I went to Ozzfest a few weeks ago at the Comcast Center on 8/24…..I’m just getting around to reviewing it now because there really wasn’t much to review. Let me explain…..
I am an Ozzfest veteran, I have been to the 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 shows at the same venue. Each time I was in as soon as the gates opened and I caught as many Metal bands as possible. When the 2003 Ozzfest lineup was announced, I made the concious decision NOT to attend because of the ticket prices vs. what I thought was a poor lineup. Since that missed show, I didn’t attend another Ozzfest until this year. Maybe it was the small run of tour dates (six U.S. shows) or maybe it was because I was going with a group of friends, either way I put down the $100 for a ticket. None of my friends were interested in the smaller bands so the whole point of going was to see Black Label Society, Halford, Motley Crue and Ozzy. I wouldn’t have minded seeing Kataklysm, Skeletonwitch or Kingdom Of Sorrow but they weren’t top priority. So we get to the parking lot and the sky opens up with a steady drizzle that made the tailgate BBQ nice and soggy but I put up the tent and we had a decent feast. The plan was to head in around 4:15pm for the BLS set at 4:30 on the second stage…..we got to the gate about 4:25pm and found out the entire second stage schedule was cancelled due to inclement weather! Now I have been to Ozzfest many times, and I have been to a ton of outdoor shows in rain worse than what was coming down so I was shocked that a full cancellation was in effect. With nothing left to do it was off to the covered pavilion to our seats so we could dry off a little and wait for the main attractions.
Nonpoint & Devildriver
I don’t like either band but, I’ll be honest, I also never really heard their music. Actually, I saw Nonpoint at Ozzfest 2001 and I gave the first song off their new album, MIRACLE (2010), a spin when I got a free promo copy from their label. Like I said, not a fan of either band and both performances didn’t help the cause. All I heard was noise and unintelligible shouting and there was nothing extraordinary about Nonpoint or Devildriver for me. That said, I can tell you both bands had large followings and got a ton of applause, I assume that they get played on local Boston radio station 107.3 WAAF and Providence, RI’s 94.1 WHJY. I don’t listen to current Rock radio so I don’t get the appeal but I will listen to the new Nonpoint and review it at some point before the end of the year and I will grab a Devildriver CD if I find it used at a really low price.
Made In Hell
Locked And Loaded
Nailed To The Gun (Fight song)
Made Of Metal (new song)
Heart Of A Lion (Judas Priest song)
Never Satisfied (Judas Priest song)
Like I mentioned before, we were there to see the four headliners but I know I was the only Halford fan. I knew going in that the band was going to play mostly from the Halford band catalogue and maybe we would get a Judas Priest song or two. I am a huge fan of Rob’s solo career so I was psyched to get all the RESURRECTION and CRUCIBLE songs but the highlights for me were the lone Fight track, ‘Nailed To The Gun’, and the new song, ‘Made Of Metal’, from Halford’s upcoming new album of the same name. It wouldn’t be a Rob Halford performance if he didn’t touch upon Judas Priest so he pulled out two deep tracks with ‘Heart Of A Lion’ (a song demoed in 1985 for the TURBO album) and ‘Never Satisfied’ from SAD WINGS OF DESTINY (1976). Those two songs were unbelievable! Turns out that this show was on Rob’s birthday so, at the end of the set, the crew brought out a cake and the crowd sang Happy Birthday to Rob Halford…..a cool moment that ended a flawless performance.
