(Reproduced by permission of the Dink Musial Express.)
Rarely does a provincial system such as Dink get the opportunity to experience a live performance by an artiste of the calibre of “Ozzie” Tozawa. Such delights are all too often reserved for Q0. So it was a privilege for this reporter to attend a concert given last night by the classical metal diva at We Made It City’s Metrodome.
Tozawa, who is visiting Dink while researching material for her next academic publication (the red-headed headbanger is also an expert planetologist) agreed to an impromptu gig at the intimate venue with only a few weeks’ notice and performed as a chamber metal configuration with just synth programmer Brian Eerht.
The absence of the rest of Tozawa’s regular band certainly didn’t make for any loss of intensity as she powered through an evening of varied compositions including early period material War Pigs, Run to the Hills, Killing Machine, and Break Like the Wind, speed classics Master of Puppets, Cowboys from Hell, and Reign in Blood and concerti from the early progressive masters Rush, Dream Theater and Symphony X. From the late classical period, we heard compositions from Disaster Area, Cryosome and Squad XIV. Interspersed with these were Tozawa’s own compositions and a piece by haiku rap artist Yoshio Ishida (a long time friend of Tozawa) set to a Megadeth toccata.
Tozawa is, of course, well known for her adherence to the “period instruments” aesthetic principle. While this was not possible for those band functions being provided by Brian Eerht’s synth, Tozawa showed us that, not only did they know how to rock 400 years ago, they had the equipment to do so. Her antique Ibanez Universe guitar and Marshall stack were used to great effect during the encore of Smoke on the Water. Mostly she performed using modern copies of these venerable items.
Tozawa and Raymond were extremely tight and focused throughout the above, and the 4000 strong audience showed their appreciation and understanding of this sometimes demanding form. The standard rituals of the Ozzie chant, audience call and response sections, and drum solo were all executed flawlessly. The evening found Tozawa in fine voice from the high-pitched howl of the early period through the growl/shout of the speed compositions.
Less successful were the ultra-sax interludes by Wolfgang von Schlumberg. He is undoubtedly a talented player, but whether it was the fact that he is unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the exacting requirements of classical metal, or just failed to have sufficient regard for his audience, this listener was left feeling that he would have rather been studying space battles than sharing a stage with the hottest performer to cause hearing damage at the Metrodome for quite a while.
Excitement was not restricted to the performance, because after the gig von Schlumberg was attacked and shot by a crazed music fan. He is today recovering in hospital.
Tozawa left us with a hint that there may be the opportunity to see her performing in her other great love: Spaceball.
(thanks to Will Weir)