Ozzy’s last paint-by-numbers live album was almost two decades ago. In actuality, you really only need a live one with Randy Rhoads and you’re golden. But if you’re in the mood for downtuned Ozzy songs, Live at Budokan might be the way to go.
While the new rhythm section of Mike Bordin (Faith No More) and Rob Trujillo (Metallica) do have a positive impact on the sound, Zakk Wylde is tiring. His constant divebombing all over Randy’s composition “I Don’t Know” just rubs the wrong way. Then it’s an unremarkable song called “That I Never Had” from Down to Earth. The most enjoyable thing about it is actually Zakk’s backing vocal.
Ozzy spaces out old songs with new ones so sleep doesn’t take you too soon. “Believer” is a nice inclusion, since we’ve never had a version of it with Zakk on guitar. There’s a novelty to it for that reason, so it’s notable. A crap new song called “Junkie” acts as filler before “Mr. Crowley”. They used to have an acronym in Star Trek that they would paint on pipes and conduits on the Enterprise: “GNDN”. Goes nowhere, does nothing. That’s “Junkie”. And “Crowley” just drags.
The last of the new songs here is “Gets Me Through”; the single, you know the one. The one with the hilariously unimaginative lyric “I’m not the kind of person you think I am, I’m not the Antichrist or the Iron Man”. We sure do miss Bob Daisley’s lyrical touch. “Gets Me Through” might be the most paint-by-numbers of any Ozzy track since Zakk joined the band.
Get ready for a whole shit-ton of No More Tears stuff, as Ozzy rolls out four of ’em. The title track is still great and doesn’t strain Ozzy as much as the earlier songs. “Mama I’m Coming Home”, well sure, it has its fans. “I Don’t Want to Change the World” is still a yawn and “Road to Nowhere” fares well. The crowd sure loves ’em, those familiar hits. They go nuts for “Crazy Train” which just doesn’t sound right tuned down like this. Same with “Bark at the Moon”. Ozzy closes with the only Sabbath track on the disc, “Paranoid”. The double tracked vocals are obvious and annoyingly artificial sounding. It’s cool hearing the Faith No More style of drumming all over it though. Mike Bordin is a tremendous talent but was he the right guy for Ozzy Osbourne?
As the most unessential of all Ozzy releases, Live at Budokan should really be the last one to add to your collection. If you care, it was available with two covers: red printing, and black printing. For extra pain, you could also go for DVD. Best track: “Believer”.