The wonderful world of Oz 

Ozzy Osbourne is alive and well in Whistler… sort of.

What: Wizard Of Oz, The Reunion Concert

Where: Buffalo Bill’s

When: Sunday, Aug. 10

Ozzfest, the summer concert tour criss-crossing the U.S.A. for its seventh year as we speak, has been such a success not only in terms of ticket sales (3.5 million stubs and counting) but in terms of sticking the finger up at those who said "it can’t be done".

Who said hard and fast heavy metal was dead? Who said Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath were has-beens? Certainly not Ozzy’s wife, Sharon Osbourne who created one of the biggest rock camps in history with the "Godfather of Metal" at its helm.

Virtually every band that has meant something in the loud rock universe this past decade has been featured on one of its bills: Tool, System of a Down, Limp Bizkit, Queens of the Stone Age, Pantera, Slipknot, Marilyn Manson, the list goes on. Ozzy and Sharon and the legacy of Black Sabbath have built an empire the fans have come to love and their subjects, the loyal head banging masses, arrive, without fail, in droves every year. No other touring festival comes close to matching that impressive benchmark.

In honour of all things Ozzy and Black Sabbath based, a group of long-haired, black T-shirt and tight-pant-wearing Canadian madmen have once again formed their favourite tribute show, called Wizard of Oz.

The six-year-strong collective of hired gun musicians with an appreciation for heavy metal mayhem decided it was time to bring back the dead.

"We haven’t played as Wizard of Oz for about 18 months now," said drummer and Whistler-based member, Bart Ings. "But it was time for a reunion show in light of Ozzfest doing the summer rounds and Whistler was the only place we all wanted to do it in. It's always a good time there for us. People really know how to party."

So what is it about Ozzy and Black Sabbath that keeps the fans coming back more than 30 years since they started?

"It’s music that will never die. It’ll just get stronger because it’s aggression, it’s loud and it’s powerful. Once you’re a heavy metal fan, you can’t turn back," explained Ings, who said the Wizard of Oz crowds range from regulation heavy metal fans to closet moms and dads and geeky teenage kids.

"Everybody loves Ozzy. He’s such a legend. It’s pretty amazing when you see him, he can barely speak, but once he hits the stage, he blows it away time after time."

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