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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ozzy Osbourne, Jane's Addiction and giant inflatable pizza surfing at Voodoo

Posted By on Sun, Nov 1, 2015 at 2:43 PM

click to enlarge Ozzy Osbourne performs at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. - BARRY BRECHEISE / LIVE NATION
  • Ozzy Osbourne performs at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience.

With Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne claimed the title Prince of Darkness — "My name is Lucifer, come take my hand" Ozzy sings in "N.I.B.," though apparently the song is full of empathy for the devil, who falls in love and changes his ways. Osbourne is a great headliner for Halloween at Voodoo Music + Arts Experience, and last night's show was his second appearance at Voodoo. But the Osbourne on stage seemed more like your crazy uncle than "Crazy Train" Osbourne, and he seemed to enjoy the show, even when he turned a hose on the audience, while rain was already pouring down on them.

On a day plagued with frequent hard rains, Osbourne and company turned in one of the few sets to go past its allotted time. Terence Blanchard and his E-Collective put up with heavy sound bleed and a hard deluge mid-set. Peaches turned in an abbreviated performance. But fans weathered the rain and mud, and sets by Jane's Addiction and Ozzy on the Altar stage rewarded them for it.

click to enlarge Slash and Tom Morello joined Ozzy Osbourne at Voodoo. - BARRY BRECHEISE / LIVE NATION
  • Slash and Tom Morello joined Ozzy Osbourne at Voodoo.

Osbourne was booked for a one-time collaboration with Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, Slash and Tom Morello. Osbourne sang a couple of songs with his band before Rage Against the Machine veteran Morello joined him for "Mr. Crowley," and at one point Morello flipped his guitar up to pick the strings with his teeth — revealing a handwritten sign on the back of the guitar reading "Ozzy rules," which flashed on the jumbo screens on both sides of the stage and the audience roared. The set continued with "Bark at the Moon," "Shot in the Dark" and other songs before Ozzy exited and left his guitarist and drummer to noodle on some very long solos.

Osbourne eventually returned with Slash, Morello and Butler, and the spectacle was on — at least for two of Sabbath's biggest songs: "Iron Man" and "N.I.B." It was a very showy front of guitar shredding, and Morello seemed to get the best of it. The whole lineup played together only once more, on the final encore, "Paranoid."

Butler stayed onstage for much of the second half of the show, as the group played early Sabbath songs such as "Snowblind," "War Pigs" "Faeries Wear Boots" and "Crazy Train" and Osbourne's "I Don't Want to Change the World."

When not singing, Osbourne frequently paced back and forth with a big grin. Between songs, he often wet down his big mane of hair to keep it out of his face while he sings. The ritual was broadcast on the video screens near the end of the show, as Osbourne knelt down and dunked his head in the bucket, soaking him for the final few songs. Perhaps the bucket is the best explanation for the hose onstage. After he soaked himself in the bucket, he turned the hose on the audience, and seemed to enjoy all of the water play. It set the tone for the kinder, gentler Ozzy singing "Mama, I'm Coming Home" as a first encore.

Jane's Addiction has always enjoyed the teasing contradiction embodied in the title of its 1988 album Nothing's Shocking. The phrase is used in "Ted Just Admit It..." (referring to serial killer Ted Bundy)  suggesting that images of sex and violence on TV are banal. But the band sure enjoys the appearance of shock, hence the two women flying above the stage, apparently suspended by hooks in their flesh, during the set's final song "Whores." (The band has presented this stunt for several years — have a look.) (There have been previous displays of suspension and associated piercing rituals at Voodoo before, including Pain Tribe shows.)

Jane's Addiction has gotten a lot of mileage out of its two early albums, Nothing's Shocking and Ritual de lo Habitual, and most of the Voodoo set came from them, including the songs "Stop," "Ain't No Right," "Mountain Song" and "Been Caught Stealing." 

click to enlarge Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell perform at Voodoo. - JOSH BRASTED / LIVE NATION
  • Jane's Addiction's Dave Navarro and Perry Farrell perform at Voodoo.

The band broke up in 1991, took most of a decade off, juggled the lineup, added the Red Hot Chili Peppers' Flea and Guns N Roses' Duff McKagan at times, but the current iteration features three early members — Perry Farrell, the now heavily inked and pierced Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins — plus bassist Chris Chaney. That group sounded sharp at Voodoo, though its speedy raw edges and Farrell's once-manic presence have mellowed over the years. The only disappointment last night was a slack, almost sing-along, version of "Jane Says" as an encore, with Navarro switching to acoustic guitar and Perkins playing its signature steelpan drum.

The band also took its time on "Classic Girl," which seemed to allow the audience time to gawk at two backup dancers suggesting a lesbian scene while one of them helped the other get undressed and dressed. But that was not much of a spectacle compared to the set closer — "Whores" from the band's first release — with the women vigorously swinging above the band.

In the middle of the afternoon, Terence Blanchard and his new E-Collective band performed in front of a small crowd — presumably limited by the torrential downpour that began during the set. The band doesn't depart from jazz so much as it adds a mix of rock sounds, ranging at times from bulldozing bass to psychedelic interludes and space jams. The group played music off its Blue Note release, as well as a tribute to Jimi Hendrix set for its next album. The band frequently settled on loud, aggressive sounds, and at one point drew a short-lived mosh-pit of two. If nothing else, the choice of material and loudness combatted the sound bleed from other stages with big rock acts.

Voodoo already has rides, such as the ferris wheel, but some attendees decided to make the most of the rain and the mud slicks Saturday. Many people took a shot at surfing on this giant inflatable pizza slice. Some people cleared the slick unscathed. Others did not.

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