Whenever music acts take some time out of their set to talk about how much they love the town I happen to be seeing them in, make the audience feel special, I want to vomit. You know the sort of thing- you guys really know how to party, you guys don’t suck like all those other towns, etc. It’s all fake bullshit. They don’t care. Everybody knows they don’t care. It’s all just tickets in yet another nameless town. The only reason they know where they are is somebody told them or they saw the city sign when they pulled in on the tour bus. If anybody had any sincere love for the city no one could believe it because it is such a stock bullshit thing to say.
This tradition kind of got turned on its head at an Ozzy show I went to one time. Now, I do have to apologize. At this point I think only people I know really well are reading this blog. Chances are, since I love this story, I’ve probably already told it to them. That said, I still love the story so I’m going to tell it again.
This was back in 97 or 98 or so. Ozzy down at the Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln Nebraska with Biohazard, Sepulchura (is that how you spell that?), and Danzig. It was a good show. Luckily the No More Tours Tour was not in fact retirement as Ozzy had said.
Ozzy got his set going with a bang, as far as I was concerned, by coming out on stage and shouting: “Hello Omaha!” As I mentioned, we were in Lincoln. Not only was Ozzy not fake pretending that our town mattered to him, he had the town wrong. As I mentioned, this was in Lincoln not Omaha. Nobody cared, though. Ozzy meant no harm. Maybe he wasn’t aware that there were other towns in Nebraska other than Omaha.
It got better, though. As is customary during the concert, people had beach balls going around in the crowd. Particularly in the floor or mosh pit sections. Usually these beach balls will state the name of the town. I don’t know why, perhaps somebody makes these things as concert souvenirs.
In this case, somebody must have had an old one because it read: “Des Moines.” At one point, the beach ball bounced up out of the mosh pit and landed on stage. Ozzy, in the middle of a song, ran up to grab it and throw it back into the crowd. A little band/audience interaction. Good fun.
Except that mid-throw, he froze. He stared down at the beach ball. The crows went quiet. The rest of the band went into holding pattern music, keeping things moving while they waited for Ozzy to rejoin them. Very Doors. I think there was a Hollywood Bowl show one time where the rest of the doors had to play a holding rif for something like 15 minutes while Jim Morrison talked to a grasshopper that had flown up on stage.
Anyway, Ozzy is frozen, staring at this Des Moines beach ball. Finally, he turns around and asks the rest of the band, “Where the FUCK are we again?”