by Keavin Wiggins
The end of summer was near, but there was one final major fiesta on the agenda for Southern California concert goers. On Labor Day weekend the Ozzfest hit Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion for the final show in the metal tour which roared across North America all summer. It is said that this will be the final Ozzfest so this show may have indeed been the last of the line for the annual festival that spent the later part of the 90's as the MUST SEE event of the summer. On the other hand one of this years Ozzfest headliners Pantera may just take over the lead from Ozzy and put together their own Ozzfest or should we say Panterafest! This according to what Rex Brown told antiMUSIC in an interview earlier this summer.
The massive Blockbuster Pavilion was the perfect venue for the show. By noon thousands of metal fans were packing the venue in anticipation of the mayhem about to occur on stage. The Deadlights kicked things off on the main stage. With their potent brand of modern metal they got the crowd moving and set the expectations high for all the bands to follow. Lead vocalist Duke held firm command of the audience with his primal screams. Guitarist Billy Roan and the rhythmic assault of Jerry Montano's Bass plus Jim Falcone hard hitting drums provided the music that left the crowd screaming for more after the band raged through a half hour of pure metal power!
After the Deadlights wrapped up their powerhouse set we headed over to the second stage to catch Reveille perform. The second stage was set up in a grassy area where fans sat in groups in front of the stage. Having seen Reveille play at the Whiskey last year I knew what to expect, but clearly many in the audience had no idea what was in store for them as the sat lazily on the grass under the mild California sun. Living up to their name, Reveille took the stage with a sonic assault that brought the audience to their feet. Their potent variety of political rap core set the crowd off as a mosh pit was formed before the band reached their first chorus. The remarkable thing about Reveille is you don't even have to be into the whole "rapcore" scene to get caught up in their high energy performance. The energy level on the stage is so intense that the adrenaline level of the audience goes through the roof and you find yourself captivated by their performance, involuntarily pounding your fist in the air and for some mixing it up in the pit. At the end of the performance the guy standing next to me turned and said, " You know I hate this rap metal s***, but these guys went off!" You only have to witness their performance to become a quick convert.
Back on the main stage we were treated to a surprise performance from Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society. A long time veteran of arena size crowds, Zakk knows how to play up to the audience. With his southern metal style music he rocked through a solid set taking a break between songs to espouse the virtues of Beer and to take pop shots at bands like Blink-182. Needless to say the Ozzfest crowd ate it all up and Zakk proved that he could rock an audience just as hard now in the duel role of vocalist and lead guitarist as his did back in his days with Ozzy.
The second stage had a lot to offer and the area was packed with wall to wall people as soon as the gates opened. Bands like Kittie and their ferocious feline metal attack and rap core new comers Shuvel kept the audience rockin' all day long. They set the stage for Soulfly's headlining performance. Max Cavalera proved there was life after Sepultura and by playing a mix of material off of his bands debut solo album and his new release he gave the fans what they came to see.. a kick ass rock show!
A twelve hour festival can be a lot to bear for even the most ardent concert goer, especially with as potent a lineup as this years Ozzfest. All of the bands on the mainstage (ok maybe not methods of mayhem) had earned their slot on the stage. Static-X played the hell out of their nu-metal songs. Incubus lived up to their critical praise with a stylistic performance that didn't disappoint. Tommy Lee's new creation Method's of Mayhem was interesting. Seems Tommy has traded in his lipstick and spandex for Marilyn Manson's leftovers. Sadly the performance seemed to be more about making a fashion statement then playing music. Too each their own, but I would rather see Tommy back with Motley Crue then trying to pass himself off as the next Trent Reznor or Marilyn Manson.
