Black Sabbath Concert Reviews
September 2, 2004
Ford Amphitheater
Tampa, FL


  • Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals
  • Tony Iommi - Guitar
  • Geezer Butler - Bass
  • Bill Ward - Drums
  • Adam Wakeman - Keyboards


From Joe: This story originally appeared online here.

Jay Cridlin of the St. Petersburg Times is reporting that the Ozzfest concert Thursday (Sept. 2) at the Ford Amphitheatre in Tampa, FL was much quieter than other recent concerts, according to officials at the Hillsborough County Environmental Protection Commission.

The EPC received only two complaints about Ozzfest, compared to more than 50 after an Aug. 18 show by LINKIN PARK, KORN and SNOOP DOGG.

The difference? Before Thursday's show began, amphitheater officials turned down the amplifiers of Ozzy Osbourne's band BLACK SABBATH by as much as 30 decibels. They also installed a temporary noise barrier along the venue's periphery on the state fairgrounds and tilted upper-level speakers down toward the audience.

"BLACK SABBATH is not a quiet band, but the amphitheater did a very good job dealing with the sound," said Sterlin Woodard, assistant director of the EPC's air management division.

Ozzfest had a few sporadic spikes above the county's prescribed decibel limit. EPC officials monitored noise levels in six nearby neighborhoods. Crowd noise caused the EPC's readings to spike in the Kings Forest Park subdivision, just southwest of the fairgrounds; an intermittent bass line did the same in the Woodlawn subdivision, near Sligh Avenue and U.S. 301.

Some residents said they were impressed with what turned out to be an unexpectedly soft heavy metal concert.

"I was aware of it, but it wasn't bad at all," said John Bell, who lives in south Temple Terrace. "Since the other occasion, it has gotten a lot more reasonable." Read more.

From: cm dillon
Subject: Concert Review: 2 Sep 04 Ozzfest, Tampa FL
Date sent: Fri, 3 Sep 2004 16:33:09 -0700 (PDT)

>From a Tampa, FL fan


Thanks for the great website. Like many, I'm sure, I still remember the very first time I heard a Black Sabbath song...I was near a college dormitory, and I stopped suddenly, as I heard the ominous first sounds of Iron Man. Been hooked ever since...

So, although I am a huge fan of both Black Sabbath and Ozzy, I've got to tell it like it is, regarding the concert I attended last night...

Got there for the last 20 minutes or so of Slayer. There were a lot of empty seats; however, I was in the "Pit" and was not 20 feet from stage, dead center--and would remain there all night. While Slayer clearly had their following (active mosh pit going), I was waiting for Judas Priest and Sabbath.

The moment arrived, and Judas Priest made their appearance. Halford and crew were at their best. Halford had an incredible stage presence. He appeared from an elevated point behind the drummer, in the middle of a black hole, as they began their set, dressed in all black, studded leather, to include a body-length, leather trench coast. He took one step and paused, singing his heart out the whole way. Slowly he walked down the metal canopy and took the stairs to the main floor of the stage, literally pausing for effect, on each step. By the end of the opening song, he had reached the microphone, dead center, front of the stage, and had the audience in the palm of his hand.

They ripped through a set that lasted damn near two hours. The Sentinal. Hell Bent for Leather (entire song sung from the seat of a custom V-twin). Electric Eye. And plenty of deep cuts. Hell...he did six encores, as far as I could count. The guy was a highly professional performer. The crowd was impressed. As a band, they were tight...on chord, and vocals that sounded superior to what I heard some 20 years ago on the Defenders of the Faith tour. One could clearly see a look of graciousness and humbleness upon Halford's face, as they bid farewell to a very appreciative crowd. Kudos to Halford and crew.

Then came Sabbath. Like many fans have read on this very website, the roadies drew a long curtain across the stage, and made quick preparation for Black Sabbath. It could not have been 20 minutes before we heard Ozzy taunt the crowd a little bit, from behind the curtain. Then, next thing you know, the silhouettes of the band members were visible through the curtain. The expected loud siren followed by the first chords of War Pigs shot out at the crowd as the curtain disappeared to reveal the original members of Black Sabbath.

