The night Ozzy caused a Rock City Riot

18th July 1988 – Rock City, Nottingham

This is one gig I did go to but I don’t have a ticket stub to show for it. That’s because the gig didn’t actually take place and I had to return the ticket to the venue to claim a refund (I was about to turn 21 and needed the money!)

The Ozzy Osbourne riot has since gone down in Rock City legend for all the wrong reasons. I will leave it to the newspaper article to explain what happened on that crazy night in Nottingham but my recollections are:

  • Rock City was packed to the rafters and absolutely buzzing with anticipation before the gig
  • Ozzy was a major force in rock at that time so for him to be playing such a small venue was a major coup for the club (capacity less than 2,000)
  • We had a couple of Red Stripes while Jagged Edge played their support slot
  • The dry ice was pumping out and the stage was set for Ozzy’s grand entrance. Then we waited…..and we waited…and we waited…
  • Then came the tannoy announcement that Ozzy was ‘ill’ back at his hotel and wouldn’t be performing that night
  • Some fans (including us) thought it was part of the show and laughed along with the joke.
  • Then the lights went up and it became obvious that the Prince of Darkness really wouldn’t be gracing us with this presence
  • The place went up very quickly!
  • We stood and watched as fans (including some big hairy biker types) invaded the stage and pulled some of the the set apart. Drums and part of the PA came crashing down…
  • The police arrived in numbers and tried to restore some law and order, one poor copper getting on to the stage and getting assaulted
  • As we exited the venue the mayhem continued into the foyer, the box office window was smashed and fruit machines pulled over and emptied of their loot
  • People stood on the steps to the venue demanding their money back

It was a night of pure chaos, and for me Ozzy went from hero to zero in a couple of hours. I’d previously seen him commanding his audience at Donington in 1984 and 1986 and he’d become one of my icons. But that was over, for now at least and I was so fucking angry…

Front page of the Nottingham Evening Post, 19th July 1988

This wasn’t the only Rock City gig that didn’t happen for me in the 80’s but the other one was for a very different reason. We all have gigs we WISHED we’d been to (and that’s a topic for another blog post). However the night I DIDN’T see Guns N’ Roses in the same venue is a whole other story… ! (See link below)

Guns ‘n’ Roses or Trad Jazz?

The one that got away! Read about it HERE

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