Well, It's Official: Ozzy Osbourne Can't Sing Anymore

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Photos by Groovehouse
Thursday night at the Woodlands was the first night of the reunited Black Sabbath's world tour, and to say that anticipation was running high would be underselling it a bit. The band is fresh off the release of its first new album together in 35 years, 13, which went straight to No. 1. Clearly, fans were ready for another go-round with the godfathers of metal.

But to add to the intrigue, Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath's legendary guitarist, has been battling lymphoma for the better part of a year now. Iommi's not a young man. For perhaps the first time, his assumed immortality appears in doubt. Long history of retirement fake-outs aside, this could very well be Sabbath's final trek around the globe. Miss this tour, and you might not get another chance.

REWIND:

Black Sabbath at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, 7/25/2013


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So despite the success of 13, there was no shortage of questions heading into Thursday night. Could Iommi still go? Would the foursome's magical chemistry still be intact without original drummer Bill Ward behind the kit? And perhaps most pressing of all, could Ozzy Osbourne still sing? After all, he's no spring chicken, and we all saw the state of him in The Osbournes.

Let's leave aside those first two questions for now, because it was the questions about Ozzy's performing shape that jumped out immediately on Thursday. On the tour's opening night, they may have been put to rest for good... and not in the way many of us had hoped.

As has been their custom for some time, Sabbath opened the show with the spine-tingling "War Pigs," one of the most vicious and affecting anti-war rock songs ever written. The wailing sirens were in place, that throbbing bass line packed its usual punch and Iommi's lead was as chilling as ever. So far so good.

Then Ozzy opened his mouth.

He didn't sound terrible, but he didn't sound good, either. He was struggling a bit to find the notes, particularly on the sharp, bluesy choruses. Hey, it was the first song of the first night of the tour -- maybe he just needed to warm up a little.

But then came "Into the Void." And then "Under the Sun." And "Snowblind." Classic Sabbath cuts all, and the Ozz-man struggled mightily to stay in key on all of them. Actually, that's not quite accurate. He was struggling, but he was decidedly not in key.

For longtime fans, it was painful to witness. This man is the voice of heavy metal, not to mention its Id. That voice, sad to say, appears to have left us. Ozzy sounded ragged and tired up there. He sounded old, and even a little out of his depth. Hardly the triumphant return we'd all hoped for.

Location Info

Map

Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

2005 Lake Robbins Drive, The Woodlands, TX

Category: Music

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84 comments
tabmgmt
tabmgmt

cant blame it on the heat, the woodlands stage is air conditioned

Jeff Gardner
Jeff Gardner

I thought Ozzy did a fine job - he hung onto the microphone and belted out the hits :)

Ronnie Martin
Ronnie Martin

I don't think he could hear himself from the beginning. He flipped one of the monitors upside down during War Pigs (or possibly the second song) after trying to get them to adjust it numerous times.

John Memmer
John Memmer

Did pay and would do so again. His singing was off but if anyone went to the show expecting otherwise then they're way too naive. It was still an amazing night, he gave great energy, and I feel fortunate to have seen the men of legends.Tony and Geezer shredded and canceled out any deficit.

James D. Scheffer
James D. Scheffer

Hell, we're almost 50 and he was a classic when we were kids.

Julie Renea Sanchez
Julie Renea Sanchez

Yes I have paid to see him try to sing. Listen he was a master back in his day. But dude he's old now and he's on alot of presiciption drugs. Oh yeah remember he had a drug problem. He's lived his life he's sang alot of great songs well. If you go see him now just know it's only in homage to what he was. The dude was shaking when I saw him over 10 yrs ago, also he had a side table with alot of prescription drugs he kept taking. any how leave the man alone..He's great.

Ronald L. Jones
Ronald L. Jones

I think its pretty rude. They posted to their page how awesome it was to have an audience after so long and then you guys just bash them. Its cool though.

Cheryl Harris
Cheryl Harris

Probably the last time -- would still like to have been there, Rebecca Yzquierdo.

Matthew Ashton
Matthew Ashton

No. dudes old and busted... plus he is a most annoying voice ever contender.

Brad McLelland
Brad McLelland

I went with free box seats dead center and right in front of the sound board. He was off and the heat was affecting the whole band. I would imagined it was even worse on the lawn. But it was a great show with a musical legend. I'm glad we went.

Tony Gutierrez
Tony Gutierrez

This is old news...Ozzy has never been a good live singer. It is even rumored that during the last reunion tour in the 90's he was lipsyching to another person doing the actual live singing

Larry Green
Larry Green

Sadly I must agree with the article!! The concert was packed and loud and good music etc... But Ozzy was falling short over and over.. Me and my wife even said that to each other during the 3rd song.. (wtf is wrong with his voice!!!?) Glad to have seen the final tour no matter what!