Now, to digress for a I stated, I have been listening to these guys for a very long time. Ozzy (solo) during the Bark at the Moon tour was my first concert, ever. It was not until 2001 that I saw the original line-up of Sabbath, at a Pittsburgh Ozzfest. During that particular concert, the band was excellent--including Ozzy, who barely made a mistake (he seemed pretty sober and serious). The concert was a real pleasure, back then.

Last year, I saw Ozzy, solo, at Ozzfest in West Palm Beach, FL. It was enjoyable, but, unfortunately, Ozzy did not seem to really master the lyrics, as one might hope. Still, a very good concert--and hell, it was the last on the Ozzfest tour...the guy must have been exhausted.

Now, back to this year, and 20 feet from Ozzy, dead center. The band (less Ozzy) was nearly flawless. However, unlike Judas Priest, there was a real lack of interplay between OZZY and the band members. Sure, Ozzy graciously introduced everyone, especially Bill Ward (three times in a row no less--clearly he was glad to have Bill on board), and feigned worship of Tony Iommi (Ozzy on his knees), after introducing him. As it turned out, that show of appreciation for Iommi was richly deserved, as well as for Bill Ward, and "the" Mr. Geezer Butler (whom, many may realize, actually wrote most of the songs sang that evening).

In sum, aside from the song "Black Sabbath," I can't think of single song that Ozzy did sing without incident, lyrically. He just seemed to forget the words... And hell, I am no lead singer for a legendary heavy metal band, and do not want to sit in judgment of Ozzy. But, last night, he may not have had the magic.

The man has achieved more and been through more, than any one of us can speak to, particularly in light of recent history with his wife's illness and his own accident, and likely in combination with his own lifestyle, for so many years. He has brought himself to where he is today...and that is, for all practical purposes, still on top. And you know what? He may have sung perfectly a few nights before that, and so on. I do not know.

Yet, I do know this: Ward, Butler, and especially Iommi, largely, carried the show on September 2nd 2004, in Tampa FL. As musicians, their seasoned professionalism, and obvious sobriety and/or control, was on clear display for all to see. Iommi was a master at work...a heavy metal Mozart. He and Butler, and Ward all had moments on the stage, interacting here and there, while playing. But not Ozzy. He threw some buckets of water and paid attention to getting out the vocals as best as he could. Ozzy interacted very little with his bandmates (in strong contrast to Halford and Priest).

In fact, his voice did not seem to be a problem. Sounded great. Unfortunately, he just did not seem to know all the words to the songs. I know I was not the only one who thought..."After this year, how much longer can this guy go on?" And "Will the other band members ever go for this again?" Time will tell. It really seemed as if Ozzy did not arrive with his bandmates, and must have arrived separately. But, as a huge fan of both Sabbath and Ozzy, I hope they go out on top.

Sharon Osbourne and family clearly have enough film and recordings to keep generations of the family, yet to come, very wealthy indeed. However, that is hardly the point: I think we all want Ozzy to be remembered for the incredibly talented performer and artist he is. I can't think of a single artist that can even approach the caliber of lyrics and music, perfectly united and epitomized by his completely unique voice (both with Sabbath and solo).

In closing, I waited at the conclusion of the set and watched everyone walked off, and observed the roadies start to break the bare bones set down. Speaking of Sharon...there she was! On the right side of the stage, just offstage, in a creme/white pants-type suit, chatting away with someone. As another interesting aside, when Iommi walked offstage, one of his handlers/and/or a staff member, cloaked him in a long black cape, as if Dracula was just leaving the building to enter a surreal existence known only to him...leaving me to wonder...who is the real prince of heavy metal darkness?

So, there it is. Priest was strong as a whole. Halford was mature and unbelievably good on stage. Sabbath's guitar and drums were stronger...tighter. But that was the way the songs were written, and ultimately, perfected. Sabbath was lucky to have Priest open for them. And, at least last night, Ozzy was lucky to have his bros from Birmingham, the origial Sabbath backing him. I enjoyed the show, all said and done. Hope you enjoyed this straight-up review, recollected from a guy who was, perhaps, 20 feet from center stage, last night.

Keep up the great work on the website, Joe.