Ozzy Osbourne - vocals; Randy Rhoads - guitar; Rudy Sarzo - bass; Tommy Aldridge - drums; Don Airey - keyboards
Ozzy Osbourne had only been out of Black Sabbath a couple of years when he formed this now legendary solo band and embarked on his controversial Blizzard of Oz tour (rumored to be a reference to his ongoing cocaine use). Now supporting a wife, Sharon (the daughter of Sabbath manager Don Arden), Ozzy was essentially broke, and had to start from the ground up when launching his newfound solo career.
Unlike most lead singers who go solo in order to distance themselves artistically from the band they had just left, Ozzy stuck with the type of music he knew: deep, heavy, slow moving rock with lyrical themes centered around Satan, the Occult, the presence of evil in the world and drug use ( just listen to the first track here, "Flying High Again"). Needless to say, Osbourne and the Blizzard of Oz simply picked up where the Osbourne-led Sabbath left off.
The rhythm section of bassist Rudy Sarzo and drummer Tommy Aldridge is rock solid, but it is the innovative and fluid guitar wok of Randy Rhoads that makes this period in Osbourne's career so important. Consisting mostly of material from the first LP, Blizzard of Oz, and what was to be his second album, Diary of a Madman, this show clearly demonstrates the excitement Osbourne was experiencing with his newfound solo project.
Thanks to great material including "Mr. Crowley," "Crazy Train" and "I Don't Know," this album, in addition to Osbourne's first solo outing, was a huge success, both in the U.S. and in his native U.K. The record went to the Top 20 and these songs remain staples of FM rock playlists to this day. But what makes this Canadian appearance so special is that it is one of the few professional live recordings made of Randy Rhoads, who would die in a senseless small plane crash the following May, while taking a joy ride on a rare day off from Osbourne's hectic touring schedule. While he was alive, critics and fans were saying Rhoads was as good as Eddie Van Halen; who knows what great music he could have made had he not died so early in life.
Ozzy and Sabbath fans alike will love this recording, even though he only does one song from his Sabbath days, the set-closing "Paranoid."
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