Ozzy Osbourne essentially announced his retirement from touring in an emotional statement earlier this week, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t play any more concerts. In fact, his guitarist Zakk Wylde is primed to take the stage with the Prince of Darkness whenever the latter is “ready to roll.”
While informing fans of the cancellation of his planned 2023 European/UK tour (which had been previously postponed numerous times), Osbourne lamented that his “touring days” were over due to his various physical limitations following a series of health setbacks. However, in the same statement he did specify that his “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.”
Wylde, who returned to Ozzy’s live band prior to the 2018 launch of the metal icon’s “No More Tours 2” farewell trek, offered support for his “hero” while leaving the door open for more shows in the future. The guitarist posted the following open letter to Ozzy via Instagram:
“Oz – keep hitting the iron, staying strong & positive. Everybody is praying & rooting for you – your strength, resilience & heart of a lion is just one of the many reasons you’re a hero to me & millions around the world – when you are ready to roll – we roll. I love you Oz. Zakk XOXO.”
Some of the possibilities that would allow Ozzy to perform without having to travel from city to city include a residency (perhaps in Las Vegas), a single-destination staging of Ozzfest, or occasionally headlining various major festivals across the world.
In addition to Wylde, Ozzy received support from Judas Priest, who were set to open for him on the canceled European/UK outing. The metal band also hinted that they are hoping to make up for the nixed dates:
“We send all our love and support for Ozzy and thank our fans in the UK and Ireland especially for your loyalty by standing with us … Right now we’re looking at feasible opportunities to see each other again soon and will post update’s accordingly. Love, Judas Priest.”
Ozzy, with Wylde as his guitarist, kicked off his farewell tour in 2018 with a series of European festival gigs and a North American leg. However, the injuries he sustained from a serious fall at home in early 2019, as well as his battle with Parkinson’s disease, forced him to postpone and eventually cancel any further dates.
Wylde, meanwhile, is as busy as ever. His band Black Label Society is currently co-headlining a North American tour with Anthrax, plus he’s a member of the revamped lineup of Pantera, who have a full 2023 North American tour scheduled, as well as shows opening for Metallica this year and in 2024.
Pick up tickets to the remaining Black Label Society shows here, and tickets to Pantera’s upcoming gigs here.
See the messages to Ozzy Osbourne from Zakk Wylde and Judas Priest in the Instagram posts below, as well as our “Two for the Road” episode featuring Wylde and Anthrax’s Scott Ian.