33 Years Later, Randy Rhoads Still Amazes!
On February 5, 1982 at the tender and impressionable age of 15, I was in observance or Rock & Roll greatness. A 25 year old guitar player by the name of Randy Rhoads was at the right end of the stage playing guitar for former Black Sabbath frontman, Ozzy Osbourne. The sounds that were created would change how I viewed and listened to rock and roll.
I didn't really know the backstory to the band and what it would later become. Along with Rhoads was former Quiet Riot bandmate Rudy Sarzo on bass. Legendary drummer Tommy Aldrich and equally as talented keyboardist Don Airey.
Having wandered to the front of the stage in between forgetful opener "Starfighter" and the main act, I found myself on the rail front left of the Civic Center stage. The sound that was put out was so loud that many of the screaming guitar chords all warped into one long screeching sound. Ozzy's constant shouting of "I LOVE YOU ALL!!!" rang in my ears as the band played on and on. Trust me when I say that temporary hearing loss in my left ear lasted a week!
Then on March 19th, still amazed by the show and looking forward to the next one, I was visiting my friend Chris Staszuk's house. His step-father was at the table reading the paper when he asked if we had ever heard of Randy Rhoads? He proceeded to read about the plane that had crashed into their tour bus while "buzzing it" as a joke. The gifted guitarist, a make up person and pilot were all killed instantly. This was the first tragedy that I had ever experienced involving one of my rock idols. 33 years later, it's a void that has never been filled.
A true student of his craft, Randy Rhoads would schedule guitar lessons at stops along the tour. Not to give, but to take from someone else. Always learning, forever remembered as one of the true greats.