Should Ozzy Osbourne retire now?

Another day, another unfortunate news story regarding the Prince of Darkness, his health, and his complication filled ‘final tour’. As we all know by now, heavy metal’s god father was one of what seemed to be about a hundred legendary acts last year to announce that they’d be saying goodbye to the road (KISS, Skynyrd, Paul Simon, Slayer, etc.). Since his announcement and the commencement of the ‘No More Tours 2’ tour however, Ozzy has seemingly faced more troubles (almost all directly health related) than any of the other departing performers. From having to postpone a huge chunk of dates last year due to a staph infection, to postponing the tour’s entire European leg last week, the mad man’s health keeps interrupting his plans to go out on top. Should Ozzy skip the big farewell and just hang it up for his own well being?

Following last weeks announcement that the European leg will be moved to begin September, Osbourne’s wife and manager Sharon Osbourne took to social media yesterday to update Ozzy’s fans on his condition and the message was very disheartening.

“As some of you may have heard, Ozzy was admitted to hospital following some complications from the flu. His doctors feel this is the best way to get him on a quicker road to recovery. Thanks to everyone for their concern and love.”

The post, which seemed to try to ease everybody’s thoughts and make it appear as if everything is OK, had the opposite effect on me and many others as we’ve seen this story before where the headlines go from ‘aging star checked into hospital for minor concerns’ to ‘aging star succumbs to illness’ within a matter of days.

Whenever an older person who has gained a certain amount of notoriety directly from damage that they’ve done to their body falls ill you automatically start to worry, but what doesn’t help in this case is that Ozzy does not seem to be in good spirits about the whole ordeal, or at least didn’t seem to be when this all first started. Instead of posting feel good pictures from the hospital of the rock star giving the thumbs up like he did during last years staph infection fiasco, when announcing the tours postponement he actually seemed to be beating himself up and feeling guilty.

“I’m completely devastated for having to postpone the European leg of my tour. It just seems that since October everything I touch has turned to shit.
First the staph infection in my thumb and now coming down with the flu and bronchitis. I want to apologize to all of my fans who have been so loyal over the years, my band, my crew and to Judas Priest for letting you all down. However, I promise the tour with Judas Priest will be completed. It’s being rescheduled right now to start in September. Again, I apologize to everyone. God Bless. Love you all, Ozzy.”

When the news of dates being postponed first started to break, the story was that the cause of postponement wasn’t necessarily for standard recovery time but rather a precautionary measure due not only to Ozzy’s fragile state and age but also because of the intensity of his performances and touring. He definitely is not your average 70 year old performer who gets on stage and sits behind a mic. Not only does he tour heavily, playing multiple shows a week many back to back with hundreds of miles in between, Ozzy still delivers the same charismatic high energy performances that I imagine are similar in tone to shows in the early days of Black Sabbath.

I got a chance to see Ozzy perform during the solar eclipse in 2017 at Moonstock and as amazing as he was, I was literally concerned that he was going to die right there on stage. The weather was ‘feels like’ 114 and I was dying just sitting there wearing jeans and t-shirt, then Ozzy came out and rocked hard for a solid half hour wearing thick dark clothing. He played for over an hour, and though he did a wardrobe change about halfway through and finished the set half naked, I was shocked at how agile he still seemed to be.

So what next? According to Sharon, being in care at a hospital is the quickest way for him to recover, but what is the plan for post recovery? Does he pick up right where he left off and get right back on the road? No matter how much time you put between now and the next time he heads out on tour, I feel that unless he dials back his workload tremendously (less shows a week, more time between shows, being less active onstage, etc.) he’s just going to keep ending up in these kinds of situations. 70 year old men aren’t typically built to withstand that kind of lifestyle, especially 70 year old men who have lived as crazy and wild as Ozzy Osbourne. Nonetheless Ozzy does seem to be indestructible and he loves performing, but he seems to be reaching his limits quicker and quicker.

Though dubbed the ‘No More Tours 2’ tour (play on ‘No More Tears’ and second final tour) Ozzy has said that he mostly is just planning on dialing back the amount of shows he plays and probably isn’t going to ever actually officially retire from the stage. The tour, which started last year is really just a last hurrah kind of thing as far as global treks go. There’s also no established end date for the tour which was estimated to last about three years and hit pretty much every major city on the planet.

Seeing Ozzy Osbourne sitting down to perform may not feel right but it may be the only way to continue if he wishes to carry on with his rigorous tour schedule, toning down the shows…a lot. Real fans won’t mind how he performs and will just appreciate the chance to see a living legend and not only has he earned the right to perform however he feels or can, but he also has built up a big enough name for himself that selling tickets won’t be an issue regardless of how he decides to hit the stage.
Or he could just retire now, call off the tour, focus on getting back to solid good health and just skip to what was planned for after the tour wraps up, just a few shows a year. Doing this could also help drive the demand for certain festivals, for instance if he continues to play Ozz-Fest every year and maybe a few of the other big festivals both stateside and international. If those appearances are the public’s only opportunity to catch the prince of darkness, there’s a guarantee that those events will be successful.

Whether he retires immediately and only plays select shows, dials down his performance or just carries on the way he has been, I wish him the best and will always be a fan. He has proven over and over to be immortal so I don’t know why these recent events have me so concerned, it’s just that it’s usually never good to be talked about on mainstream media (CNN, NBC, FOX, etc.) and I’ve heard Ozzy’s name come up way to much.-Johnny K

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