REVIEW: Ozzy Osbourne – Live & Loud (1993 grille cover)

OZZY OSBOURNE – Live & Loud (limited edition 1993 Epic speaker grille edition)

Ozzy Osbourne has done lots and lots of tours since his “No More Tours Tour”.  It seemed special at the time, because we thought Live & Loud was going to be the last live album.   It was not.   What was supposed to be a definitive and indispensable capstone is just another live album, only really notable for its packaging.

Let’s start there.  If you buy this album, don’t buy the remastered edition in the jewel case.  This album didn’t need remastering a couple years later.  Why would it?  Instead search for the original digipack with the metal speaker grille cover.  Finding one in good shape can be a challenge.  Unfortunately, the metal grille is not removable although the VHS release did have a removable grille.  The release also came with two Ozzy “temporary tattoos” on little 2″ x 2″ sheets of paper.  These are the first things to get lost and you might want to consider that you’ll never find them.

Live & Loud scores an A+ for packaging, but gets mediocre grades for the music.  This is patched together from a variety of recordings, and it sounds like a lot of fixing was done after the fact.  It’s bogged down with over-long guitar and drum solos (Zakk Wylde and Randy Castillo) and too much talking.  There is only so much that one needs to be told to “go fucking crazy”.  Ozzy proclaims that he loves us so often that it loses all meaning.  He’s more of a cheerleader than a singer at times, constantly badgering the crowd to get “louder”!  There is also an annoyingly long intro that means nothing without the visual accompaniment that’s supposed to go with it.  I will admit that my buddy Peter and I were amused when Ozzy said “Let me see your fucking cigarette lighters” during “Mr. Crowley”.

On the plus side, this particular lineup of Ozzy’s band was one of his strongest.  Zakk and Randy were joined by bassist Mike Inez who was invited to join Alice in Chains in 1993.  Another plus is the presence of Black Sabbath.  The second to last song is “Black Sabbath”, performed by the original Black Sabbath, at the final show on the tour.  Fans will recall that Sabbath were touring their incredible Dehumanizer album, which frankly blows away Ozzy’s No More Tears.   When Sabbath (then including Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, Vinny Appice and Ronnie James Dio) were asked to open for Ozzy at his final two concerts, Dio bailed.  He was replaced for those shows by a little known metal singer named Rob Halford.  At the last of the two shows, the original Black Sabbath featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler and Bill Ward reunited to play a three song set.  It was their first time together since Live Aid in 1985.

Unfortunately, a couple tracks aside, Live & Loud is flat and uninspired.  “Black Sabbath” isn’t brilliant but at least it’s historic.  All the important songs are there, with maybe a few too many from No More Tears.  There is one surprise in “Changes”, the old Sabbath classic.  This is performed by Zakk on piano and Ozzy.  It’s brilliant and was used as the single.  “Mr. Crowley”, “Shot in the Dark” and “Desire” are pretty good, but drummer Randy Castillo was killing it.  He was the perfect drummer for that band.  Rest in peace Randy.

Live & Loud is for the serious fan only, who will really want to get the grille cover.  Live & Loud is not consistent enough for the average listener and gets bogged down in spots making it a very long run.

2/5 stars

 

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27 comments

  1. Nice review, Mike. Sounds like work finding a copy let alone trying to listen to it. I do like some Ozzy, but I do find him a bit dull. Heavily reliant on those around him, and if those around him are indulging in some, eh, self-indulgence, then he’s not really likely to hold my interest.

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  2. Bought this upon release as I caught this tour. The show was awesome esp. as Oz said this was his No More Tours Tour! at the time.
    Agree with everything you say here. The mix and Ozzy hollering like Ozzy can got to be a bit much after a while to say the least when listening to these cd’s…..
    Too bad it could have been a real good live album as the song list itself is deadly….
    Great packaging though as u pointed out for the most part and yeah me and my brother howled at the “Cigarette lighters” phrasing…hahahaha…

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        1. Pride And Glory….was an awesome jam out album. From there I dunno I never got into the whole BLS deal….but man he is a great interview and his soloing on No More Tears is wicked….

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  3. I will skip this one. Although I have trying to find his earlier albums on vinyl and they are pricey when you find them. I am so trying to find Ultimate Sin. I want to do a My First Time post on that one. I still will even if I don’t find it soon.

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  4. Yeah. This is a weird one… I really liked the video at the time. Watched it loads but then got the album and I just couldn’t get into it. I really love a lot of the performances but it doesn’t flow. And too much bloat.

    Love both Dehumanizer and NMT… Dehumanizer has stood the test of time better though.

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  5. Thanks for reminding me of this. My buddy Brian had a copy when we were in high school, and he played it a lot. I recall him saying something about it having sound issues, that it was recorded too loud and clarity was an issue? I dunno, I’m working off memories of a conversation from half a lifetime ago.

    I remember really liking the grille cover, though. It seemed too heavy for the rest of the package, though, like it might eventually rip.

    Thanks for mentioning the drumming of Castillo. He was a monster at the kit. NMT is pretty good proof, and this era’s live record would be cool to hear. Shame it’s a 2/5 though.

    Also, I totally remember that pic of Ozzy with his pants down inside the album. Oh man, Ozzy.

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  6. Nah, clearly the odd one out here but man this was a killer live record. Was really pleased it was loaded with NMT tracks as have never been a huge fan of live albums because time and time again most were hits records anyways, give me new material thankyou :)

    The grill cover was indeed unique but it was the music that was essential and by essential I mean just that, while agree the solos were typically yawn the songs and performances (when Zak was king), concluded the No More Tears album perfectly fer these ears.

    And that said there be bias behind this opinion because I personally fucking love No More Tears, Ozzy (or was it Lemmy? ;) reaching inward, a departure from the bats and gore was perfectly played and couldn’t have come at a better time for this then mid 20’s guy needing a companion and champion for some life changing times ;)

    ‘You’re not crazy, I’m fucking crazy’
    Cool record 4/5

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    1. Hehehehe I guess we have to disagree on this one! Also remember — this was THE summer of live albums. I was already digesting a bunch of Iron Maiden ones and I think Van Halen too!

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      1. Likewise, well Van Halen at least…

        Can’t agree on everything and as it’s a live album I can forgive you this one Mike :)

        Notice no review for No More Tears Mike, at least that I can find but not sure about requesting one now I have an idea about your thoughts on it LOL.

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        1. Ahh, I was just saying to HMO, I struggle with No More Tears! It has many merits but there is a lot that I don’t like. But I will be getting to it soon.

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  7. Yep, this album didn’t sound live at all and it was a wee bit weak sauce at times, BUUUT… damn did we play the crap out of it back in the day. Me and a buddy of mine were just getting into Sabbath/Ozzy at the time and this was the first time I heard Shot in the Dark, Bark at the Moon, and Miracle Man. (Sudbury radio really sucked) I love No More Tears, and although the changes were minor, it was cool to hear some different version of those songs. I never had the album so I relied on listening to it at my buddies house. I was so jealous of that grill cover! It is no Randy Rhoads tribute but I’m glad it exists.

    BTW, the video tie in for this, now that REALLY sucks. It is nothing but random concert footage played over the same tracks from the CD. The thing is so patched together Ozzy is wearing different clothes during the same song!

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