High-quality audio has emerged online of Ozzy Osbourne’s storming 1982 set in Osaka, Japan, for which the Prince of Darkness was joined by Night Ranger electric guitar hero Brad Gillis.
Following Randy Rhoads’ death in March 1982, the Osbourne crew recruited Bernie Tormé as an interim guitarist to fulfill the band’s touring commitments for their Diary of a Madman Tour, which resumed in April that year.
After only seven gigs with the band, though, Tormé stepped back from the Osbourne lineup to kickstart his solo career – Bernie Tormé and the Electric Gypsies – and was promptly replaced by Gillis, who saw out the rest of the tour.
Following the conclusion of the Diary of a Madman tour on August 8 in New Orleans, Gillis would go on to play with Osbourne only a handful more times: for the Speak of the Devil live album – assembled from a pair of New York dates in September – and seven shows for the corresponding tour’s UK leg that December.
The audio recording in question is from the back end of Gillis’ stint with Osbourne during the Diary days, and lets listeners hear this transitional period in Ozzy history in impressive quality.
For the show, which took place on July 9, Osbourne and Gillis tear through a number of Ozzy and Black Sabbath hits, including Over The Mountain, Crazy Train and Suicide Solution.
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At the 35 minute mark, Gillis is also given a chance to flex his chops in an uninterrupted seven-minute solo section that conveniently marks the halfway point in the setlist.
Following Gillis’ display, the evening is closed out with renditions of No Bones Movies – a deep cut that didn’t feature much on the tour – Believer, Iron Man and, as the grand finale, Paranoid.
The Osaka gig was, by Gillis’ own admission, far more successful than his first-ever live appearance with Ozzy had been. That show, which took place on April 13 in Binghamton, New York, was affectionately dubbed by the Night Ranger titan as “horrendous”.
Speaking to Guitar World, Gillis reflected, “My first night was quite a horrendous experience – because not only was I scared to death, at soundcheck, we only played seven out of the 18-song set, and Ozzy didn’t even show up. My first gig was sold out in Binghamton, New York for 8,000 people. That was basically my entrance into Ozzy’s world.
“I ended up botching Revelation (Mother Earth),” he added, “as I ended up coming into the fast section too early, and the whole band looked at me like, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ I stopped playing, regained my composure, and finished out the song and the set – with no other major mistakes.
“The next night before we went on stage, Sharon [Osbourne, Ozzy's wife] came up to me, saying, ‘Bradley, you’re doing a great job. But tonight… don’t fuck up.’”
Judging by the Osaka audio, Gillis learned quickly from his mistake – Revelation (Mother Earth) can be heard from the 17:54 mark, executed to near perfection without any lapses in timekeeping.
Gillis departed the Ozzy Osbourne at the end of 1982 along with Rudy Sarzo, who quit to rejoin Quiet Riot.
Speaking to Brave Words almost 30 years after the experience, Gillis spoke of his regret at not sticking around to record a studio album with Ozzy, though insisted he “made the right choice” following his period with the band.
“Doing that was a blast,” he said, “but towards the end was when Night Ranger was getting a record deal and I felt like I was hanging with a bunch of bros in Night Ranger. We had spent a couple of years trying to get a record deal and I rolled the dice, you know.
“That was a pretty exciting time in my life,” Gillis added. “Night Ranger went on to sell seventeen million records and I’m still in the band, so I think I made the right choice.”
The outgoing Gillis would later be replaced by Jake E. Lee, who helped Osbourne record his next studio album, 1983's Bark at the Moon.
Ozzy’s 1982 Osaka set has been released before, albeit unofficially, by the Japanese bootleg label Tarantura as Let’s Go Crazy Osaka on Black Friday 1982, which was released on double CD in 2012.