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Ozzy Osbourne plays for the geeks -- at least some of them -- at BlizzCon

August 24, 2009 |  4:09 pm


With one guitar chord, geekfest turned into Ozzfest when Ozzy Osbourne rocked the Anaheim Convention Center on Saturday night. The heavy metal legend performed during the closing ceremony of BlizzCon, an annual conference for video-game publisher Activision Blizzard that brings thousands of PC gamers to Orange County.

The 26,000 attendees spent two days testing unreleased Blizzard products ("StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty,"  "World of Warcraft: Cataclysm" and more). The crowd, which skewed overwhelmingly male, of course, unwound with Black Sabbath songs and Osbourne's miscellaneous favorites, including "I Don't Know" and "Mr. Crowley."

Osbourne commanded the thousands standing in front of their seats and in the small pit, as fans clapped and hopped in unison. Still, the audience remained unusually tame -- by heavy metal standards. That was until Osbourne and Co. launched into "Ironman," which sent the pit into a wild, shoving fury.

Osbourne seemed unusually vibrant for the 60-year-old rocker who has been tamed by an MTV reality show. He was in fact well-spoken and ...

... clear as he bantered between songs. Before launching into a fantastic rendition of "War Pigs," he shouted: "I can't understand what you're saying. Louder!"

Laughing and smiling as he marched around stage, you would think he was the happiest man in the world (of "Warcraft" -- sorry, had to do it). Many fans at the show had no doubt that Osbourne, who appeared in a "World of Warcraft" commercial, is an avid player of the online game. He's rumored to spend hours a day geeking out and leveling up his character.

Yet perhaps then he can understand why hordes of people chose to continue waiting in line for a last chance at playing the games instead of attending his concert in the next room.

Osbourne made no noticeable alterations to his set to cater to the uber-geek crowd. Yet after recently signing sponsorships with both MTV and World of Warcraft, Osbourne may not be the coolest metalhead anymore. At least he's gaining notoriety in other places, such as Blizzard's fictional word of Azeroth.

-- Mark Milian

Photo credit: Mark Milian / Los Angeles Times