Ozzy Osbourne in Oklahoma

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A day-of-show newspaper ad from October 22-1976 to promote Black Sabbath's first Tulsa appearance.
October 22-1976: Tulsa-based promoter Larry Schaffer took out this full-page ad in the music industry trade magazine Performance to thank Black Sabbath for a full house on the opening night of their Technical Ecstasy Tour.
November 20-1978: Ozzy onstage at the Myriad Convention Center during Black Sabbath's final Oklahoma performance
A 33 year-old newspaper ad to promote Black Sabbath's appearance in Oklahoma City on their tenth anniversary tour.
A 33 year-old handbill to promote Black Sabbath's appearance in Oklahoma City on their tenth anniversary tour.
February 13-1984: Ozzy meets with a fan during an in-store appearance at the now defunct Sound Warehouse on Northwest Expressway and Rockwell in Oklahoma City.
February 13-1984: The Lloyd Noble Center is invaded by Ozzy along with bassist Bob Daisley (left) - Guitarist Jake E. Lee (right) and drummer Carmine Appice.
March 29-1986: Onstage at the State Fair Arena during the second show of The Ultimate Sin Tour.
A vintage concert ticket stub from Ozzy's 1996 performance at the Myriad Convention Center. Notice the "No body surfing allowed" warning.

40 YEARS OF DECADENCE

By Curt Gooch

Ozzy Osbourne returns to Oklahoma on February 10 to rock Tulsa’s BOK Center in support of his 2010 album Scream.  Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with special guest, Slash. Tickets can be purchased directly from the venue here.

Ozzy… you know you’re famous when simply your first name suffices.

In the lexicon of rock culture, there may be no more perfect definition for “rock star” than Ozzy Osbourne.  Rising from the cold grayness of an impoverished youth in Birmingham, England, Osbourne found fame early and often helming what is unquestionably the pioneering heavy metal band in music history:  Black Sabbath.  Since then, almost according to some mythic script, Osbourne became an international superstar, succumbed to the success (by the same drug- and excess-laden roads seemingly paved for all young stars thrust into such glaring limelight), lost his money and his way, before finding eventual salvation and redemption in a solo career that has far surpassed his youthful glories in both duration and fame.  In between, there were the potholes of a failed marriage, deaths of bandmates, rabies, bats, bird beheadings in front of a horrified panel of industry suits, international TV sensations, retirements and unretirements, and the growing legend now simply known as Ozzy.

In a series of concerts beginning in 1971 and culminating (thus far) in the February 10 gig in Tulsa (Osbourne’s first visit to the city in 27 years). Oklahoma rock fans have been privileged to bear witness to many of the chapters of Osbourne’s remarkable career.  For those who enjoy trips down memory lane, here’s a day and date look at four decades of Ozzy Osbourne concerts in Oklahoma…

Black Sabbath

Date: March 24, 1971

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: Civic Center Music Hall

Headline band: Mountain

Tour: Paranoid

Set list:

N.I.B.

War Pigs

Black Sabbath

Iron Man

Wicked World

Tony Iommi Guitar Solo

Wicked World (reprise)

Paranoid

Fairies Wear Boots

Black Sabbath was riding high on the success of their second album Paranoid when they touched down for their inaugural Oklahoma performance. Black Sabbath were opening for the already established four-man outfit Mountain led by renowned guitarist Leslie West (Mississippi Queen).

Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward:  “I remember being in downtown Oklahoma [City] and to me it was like something I’d seen from the movies, like in the ‘20s and ‘30s. It still had this very western look to it and I found that fascinating.

“We were in our first and second tours and to see America was still incredibly brand new. So everything was very, very interesting, from the buildings to the things that were sold in America to the people. It was all electric, it was all Coca-Cola. I had a great interest in American culture. And the very fact that we were in towns and cities where the American Indian had lived, that was a huge turn-on for me; it was really exciting. From a culture point of view, that was going on with all of us, we would all A/B the differences between the States and England.

“American audiences were completely receptive to Black Sabbath music. The audience participation was absolutely brilliant. These were the very best of times. In recollection of the early years, it was exciting, we were still quite young. Inside it all, I felt like I was in the middle of a hurricane, and it was actually quite calm. But just right outside of my second footstep, if you like, there was chaos. Sometimes it would touch me, but I never really reached the chaos.”

