Last night, at Patchogue’s 89 North, was the epic “Super Show” which was the combination of the premier Ozzy tribute band, The Wizard of Ozz, and the Judas Priest-based cover band of legend, Exciter. The show actually consisted of two firsts; it was my first time at the historic venue (which has enough room to house a show of this magnitude) and it was my first time seeing the “headliners”, whose longevity and reputation in the scene (since 1998) almost made me apprehensive as to what to expect.
The venue itself is almost jaw-dropping; on the outside, it doesn’t really look like a place that would be able to house a book reading, let alone a concert with two premier cover bands. However, the rustic feeling of the inside décor is really impressive and misleading; the amply stocked bar and the food choices were just two of the things that really impressed me. Although most of the shows I’ve been to are “standing room only”, this place has plenty of places to park your carcass, should you feel the need to be comfortable.
As for the “opening act”, The Wizard of Ozz, they have been covered here multiple times; after all, they’ve been rockin’ the scene since 1993 and show no signs of going anywhere, anytime soon. John’s rendition of the songs and his “performance” as a younger Ozzy are always spot-on; he sometimes makes you “believe” so much in his actions that he could have been spawned from Ozzy himself. Also, back for last night’s show was long-time drummer Brian Gabriel, who played last night like he’d never left.
After opening with the motivational “Bark At the Moon” and grinding it’s way through such classics as “War Pigs” (which the audience ALWAYS assists with), “I Don’t Know” and “Mr. Crowley” (featuring Brianna Traylor on keyboards), John’s performance of the epic “I Don’t Wanna Change the World” was preceded by a shout-out to their former “roadie”; my late brother Fred (whose son actually assists in the “road crew”)…A hearty Thank You to Mr. Traylor for that. Also, another highlight was the instrumental rendition of “Suicide Solution” which led into John’s stunning cover of “Diary of a Madman”, featuring a theatrical setup; he appeared from a stand-up, homemade “coffin”, completely with white facial makeup…which was so eerie that it gave this writer goosebumps!
Finishing the show in grand style, with such classics as “N.I.B.”, “Mama, I’m Comin’ Home”, “Shot in the Dark” and “Paranoid”, John was actually kind enough to play one of the many “audience participation” songs in his repertoire; the ever-popular “Crazy Train”, which actually turned out to be a better rendition…because of the acoustics in the place, the opening and closing “laughter” had a wonderful echo that mimics the original recording!
As for the “headliners”, the omnipresent Judas Priest-based Exciter (based on a hit of the band) were actually dead-on, with Jack Fontana’s brilliant voice and recognition of the “Rob Halford” persona and lead guitarist Virgil Varan (also a former member of Wizard of Ozz), the band really was a true “cover” of the “Metal Gods” (one song performed last night). Along with band mates Richie Lien, Griff and Mike Haupt, this quintet showed why they have been part of the upper echelon of cover bands.
Performing such great hits as “Runnin’ Wild”, “Electric Eye” and “Beyond the Realms of Death”, they just totally blew the minds of the 200 or so people that made their way to this awesome outing. By covering classics like “Some Heads Are Gonna Roll”, “Freewheel Burning” and “The Sinner”, it was actually his rendition of the awesome song “The Ripper” that truly cemented my claim (and fans’ claim, as well) that this band is one of the premier acts concerning the heavy metal legends.
Overall, it was a show that, although I will never appreciate the same way because of my brother’s absence, was an awesome pleasure for this writer…and one that I hope to experience again soon. It was a great night with good food, drinks and some friends enjoying music and having a great time.
In regards to the folks that this writer personally knows, thank you for your heartfelt words and actions and we’ll see you all again soon…
/,,,/ ROCK ON DUDEZ \,,,\