur High School in Hollywood, Florida and all I could think of was “Oh, how far the mighty hath fallen!” I half expected the sign in front of the school to display “Puppet Show and Ginger Baker.” It was kind of sad to see that one of rock’s legendary drummers was reduced to playing by himself in a high school auditorium.

If you’ve heard stories about Mr. Baker, I can attest that they are accurate. He was kind of a curmudgeon, and he definitely suffered the effects of living the hard rock and roll life. He banged around on a blue Ludwig drum kit, and in between would tell garbled stories in a way that made Ozzy Osbourne sound eloquent. Then the floor was opened up for questions. Ginger seemed to have a difficult time understanding what was being asked. At one point, someone asked a question, which somehow reworded itself in his brain to a criticism about his drug use (the question had nothing to do with drugs). He started ranting about how people just won’t leave him alone about drugs, and blah blah blah. The poor person who asked the question went and sat down, dejected.

Finally, we all got to line up and meet Ginger and get autographs. People were getting records, drum heads, and such memorabilia signed. I lacked the foresight to bring one of my Cream albums along, but I did get him to sign the ticket stub, as you can see from the image.

When my friend Greg got up there, I could see how awestruck he was, meeting one of his musical idols. And hey, I understand. Meeting someone who has inspired you is a huge deal. But I was unprepared for what I would discover at our next band rehearsal.

The band I was in at the time with Greg, The DV8’s, would practice in Greg’s garage. I arrived for practice, guitar case in hand, and was greeted by a beaming Greg. “Look what I got!” he exclaimed as he pointed to the corner. There stood a new blue Ludwig drum kit. He was unable to resist the temptation to purchase the drum kit that Ginger Baker played on at the world famous McArthur High School. Every time after that when we would rehearse, when I looked at the drum set, I would get the image of Ginger Baker, sitting by himself, at the front of a high school auditorium.