Ozzy’s Crazy Train pulls into Israel

For local metal heads, Osbourne’s appearance in Israel next month is a reason to rejoice.

Ozzy’s Crazy Train pulls into Israel (photo credit: ROSS HALFIN)
Ozzy’s Crazy Train pulls into Israel
(photo credit: ROSS HALFIN)
The Prince of Darkness is now the elder of twilight, but Ozzy Osbourne’s appearance in Israel next month is still reason to rejoice for local metal heads.
The legendary British rocker and former Black Sabbath frontman is returning to the country to perform music from all five decades of his career at Rishon Lezion’s Live Park on July 8, as part of an openended farewell tour dubbed No More Tours 2.
Osbourne last performed in Israel in September 2010 at Tel Aviv’s Yarkon Park as part of Ozzfest, Osbourne’s long-running multiband metal festival which he launched decades ago.
“Metal people sometimes treat our community like it’s a religion in a way. We have our dress code and our heroes, and Ozzy’s one of them,” said Kobi Farhi, the leader of popular Israeli metal band Orphaned Land, which will be warming up the crowd in Rishon, along with local trio The Great Machine.
“Being the vocalist of a metal band that was such a pioneer like Black Sabbath, Ozzy for us is like one of the founding fathers of the genre. He’s like a high priest or an important rabbi of the scene.”
Osbourne rose to prominence in the early 1970s as the lead vocalist of Black Sabbath, which helped define the metal genre with iconic songs such as “War Pigs,” “Iron Man” and “Paranoid.” After 1978’s Never Say Die! and years of debauchery, Osbourne was fired from Black Sabbath, which led him to form his own band with the help of his new manager and wife, Sharon.
Osbourne’s solo career took off in 1980 with Blizzard of Ozz, featuring “Crazy Train” and “Mr. Crowley,” and setting the template for the headbanging decades to follow.
At some point Osbourne became a caricature of himself, spurred by the highly entertaining, slightly disturbing MTV reality sitcom The Osbournes, which portrayed Osbourne’s family as lovingly dysfunctional and the Oz himself as a profanity-spewing, child man often in a haze.
But onstage, supported by longtime collaborators Zakk Wylde (guitar), Blasko (bass), Tommy Clufetos (drums) and Adam Wakeman (keyboards), the 69-yearold Osbourne stops acting his age and still brings on the goods with his thunderous fervor.
For Orphaned Land’s Farhi, Osbourne’s latter-day mainstream celebrity status is less relevant than his status as a rock pioneer.
“To open up for Ozzy, and maybe to meet him, is a dream come true. I’m so privileged and excited,” said Farhi.
For his part, Osbourne, in naming Orphaned Land as his show opener, called them “majestic” and “the best hard rock band to come out of the Middle East.”
Farhi said that he’s determined to live out the fantasy of opening up for his hero to the fullest.
“Hopefully I’ll be able to get his autograph on my Ozzy and Sabbath records I own, and I’ll be able to give him Orphaned Land’s. It’s going to be one hell of a night.”
July 8 at Rishon Lezion’s Live Park