UGLY KID JOE frontman Whitfield Crane and the 35-piece Philharmonia Australia will celebrate Ozzy Osbourne's 71st birthday by paying homage to BLACK SABBATH and other rock classics this December.
After a European tour, Crane made himself at home in Verona, Italy — the birthplace of classical music and opera, and during that time the vocalist made his dream of marrying these two genres a reality.
The end result was a sold-out performance with Whit fronting the Machiavelli Orchestra performing a show comprising of SABBATH classics, choice cuts from Osbourne's solo career, and the prime movers from Whit's own 30-year catalogue.
The music was all scored by fast-rising Italian conductor Andrea Basstoni — whose performance credits have led him to be one of the world's most sought-after young conductors in modern classical music.
Now, with the assistance of good friend and co-producer Australian tennis legend Pat Cash, ORCHESTRA OF DOOM arrives in Australia and will see Whit perform with the Philarmonia Australia Orchestra.
Says Crane: "Orchestra Of Doom is all analogue, all flow and poetry in motion. We don’t have Marshall stacks, just a 35-piece orchestra and something beautiful flowing through us all; this is a special thing with a life of its own.
"How does it feel to be playing with an orchestra? It feels terrifying, but the energy and excitement makes everyone feel alive and at its heart is BLACK SABBATH — it's the perfect storm!"
Orchestra Of Doom will perform at Australia's Melbourne Palais Theatre on December 3, and Sydney Darling Harbour Theatre on December 7.
Pre-sale tickets are available from Ticketek and Ticketmaster beginning July 19.
In a 2015 interview with Songfacts, Crane recalled the time when he served as the fill-in singer for BLACK SABBATH rehearsals during the late '90s. He said: "I jammed with BLACK SABBATH December 3rd, 4th, and 5th 1997 in Birmingham, England when they were recording those particular dates for a live SABBATH record. They had Thom Panunzio back there with an 18-wheeler truck, with a full-on studio backstage at the NEC. So it was the first of a series of reunion shows that included the original SABBATH lineup — that includes [drummer] Bill Ward."
He continued: "So when I got there, I was like, 'Holy shit. This is so awesome — we're going to see BLACK SABBATH... the real SABBATH.' And they needed to run daily through soundchecks to get their stuff tight, whether it be the studio backstage or just the players themselves. Their sound is kind of like a jazz band if you think about it, and they needed a vocal cue."
Crane added: 'From what I can gauge, Ozzy [Osbourne, BLACK SABBATH singer] was like, 'I don't want to sing a whole set and then sing another set.' And fair enough — I wouldn't want to, either. But of course, I would. [Laughs] And I got a note on my door at the hotel in Birmingham, that said, 'We need your help,' and that included me going to jam with BLACK SABBATH for three days — the full set, on the full PA, on Ozzy's mic, with the band loud as fuck, in Birmingham at the NEC. That did happen, and what a good trip."
As previously reported, Crane will embark on his first-ever solo tour in September. This unique show, dubbed "Playing All The Songs", will allow Whit to play tracks from his extensive back catalog for the very first time, including songs from ANOTHER ANIMAL, MEDICATION, LIFE OF AGONY, YELLOWCAKE, RICHARDS/CRANE and, of course, UGLY KID JOE. A impressive cast of characters has assembled to bring these tracks to life, including Matt Reynolds (HAGGARD CAT) on guitar, Tom Marsh (HAGGARD CAT) on drums, and the inimitable Toshi (SLAVES TO GRAVITY) on bass.