Richie B’s of Holbrook (which is shutting its’ doors soon) was the venue for last night’s Wizard of Ozz show; it was all Ozzy, all night as a stellar send-off for the club was held and a beautiful show to finish the long run that Richie B’s had been famous for. It was my first time on the inside of the establishment (first time I’d been there was around June for an uncovered, outdoor show that I’d attended) and it is just maddening that this fine place will no longer be a place for seeing live rock music.
The Wizard of Ozz, as always, rocked the joint to its’ foundations last night; frontman John Traylor had advertised it as sort-of an “open mic” night atmosphere and that pretty much set the stage for a whole ton of fun and camaraderie that this writer witnessed. For the umpteenth time that I’ve seen this band play, they never cease to amaze me with their freshness, and last night’s show was no exception. One of the things that makes this group so special, in my eyes, is that you never know quite what to expect.
With that having been said, it was a show that featured long time drummer Pete Black (making a return from back surgery, banging the skins like he never took a break), original guitarist Virgil Varons (stellar playing, as always) and newest recruit Mike Carrion on bass (whose five-string bass work was astonishing and on-point). From the opening of the show, meaning once these four hit the stage in the “Man Cave” area, the group seemed to flow like they were always together. They played the entire set like they had always been the same group and that’s one of the reasons why they are celebrating their 20th year in the industry.
The entire set list ran the gamut on everything that Wizard of Ozz have played for two decades; featuring classics like “I Don’t Know”, “Suicide Solution”, “N.I.B.”, a medley of “Iron Man”/”Sweet Leaf”/”War Pigs” (awesome job on that one) and “Flying High Again” was just the tip of the iceberg. Then, it really got interesting…John’s daughter Brianna sat behind the kit (which was HER kit used to begin with) and really blew the roof off the joint, as she sat in to perform beautifully on “Shot in the Dark” (her first time playing that in public; LIKE A PRO!!!) and the song that I’ve seen her play before, “Paranoid”, which she never fails to impress with, as it was masterfully played.
As an extra added bonus, the band then welcomed a guest drummer, former WDFA skinman Danny Supa, who was called up on a whim to sit behind the skins for the ubiquitous “Momma, I’m Coming Home”…I have to say that, although he was playing in an “open mic” atmosphere like it was, you would have never known that he wasn’t the normal drummer; he did a phenomenal job on the skins (as I’ve seen him play before) and was very comfortable for that track and nailed every note. After the stellar guest drummers graced the stage, it went back to Petey for the finale of the show, the ever-popular “Bark At The Moon” and, the encore, “Crazy Train”.
As I said, the band always puts on a hell of a show…it is just insane that the bar will no longer be around soon. It was a beautiful venue on a beautiful night to witness a great concert. Special thanks go out to Steve Houmis and Fred Johnson (who set up all the equipment and made sure that the show went off without a glitch), Nick Traylor (security) and Mario (sound guy who made sure that every sound was on-point.)
/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\