Ozzy Osbourne - Live At Budokan
Epic Records
Hard Rock / Heavy Metal
13 songs (66'37)
Release year: 2002
Ozzy Osbourne, Epic Records
Reviewed by Marty
Major event
I've always been a huge Ozzy fan, right from the first time I heard Black Sabbath's Master Of Reality album in the summer of 1972. I was immediately hooked. Black Sabbath still is one of my all-time favorite bands and I own everything they and Ozzy as a solo artist have ever released. I must admit that with all the media attention being given Ozzy and the rest of the Osbourne family lately, that this release certainly has the appearance of a cash-grab and is intended to capitalize on the current wave of Ozzy's popularity right now. With only 2 solo albums since his last live release, 1993's excellent Live And Loud double CD set. One could ask, is this album really necessary right now? Aside from 3 tracks from his current Down To Earth album, the rest of the tracks are from the classic era of Ozzy's solo career (i.e. his first three albums), with Paranoid being the only Sabbath song, and were already included on the Live And Loud release. How many more live versions of Crazy Train, I Don't Know, Paranoid etc. do we really need? Besides, the studio versions of most of these tracks were also included on the Ozzman Cometh best of collection out a few years back. This is almost like a live Greatest Hits with a few new tracks thrown in.

There's been a lot of accusations lately by former band members Bob Daisley and Lee Kerslake, who are suing Ozzy over lost revenues from songwriting credits, that Ozzy doesn't write any of his lyrics and aside from contributing a few melodies, isn't involved much in the creation of his songs. I'm not sure I entirely believe that, but one thing that is obvious from watching the T.V. show, The Osbournes, is that Sharon Osbourne is in charge of every facet of Ozzy's life and his music career. In fact, no surprise to me though, Sharon is listed as executive producer on this live release. It appears to me that Ozzy is just becoming a puppet, a figurehead who is controlled by the powers that be around him. This is sad as it's starting to hurt his credibility in the music industry as an original, a one-of-a-kind and a true pioneer of Heavy Metal music.

This album, production-wise, is decent and Zakk Wylde's guitar playing is out of this world. At times, he goes a bit too far with all the tricks and fills and sometimes misses his cues. This imparts a certain sloppiness to some parts but hey...it's a live album! Mike Bordin, drums and Robert Trujillo, bass provide a great rhythm section for all of Ozzy and Zakk's antics with John Sinclair providing the keyboards. Ozzy's voice sounds pretty good on most tracks and although there has been some accusations of studio doctoring of his voice on live recordings before, I'm not sure if it's the case here. There's one exception, his voice on the track That I Never Had, from the Down To Earth album is bad...really bad. It's out of tune at times and sounds really strained for most of the song. The version of Believer is great, with Zakk coming about as close to Randy Rhoads as humanly possible, as is the version of Junkie, also from the new album. I like Gets Me Through also from the new album. It is a bit faster than the studio version and really kicks butt. I've always liked Road To Nowhere from the No More Tears album and the version included here is a great one.

I'm not too impressed by the version of Crazy Train on this release. Zakk plays some of the guitar parts very differently than the original although the solo is dead on. I'm sure I've heard better versions than this one before. I also think that the version of Paranoid is weak as well. It doesn't sound tight at all. One of my main complaints is that Ozzy lets the crowd sing a lot of the chorus parts for some of the songs. It's O.K. if you're there at the show, but not when listening to the audio only part of the show. I'm also getting a little tired of all the "I love you all", "Lets go fucking crazy" and "I can't fucking hear you" banter that is heard way too much on this release. It starts to sound ridiculous after a while.

I can't honestly recommend this release unless you are a huge fan and absolutely must have everything Ozzy releases. If you've only recently started listening to him and don't have some of his older material, this would be a good one to pick up. I wish he would've left off a few of the older classics and included some tracks from Ozzmosis (there's none on this release) or a few others from No Rest For The Wicked that weren't done on Live And Loud. This release is also available on DVD, which I think may be a better investment. With all the visuals of an Ozzy concert experience to go along with the audio, I think it would make a decent package.

Killing Songs :
Believer, Mr. Crowley, Junkie, Gets Me Through, Road To Nowhere
Marty quoted no quote
Other albums by Ozzy Osbourne that we have reviewed:
Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man reviewed by Goat and quoted 65 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Scream reviewed by Marty and quoted 74 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain reviewed by Jeff and quoted 66 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Bark At The Moon reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 69 / 100
Ozzy Osbourne - Diary Of A Madman reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 80 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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