Date: October 22, 1976

City: Tulsa, OK

Venue: Tulsa Assembly Center

Opening acts: Boston, Moxy

Tour: Technical Ecstasy

This show was promoted as the first date of Black Sabbath’s Technical Ecstasy Tour. The much-loved band Boston opened the concert during their first tour, a somewhat mismatched booking which was very common during this period of time.

Date: September 18, 1978

City: Tulsa, OK

Venue: Tulsa Assembly Center

Opening act: Van Halen

Tour: Never Say Die!

The 1978 Never Say Die! outing ultimately proved disastrous for Black Sabbath, as they were blown off of the stage every night by their up and coming opening act Van Halen. This was the only time the band performed twice in Oklahoma during the same tour.

Date: November 20, 1978

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: Myriad Convention Center

Opening act: Van Halen

Tour: Never Say Die!

Set list:

Symptom Of The Universe

Snowblind

War Pigs

Never Say Die

Fairies Wear Boots

Black Sabbath

Shock Wave

Dirty Women

Rock And Roll Doctor

Bill Ward Drum Solo

Tony Iommi/Bill Ward Jam

Tony Iommi Guitar Solo I

Orchid

Tony Iommi/Bill Ward/Geezer Butler Jam (includes Sabbath Bloody Sabbath instrumental)

Tony Iommi Guitar Solo II

Electric Funeral

Iron Man

Children Of The Grave

Paranoid

Bill Ward: “We use to run the bus through Oklahoma, sometimes the cattle got loose on the highway and I can remember how incredibly cold it was. I can remember the huge tumbleweeds going across the freeway, and just frigid, frigid cold.”

The pressures of being in a band, compounded with a massive drug/alcohol addiction ultimately proved too much and Ozzy Osbourne departed the band shortly after this performance. Despite several additional decades of touring, Black Sabbath has never returned to Oklahoma.

Ozzy Osbourne

Date: May 30, 1981 Tulsa, OK

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: Brady Theatre

Opening act: N/A

Tour: Blizzard Of Ozz

Canceled

Now a solo artist in his own right, Ozzy’s first concert in the state was cancelled and very little else is known about this booking. Ozzy’s solo band at this time included a budding dynamo in classically trained guitarist Randy Rhoads, as well as veteran bassist Rudy Sarzo (Quiet Riot, Whitesnake) and former Black Oak Arkansas/future Whitesnake drummer Tommy Aldridge.

Date: February 25, 1982

City: Norman, OK

Venue: The Lloyd Noble Center

Opening acts: UFO, Starfighters

Tour: Diary Of A Madman

Set list:

Over The Mountain

Mr. Crowley

Crazy Train

Revelation (Mother Earth)

Steal Away (The Night)

Suicide Solution

Randy Rhoads Guitar Solo

Band Jam

Tommy Aldridge Drum Solo

Goodbye To Romance

I Don’t Know

Believer

Flying High Again

Iron Man

Children Of The Grave

Paranoid

Four weeks prior to Ozzy’s debut Norman performance, he accidently bit the head off of an actual bat during a show in Des Moines, Iowa. This show marks the only time guitarist Randy Rhoads performed in the state, as less than a month later he was killed in a plane crash in Florida.

Date: February 12, 1984

City: Tulsa, OK

Venue: Tulsa Convention Center

Opening acts: Mötley Crüe, Waysted

Tour: Bark At The Moon

Set list:

I Don’t Know

Mr. Crowley

Rock ‘n’ Roll Rebel

Bark At The Moon

Revelation (Mother Earth)

Steal Away (The Night)

Suicide Solution

Centre Of Eternity

Carmine Appice Drum Solo

Flying High Again

Iron Man

Crazy Train

Paranoid

With fan favorite guitarist Jake E. Lee in tow, and cresting high on the success of his first music video “Bark At The Moon,” Ozzy descended on Oklahoma in the winter of 1984 for two consecutive performances.  The infamous events surrounding this tour, with then newcomers Mötley Crüe supporting, include the snorting of ants and the licking of (not that it matters) other people’s urine. Oh, to be a rock star in the 1980s.