As the sun began to go down, Ozzfest veterans Godsmack took the stage and got the crowd to their feet with a letter-perfect rendition of Whatever. Bassist Robbie Merril danced around like a mad man as vocalist Sully Erna and the rest of the band put together a great set of material off of their debut album. A few fans dared to sit down half way through the set and Sully had a few words for them, "You arenít sitting at home with a remote watching MTV. This is a f***ing Rock show! Get up or get the f*** out!" He then encouraged the fans in the lawn section to turn the area in to one huge mosh pit. What can you say about Godsmack, they pack a powerful punch and a rightly considered one of the best of the new breed of metal bands out right now.
By the time Godsmack left the stage the sun had fully set and the crowd was pumped up with anticipation for what was to come next. The house lights faded and the pavilion was filled with the sound of ZZ Top's "Tush". A drum roll followed and Pantera made themselves known, fans were screamin "Pan-f***in-tera" at the top of their lungs as Phil, Rex, Dimebag and Vinnie turned this metal fest into a once in a life time event. With the overwhelming double bass drum leading the way Phil screamed his heart out as Dimebag Darrel provided his patented guitar crunch. By the time Pantera played "This Love", it was absolute mayhem in the audience with people jumping over seats to get closer to the action on stage. It doesn't get better than this. Standing amidst thousands of fans banging their heads and pounding their fist in the air in unison. Only a band like Pantera can take utter pandemonium to this level. One word can describe the experience of seeing Pantera live - Unbelievable!
The show could have stopped right there and the fans would have gotten more than their money's worth. Yet the Godfather of metal and the namesake for the festival had to bring the show to a close in his own special way.
The Ozzfest has come to be known as much for Ozzy's funny video intro as the performances. This years film topped them all with Ozzy finding himself stuck in Britney Spears and N Sync videos, recreating the classic apple pie scene from American Pie, fashioning himself as an Austin Powers twin and playing the little boy that sees dead people in the Sixth Sense. The man is nuts and that's why we love him.
The stage lights were dim as Ozzy appeared in a revolving throne sitting high above the drum riser. He sat like a king upon his throne and the fans screamed their hearts out for their rock n roll rebel. Once the throne stopped revolving Ozzy descended onto the stage, walked up to the mic and got the band going with a mesmerizing performance of "I Don't Know" followed by the Black Sabbath classic "War Pigs".
Ozzy is a mad man on stage, pacing quickly back in forth and taking every opportunity to drench the people in the first few rows with water. For the Blizzard of Ozz this time around Ozzy put together a stellar collection of musicians including Robert Trujillo on bass, John Sinclair on Keyboards and a six string wiz kid by the name of Joe Holmes (he was once a protégé of Randy Rhodes).
Holmes came abroad the Blizzard of Oz for the Osmosis tour and had big shoes to fill with the departure of Zakk Wylde, not to mention attempting to live up to the legendary Randy Rhodes and the stylistic Jake E Lee. This he accomplished and more. Of all the former Ozzy axemen, Joe comes closest to Zakk in style but he also has the classical underpinning of Randy Rhodes and the flashy hammer on flash of Jake E Lee which he demonstrated during an extended guitar solo to Suicide Solution.
How do you follow up an amazing guitar solo? Ozzy took his love for dousing the audience with water to the extreme. During the climax of Suicide Solution, a large water cannon descended from the lighting rig. The cannon had a seat for Ozzy to strap into which he did and it was up, up and away as Ozzy drenched the first 25 to 30 rows with water for about 10 minutes. Once he came down the band finished up the set with "I Don't Want to Change the World", "Crazy Train", and the encore "Paranoid". Although it turned out to be a short set missing such Ozzy classics as "Over the Mountain" and "Bark at the Moon", Ozzy rocked the crowd hard for 60 water soaked minutes.
So there you have it. If you missed the Ozzfest this year we here at antiMUSIC feel for you, because you missed one hell of a show! We hope this isn't really the end. But if it is, should we now prepare for Panterafest 2001?
All Photos taken by Debbie Seagle. Copyright 2000 Groovequest Productions. all Rights Reserved.
Keavin Wiggins is the Managing
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