I am going to cut straight to the chase here. I am a novice to metal.
Sure, I can throw the odd shapes to any Pantera or Primordial song and namedrop bands like Pig Destroyer and Cannibal Corpse as if I know what I am talking about.
But in reality, I know very little about it.
When I got tickets to Ozzy Osbourne in The Roundhouse, Camden for 3 July, my actual metal friends were disgusted that a faux such as I would be attending a rare gig of one of metal's biggest legends.
So, in order to gain the most from this experience, I took it upon myself to use this gig as a learning curve. An education if I may. A portal to the world where striking a pose isn't just a term reserved for people dancing to Madonna's 'Vogue' but where it takes on an entirely new meaning. Metal is a serious business and you must perfect the stare and point freeze-frame down to a tee.
Ozzy's fans are dedicated. That is the first thing I noticed. Metal fans are after one thing and one thing only so don't even try and attempt to pull the wool over their eyes. Oh, the boos were deafening as the big screens were promoting acts that previously took part in the iTunes festival like Snow Patrol, Calvin Harris and Franz Ferdinand.
According to their chants, these guys wanted Ozzy and when the lights finally dimmed, Ozzy and his band took to the stage and ripped straight into 'Bark At The Moon'.
Ozzy looked well and sounded great. Gone was the slipper-shuffle that we recognise from that little-known TV show from a certain music television channel and in its place was a semi-sprightly man that loved to perform and lead the crowd in what looked like a pre-marathon stretching exercise.
Ozzy : Taking it in his stride
As he kept knocking out the hits, I couldn't help but notice the crowd below (I took to the balcony so that I could take notes from afar before I committed myself entirely to this new way of life) were taking part in what is known as a "mosh pit".
It looked like serious amounts of fun but I won't partake in that activity until I become an amateur metaller at least.
'Let Me Hear You Scream' was the only new track of the evening but as he weaved through the golden oldies, he made a bit of a pantomine out of himself by throwing buckets of water on whichever side of the crowd cheered the loudest. At this point, I was concerned for Ozzy's safety. I didn't want him to slip on the wet floors. But like a trooper, he stayed standing all night long albeit using the microphone stand as a sturdy leaning post from time to time.
The band consisted of Gus G. (guitar), Rob Nicholson (bass), Adam Wakeman (keyboards) and Tommy Clufetos (drums) who all took on decade-long solos for 'Rat Salad'. I was half-expecting Gus and Rob to start a duel with flashes of lightning shooting out of their instruments. Alas, that never happened but I did make a mental note to carry a wind machine around with me at all times as their hair was incredible.
The gig was ridiculously entertaining and if you weren't bashing into giant, balding men, you had a smile plastered across your face in awe of the man. Even Ozzy, The Prince of Darkness himself, broke the metal rule of no smiling.
After 'Rat Salad', the encore began and Ozzy encouraged us to cheer louder stating that the louder we cheered, the more songs they would play. It was at this stage that I marked Ozzy as an absolute hero because he showed no signs of wanting to end the show and performed some of the bigger numbers like 'Crazy Train', 'War Pigs' and 'Paranoid' effortlessly.
Some corporate types ignoring the Ozzy lazers
It was a stomper of a gig that enlightened me to a world that I merely experiemented with before. But now, I have seen and felt the magic of metal and I have Mr. Osbourne to thank for that.
1. Bark At The Moon
2. Let Me Hear You Scream
3. Mr. Crowley
4. I Don't Know
5. Fairies Wear Boots
6. Suicide Solution
7. Road To Nowhere
8. Shot In The Dark
9. Rat Salad
10. Iron Man
11. Crazy Train
12. Mama, I'm Coming Home
13. I Don't Want To Change The World
14. War Pigs