Date: February 13, 1984

City: Norman, OK

Venue: The Lloyd Noble Center

Opening acts: Mötley Crüe, Waysted

Tour: Bark At The Moon

Set list: See February 12, 1984

It’s not widely remembered, but Ozzy (sans band) made a rare in-store appearance at the Oklahoma City

Sound Warehouse record store on Northwest Expressway and Rockwell.

Concert photographer Ronnie Green: “I was a freshman in college at the time and a girl I was dating worked for Sound Warehouse. Her bosses wanted someone to capture the event on film and I wound up with the gig.  I was the only professional photographer there.  I was surprised when Ozzy showed up in a small rental car.  The store was packed and he was having a good time, despite the fact they didn’t bring in any food for him to eat.”

Veteran drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart) who was touring with Ozzy at the time held a drum clinic at a music store in Norman on the same day.

Date: March 29, 1986

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: State Fair Arena

Opening act: Metallica

Tour: The Ultimate Sin

Set list:

Bark At The Moon

Suicide Solution

Never Know Why

Mr. Crowley

Shot In The Dark

I Don’t Know

Killer Of Giants

Jake E. Lee Guitar Solo

Thank God For The Bomb

Flying High Again

Secret Loser

Randy Castillo Drum Solo

Secret Loser (Reprise)

Iron Man

Crazy Train

Paranoid

When The Ultimate Sin Tour came to the State Fair Arena in 1986, Ozzy’s visibility was at a peak with his first crossover hit “Shot In The Dark.” The glam look was all the rage during this period and some of the colorful outfits which Ozzy wore during this performance could later be seen on display at the Dallas Hard Rock Café. Only the second show of the U.S. tour, fans were treated to a memorable concert which included the now common practice of video production, the world’s largest lighting rig (to that point) and a then little-known thrash metal opening act named Metallica.

The long out-of-print home video/MTV concert The Ultimate Ozzy was recorded two nights later at the next stop in Kansas City, Missouri and this tour would prove to be the final outing with guitarist Jake E. Lee.

Date: September 25, 1992

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: State Fair Grandstand

Opening act: Alice In Chains

Tour: No More Tears

Booked under the moniker No More Tours… this 1992 outing was billed as Ozzy’s “Farewell Tour;” a claim which held true for less than three years. This performance, featuring the first Oklahoma appearance of longtime guitarist Zakk Wylde, occurred alongside the Oklahoma State Fair. During the show, a rather large fight broke out in the bleachers at the now defunct State Fair Grandstand. Consequently, upon exiting the venue, concertgoers found themselves coming face to face with several dozen police officers dressed in full riot gear.

Date: April 28, 1996

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: Myriad Convention Center

Opening acts: Sepultura, Type O Negative

Tour: Ozzmosis

Set list:

Paranoid

I Don’t Know

Goodbye To Romance

Perry Mason

No More Tears

Flying High Again

I Just Want You

I Don’t Want To Change The World

Suicide Solution

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Iron Man

Sweet Leaf

Children Of The Grave

Mr. Crowley

Crazy Train

Mama, I’m Coming Home

Bark At The Moon

By 1995, Ozzy had returned with a tour dubbed “Retirement Sucks” and the following year visited Oklahoma City for his only solo booking at the Myriad. Former David Lee Roth guitarist Joe Holmes and future Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo were members of Ozzy’s band during this performance. Tickets for this show were printed with an unusual disclaimer: “No body surfing allowed.”

Date: December 6, 2007

City: Oklahoma City, OK

Venue: Ford Center

Opening Act: Rob Zombie

Tour: Black Rain

Set list:

I Don’t Wanna Stop

Bark At The Moon

I Don’t Know

Mr. Crowley

Goodbye To Romance

Zakk Wylde Guitar Solo

Not Going Away

Iron Man

Road To Nowhere

Here For You

I Don’t Want To Change The World

Crazy Train

Mama, I’m Coming Home

Paranoid

Following a record 11-year absence from the Sooner State, Ozzy Osbourne alongside guitarist Zakk Wylde returned with a large full-scale production during his Black Rain Tour.

Curt Gooch has coauthored three books about the glory days of the entertainment industry and as a film/video licensing consultant has helped produce high-profile content and programming for A&E, BBC, MTV, VH1, PBS, Grammies, and ABC-TV.  He is currently working on the pilot for a music video-based television show.

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