Live at Budokan

by: Ozzy Osbourne

After Speak of the Devil, Tribute, Just Say Ozzy, Live & Loud, the Ozzfest collections, and both Osbourne-fronted Black Sabbath live discs, one would think that Ozzy had exhausted his concert-album appeal. But due to the success of his reality TV show, Osbourne once again decided it was time for another live album. Although Osbourne's live performances were still rock solid during the recording of this tour, Live at Budokan seems mighty excessive. The only positive of another one is to hear the intense live work of Zakk Wylde, who has been the cornerstone of Osbourne's sound longer than any other sideman he has ever worked with. His squealing leads and chunky guitar sounds great here, displaying a talent for pure heavy metal that few other players can live up to in 2002. But at the same time, you can hear his amazing guitar work on at least two other Ozzy live discs, and the songs that are new to this environment (i.e., most of the first half of the album) are all taken from Down to Earth, which he plays on in the first place. This album sounds fine, is packaged nicely, and would make a nice addition to any Ozzy completist's collection. But Tribute has an equally brilliant guitarist showcased in one of his finest moments, and Live & Loud has the emotional burden of Ozzy thinking it was his last tour, making either of them preferable over this disc. Live at Budokan is nothing to avoid, but there are much better collections available featuring the same rock & roll madman in more spirited days. [The "clean" version cuts much of Ozzy's profane onstage banter and the few swears found in the music.] ~ Bradley Torreano

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