Motley Crue setlist:
Kickstart My Heart
Shout At The Devil
Saints Of Los Angeles
Looks That Kill
Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
Same Ol’ Situation
Home Sweet Home
Mutherfucker Of The Year
Helter Skelter (Beatles cover)
Girls, Girls, Girls
Of all the headliners, the one band I knew would definitely get the arena rocking was Motley Crue. I’ve seen just about every tour since the GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS tour back in 1988 and they Crue deliver each time. Forget the fact that Vince Neil sings only have the words most of the time, the band has a ton of hits and always plays a deep track or two in their set and the musicianship is usually flawless. The bottom line is that the Crue put on a great show and this one was no exception. The band came out to the high-powered opener ‘Kickstart My Heart’ and put the pedal to the Metal! Look at the setlist…..it’s just hit after hit along with two songs from their last studio album, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES (2009), and a deep cut from SHOUT AT THE DEVIL (1983) with the Beatles’ tune ‘Helter Skelter’. I’m an old school Crue fan, I was there at the beginning, so I love hearing tracks from the first two recordsso ‘Live Wire’, ‘Looks That Kill’ and ‘Shout At The Devil’ went over huge with me but I would have liked another track or two…..maybe if the set was longer because you can’t cut any of the other hits out! Like I mentioned, Vince Neil still only sings half the words but he sounds better (if that’s possible) and the band was tight and dead on. I would say the performance of the night fell to guitarist Mick Mars…..it’s hard to watch that guy stand up or walk but he played flawlessly! The other three guys may be the faces of Motley Crue but Mick Mars is definitely the backbone. All in all, I’d say this was a solid performance and the band had the crowd looking for more.
Bark At The Moon
Let Me Hear You Scream
I Don’t Know
Fairies Wear Boots (Black Sabbath cover)
Fire In The Sky
Road To Nowhere
Into The Void (Black Sabbath cover)
Shot In the Dark
Rat Salad (Black Sabbath cover)
Iron Man (Black Sabbath cover)
I Don’t Want To Change The World
Mama I’m Coming Home
Paranoid (Black Sabbath cover)
Here’s the thing about Ozzy…..his performances are hit or miss. I’ve seen Ozzy mulitple times on every solo tour since NO MORE TEARS (1991) and he is usually really good, the one exception being the 2001/2002 tour for DOWN TO EARTH. As I mentioned before, I’ve seen Ozzfest from 1998 to 2002 and now this one (that’s 6!) and he has performed solo on four of them, each one hit or miss. The two Ozzfests that I saw with Black Sabbath headlining were really great so is it a case of Ozzy being too comfortable in his own material or that ultimately Black Sabbath is more than just Ozzy? Either way, I was excited to see Ozzy because he finally released a new record that wasn’t a letdown, SCREAM being the best album since 1995’s OZZMOSIS.
First thing I noticed was that Ozzy sounded great…..he opened with the classic ‘Bark At The Moon’ and his vocals were the best I’ve heard since the OZZMOSIS tour. The new band was really powerful, especially new guitarist Gus G. (Firewind, Dream Evil) who added a new edge to the overall sound. Nothing against Zakk Wylde but sometimes a new member can add a new spark. Same thing goes for bassist Blasko, drummer Tommy Clufetos and keyboardist Adam Wakeman…..these guys all had an energy to them that seemed to revive the Prince Of Darkness to put on an inspired show. The Blasko/Clufetos rhythm section is solid, no surprise as they have worked together in Rob Zombie’s band, giving them a modern sound and Adam Wakeman is a solid keyboardist/guitarist much like his father Rick Wakeman of the Progressive Rock band Yes. If I had to pick a standout performance it would definitely be Ozzy because his singing is much improved this time around but Gus G.’s guitar playing was dead on to Randy Rhoads, Jake E. Lee and Zakk Wylde proving that he is a versatile young guitar player.
The setlist was pretty good although a little predictable. All the usual hits were there (‘Bark At The Moon’, ‘I Don’t Know’, ‘Crazy Train’, and ‘Mr. Crowley’) but I was a little surprised by ‘Shot In The Dark’ because usually Ozzy & Sharon dismiss THE ULTIMATE SIN (1986) so much so that it’s the only Ozzy studio album deleted from the available catalog! Ozzy played two deep tracks with ‘Fire In The Sky’ from NO REST FOR THE WICKED (1988) and the excellent ‘Road To Nowhere’ from NO MORE TEARS. As with any Ozzy concert, the setlist had some Black Sabbath songs included…..this time around five but one was a solo section for the rest of the band when they did ‘Rat Salad’ from PARANOID (1970). ‘Fairies Wear Boots’ and ‘Into The Void’ were excellent, so were ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Paranoid’ but I am sick of those two songs after so many years. Bottom line…..one of the best times I’ve seen Ozzy live in a long time!