If you’ve never witnessed the knock-out live show that Ozzy Ozbourne put on, well… you’re out of luck. The Prince of Darkness has called it quits as far as touring is concerned, announcing it across all his social media platforms.


I was lucky enough to see Ozzy live on stage during the end of the era many consider his prime: 1984. I was fresh out of high school and Bark At The Moon had just been released the year before, when he was the headliner and closing act at ‘Monster Metal Monday‘, the theme from the Iowa Jam rock festival featuring 5 bands. Also on that bill was Accept, Night Ranger, Ted Nugent and Motley Crue. Ozzy’s touring band included Jake E Lee, who was tapped to replace Randy Rhoads after his tragic death.

It was the one and only time I’ve seen Ozzy in concert and it remains a clear as day experience. His signature style of belting out a verse, then walking to the right, then left of the mic, clapping his hands above his head and popping the ‘devil horns’ frequently in a pointing manner at members of the audience thrilled the crowd to no end.


His voice was just as we heard it on the albums, ripping up Crazy Train, Over The Mountain, I Don’t Know, Flying High Again, Mr. Crowley and Suicide Solution from Blizzard of Ozz and Diary Of A Madman. When he launched into Bark At The Moon, the crowd went crazy howling and barking at the end. He closed with NIB, War Pigs, Iron Man and Jake E did Tony Iommi justice with a hard charged, revved-up version of Paranoid to end his show.


My son wearing my Monster Metal Monday Iowa Jam concert shirt

I still have the shirt… that is to say, my son still has the shirt. I gave it to him about 10 years ago, because of course, I didn’t fit into it anymore. But the memories of that concert are burned in my mind as one of the greatest and worst experiences ever. Greatest, because the line-up was a once in a lifetime event. This wasn’t some tour that was rolling across the country, it was bands that the festival threw together. Worse, because my best friend, Scott, and I arrived the night before (Sunday) with zero hotel reservations, food or camping equipment. We foolishly thought we would find a hotel room, but they were all booked due to Memorial Day Weekend. We ended up staying overnight in Scott’s tiny Buick Skylark on the fairgrounds parking lot in a torrential downpour. We were miserable and cold and wet and hungry. But, we knew the chance to see Ozzy, Crue, Ted and Night Ranger would be remembered. We were right. We still talk about it to this day.


Motley Crue has just released Shout At The Devil, which contained several radio hits and it’s the album that really cracked them into our rock consciousness. Not only was the title track a rock radio hit, but Looks That Kill, Too Young To Fall In Love and a cover of the Beatles’ Helter Skelter got airplay. They were set to release Theatre Of Pain the next year and they were playing several of those songs in their set.


The back of my Monster Metal Monday concert raglan

Not only was Motley Crue at the top of their game, but Night Ranger was riding the wave of international success with the recent release of their 1983 album Midnight Madness, which included the worldwide smash Sister Christian. The rumor is that was the show that Ted Nugent and Night Ranger bassist/singer Jack Blades first met each other and the spark to create Damn Yankees was lit.


Nugent’s career was just beginning to wane. Scream Dream was released in 1980 and featured Wango Tango which got a few spins on radio. Intensities In Ten Cities, dropped a year later contained ten live recordings of previously unreleased songs from different venues across the US, but garned very little attention from radio. Ted really hadn’t had a radio hit since 1978’s live recording of Great White Buffalo from Double Live Gonzo.


However, Ted is an explosive performer and puts on one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen. This performance was no exception. He ran thru his gamut of fan favs like Cat Scratch Fever, Free-For-All, Baby Please Don’t Go, Hey Baby, Wang Dang Sweet Poontang, Dog Eat Dog, Wango Tango, Scream Dream and Stormtroopin’. His encore consisted of Great White Buffalo and broke out Stranglehold for the finale.