Ozzy Osbourne had no way of knowing at the time that his Ozzfest 2018 New Year’s Eve bash at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, Calif., would be the last full concert of his career.
The Prince of Darkness launched his No More Tours 2 farewell voyage in April 2018, with plans to be on the road at least through 2020. But many health issues (and the coronavirus pandemic) forced Osbourne to repeatedly postpone the shows, leading to his definitive retirement from touring in February 2023.
It was a sad, unceremonious end to one of the wildest, most legendarily debauched live careers in rock history. But at least Osbourne went out swinging.
The Ozzfest 2018 lineup was stacked with festival alumni, including fellow shock-rockers Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson, as well as Korn singer Jonathan Davis. Ice-T’s Body Count, horror-punks Wednesday 13, extreme metal band DevilDriver and guitarist Zakk Wylde‘s Black Sabbath cover band, Zakk Sabbath, rounded out the bill.
All of the acts warmed up the roughly 17,000-strong crowd for Osbourne, who delivered a customary set of solo and Black Sabbath classics, including “Bark at the Moon,” “Mr. Crowley,” “No More Tears,” “War Pigs,” “Crazy Train” and “Paranoid.” The metal godfather’s hunched posture and ragged vocals were telltale signs of a half-century of rocking, but Osbourne was lively and lucid the whole night, jumping up and down, leading the crowd in supersized singalongs and baiting them with his signature “Let’s go crazy!” exhortations.
Wylde, too, carried much of the evening with his dizzying solos and pinch harmonic squeals, even wading into the crowd during an extended outro solo on “War Pigs.”
Watch Ozzy Osbourne Perform ‘War Pigs’ at Ozzfest 2018
Osbourne took the stage a couple more times following the final Ozzfest, reuniting with former Sabbath bandmate Tony Iommi at the 2022 Commonwealth Games closing ceremony and playing a brisk, two-song set at the 2022 NFL kickoff. But his 2018 New Year’s Eve extravaganza marked a fitting, albeit unplanned, end to his full concerts. He wasn’t bluffing when he claimed in multiple health updates that his voice was still strong, even though his body was weak.
In his retirement announcement, Osbourne also appeared to leave the door open for future one-off performances that are less physically taxing than a full-scale tour. “My team is currently coming up with ideas for where I will be able to perform without having to travel from city to city and country to country,” he said. “I want to thank my family, my band, my crew, my longtime friends [and planned 2023 tour mates] Judas Priest and, of course, my fans for their endless dedication, loyalty and support, and for giving me the life that I never ever dreamed I would have. I love you all.”