Hugh Bishop
Hugh Bishop

I would pay and I did. He's right around 70. He's had a life of multiple substances abuse. And it was hot as Hell (one of the numerous reasons I hate Cynthia Woods... pay good money to sweat your ass off). All that considered, Ozzy did a good job. The heat was even affecting Tony's guitar staying in tune. It was probably the last chance to see the Sabs. Age and health, and Ozzy's recent fall off the wagon, would indicate they won't be back again.

Audrey Ackerman
Audrey Ackerman

It was super hot on that stage and he did look pretty wipes out from the heat but holy cow was he off key!! Still, it was a memory and a moment that can't be recreated or replaced and I'm glad we went!

Supa Fly Garcia
Supa Fly Garcia

I saw him...he looked like he might die, but considering all he has done and been through....he is a bad ass!!!! Respect to my childhood hero!! I loved it and it was worth the $$ and unless you saw them in 79, hey once in a lifetime chance!!! Do it!!!!

Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown

Seeing Black Sabbath in 3 weeks in Indianapolis... The first time I saw them was on the "Technical Ecstasy" tour and the whole band was out of sync.... the 3rd song was a drum solo! And to add injury to insult Bob Segar BLEW THEM OFF THE STAGE as they was opening in support for the "Night Moves" album! That being said.... I have pretty well much seen almost every tour that Ozzy Osbourne has done since ( as a solo artist) and I have not seen a great vocal performance since the "Diary of a Madman" Tour (did not see any "Blizzard of Ozz" shows) and no matter how bad Ozzy sounds I'm still there. THIS TIME I'M GOING TO SEE TONY & GEEZER!

Jimi Austin
Jimi Austin

If ticket prices are lower. $40 to sit on the lawn is ridiculous.

Russell Watson
Russell Watson

not anymore,no. pretty awful from the clips I've seen. sure,it's Sabbath but no thanks. the last time I saw Ozz in 08 he still sounded pretty good but definitely not now. they're having fun,though & it's more than likely the last tour so there's plenty of people who don't care,they just want the chance to see Sabbath.

Anse
Anse

Ozzy was a mess, but Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler brought the shit, man. I was a bit perturbed by how long the drum solo went, but I guess it was probably a much-needed breather for the old guys. Still, the band positively raged, even if Ozzy was terrible.

mountaindew171
mountaindew171

and yet when they reunited with Dio it sounded like velvet. Just sayin

Eldicko Lacy
Eldicko Lacy

I used some lines form Ozzies song Crazy Train on the train wreck story on the Chron,wasn't well recieved.

Ellen Wiggins
Ellen Wiggins

hard to read this. one of my most favorite bands EVER!

Jacky Gilbert
Jacky Gilbert

The show was awesome! The last song wasn't great, but who does, at his age! I'm still smiling, absolutely loved it!

James Young
James Young

The answer to that is how high do you have to be to not remember a song you've been singing that long?

wnorman
wnorman

On a few songs, Ozzy's vocals didn't sound like the record, but it may not be all Ozzy's fault...  It seemed that the level on his microphone was inconsistent from song to song, and when he was on, he was definitely on.  If the level through the mains was inconsistent it makes me wonder what Ozzy was hearing in his monitor mix.  Also, I was surprised by how dry the vocal mic sounded in the mix.

Jennifer Lopez Mitchell
Jennifer Lopez Mitchell

He struggled all night. I almost didn't recognize Paranoid but the band was amazing! Still had a great time.

Noelle A. Perry
Noelle A. Perry

...are you implying that karaoke shows have perfect sound? i don't even know what to do with that.

a7xryche
a7xryche

Ozzy did not sound great at all,but the show was still fucking epic!Haters are gonna hate.

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

And to go to a live show expecting perfect sound... That's moronic thinking! This ain't no karaoke show like you seem to enjoy

Michael Terry
Michael Terry

The black sabbath album used very little effects. Ozzy went in knowing he couldn't do what he used to do and made a good album. It's black sabbath ! Live ffs! Did you expect a time machine back to the 70s? Most never thought it would happen.

James Young
James Young

Kinda sad. I've heard it talked about quietly in the music industry that he's had to increasingly rely on affects and post-production on the last few albums.

David Gonzalez
David Gonzalez

Ozzy hasnt been able to sing since the stroke its sad now really And i used to be a huge ozzy fan well when he could sing On youtube look for him singing take me out to the ball game that is soooooo bad

ssancheb
ssancheb

I hate to say it but this commentary was dead on. I was wincing all night.

deathly_gloom
deathly_gloom

Fucking people trying to suck Ozzy's cock as hard as they can and ignoring how awful of a performer and sell out he is. Weak and dumb asses.

a7xryche
a7xryche

Has been's don't have #1 records.

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