RECENT POSTS
 
 

The ‘Prince of Darkness’ sees the light

   

Ozzfest 2006
Nissan Pavilion
Bristow, Va.
August 6, 2006


Main Stage:

SYSTEM OF A DOWN, DISTURBED, AVENGED SEVENFOLD,
HATEBREED, LACUNA COIL, DRAGONFORCE

Second Stage:
OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, ATREYU, UNEARTH,
BLEEDING THROUGH, NORMA JEAN, A LIFE ONCE LOST,
BAD ACID TRIP, FULL BLOWN CHAOS, WALLS OF JERICHO,
BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, STRAPPING YOUNG LAD,
THE RED CHORD, ALL THAT REMAINS


By GREG MAKI

At all of the concerts I have attended I don’t know if I have ever seen anything quite as bizarre as 57-year-old Ozzy Osbourne performing outside at 4 p.m. under the hot August sun. The very thought of it seems unnatural. But there he was, clad in a long-sleeve black T-shirt and jeans, headlining the second stage at this stop of the 11th annual Ozzfest.

At this show, after 13 bands whetted the audience’s collective appetite, Ozzy took the stage with a smile that never left his face. It’s likely been years since he’s been so up close and personal with his fans. He thrived on that connection throughout his 50-minute set. Backed by his extremely capable band of guitar god Zakk Wylde, longtime Rob Zombie bassist Rob “Blasko” Nicholson and drummer Mike Bordin, the Ozzman, whose voice sounded stronger than it has during the last couple summers, tore threw classic after classic, pulling most of his material from his Blizzard of Ozz and No More Tears albums. The highlights also included the Black Sabbath tune “Into the Void,” which has been a rarity in Ozzy’s solo sets, and a guitar solo by Wylde featuring “The Star Spangled Banner.” The one-two punch of “Crazy Train” and “Paranoid” ended the show, but rather than sending fans to their cars, it had them scurrying to the main stage for the remainder of the day’s action.

OZZY OSBOURNE SET LIST: I Don’t Know, Mr. Crowley, Bark at the Moon, Suicide Solution, Into the Void, Guitar Solo, I Don’t Want to Change the World, Road to Nowhere, Crazy Train, Paranoid

England ’s Dragonforce had what is always the most difficult job at Ozzfest: opening the main stage. Following Ozzy made that task even harder this year. The band’s power metal sound, complete with some of the most ridiculous shredding you will ever hear, made them seem almost like aliens on this tour. Metal is a more diverse genre than most give it credit for, and the crowd, though less than energetic, was appreciative.

The intensity picked up a bit for Lacuna Coil, who graduated from the second stage of Ozzfest 2004. Dueling vocalists Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro carry the show backed by a tight band. Their set consisted almost exclusively of songs from their latest release, Karmacode. Highlights included the single “Our Truth” and a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence.”

LACUNA COIL SET LIST: Fragile, To the Edge, Fragments of Faith, Enjoy the Silence, What I See, Heaven’s a Lie, Our Truth

The hardcore sounds of Ozzfest veterans Hatebreed followed, further energizing the crowd. Avenged Sevenfold, clearly aiming to show skeptics that they belong on a metal tour, leaned on their heavier material and threw in a cover of Pantera’s “Walk” with guest vocals by Bleeding Through’s Brandan Schieppati.

AVENGED SEVENFOLD SET LIST: Unholy Confessions, Burn It Down, Walk, To End the Rapture, Guitar Solo, Eternal Rest, Bat Country

Disturbed, another old favorite of Ozzfest, took the stage with the presence of a true headliner. Many still dismiss them as nu-metal, but, mostly due to the dynamic vocals of David Draiman, I see them as this generation’s Judas Priest. Their set list gave fans a tour of all three of their albums, with the strongest tracks coming from their 2005 release Ten Thousand Fists (“Just Stop,” “Deify,” the title track, “Stricken” and a cover of Genesis’ “Land of Confusion.”). The crowd response was the most enthusiastic of the day.

DISTURBED SET LIST: Guarded, Liberate, Fear, Remember, 10,000 Fists, Just Stop, Stupify, Deify, Prayer, Voices, Land of Confusion, The Game, Stricken, Down with the Sickness

With Ozzy already having come and gone, System of Down served as main stage headliners. Their schizophrenic sound and performance, though not to my liking, certainly was not uninteresting. The thousands of fans who remained for their 90-minute set obviously hold a different opinion than me. It was interesting to note that outspoken frontman Serj Tankian avoided talk of politics—and everything else—between songs.

SYSTEM OF A DOWN SET LIST: Soldier Side - Intro, B.Y.O.B., Revenga, Attack, Needles, Deer Dance, Suggestions, Psycho, Chop Suey!, Lonely Day, Kill Rock ‘N Roll, Old School Hollywood, Violent Pornography, Cigaro, Radio/Video, Hypnotize, Lost in Hollywood, Question!, War?, Aerials, Toxicity, Sugar

The day began at the second stage at the ungodly hour of 9 a.m. , about 14 hours before System of a Down left the stage. Bands cycled through short sets, barely scratching the surfaces of their catalogs. Standouts included Strapping Young Lad, Bleeding Through, Unearth and Black Label Society. Zakk Wylde pulled double duty again this year, leading BLS through a thunderous 40-minute set before returning with Ozzy. The BLS followers add more to their ranks each year and it’s easy to see why by watching the band perform. Wylde is one of the few remaining guitar greats and also a capable frontman. The song selection provided an overview of the band’s career for the uninitiated but steered clear of the upcoming album Shot to Hell. And, of course, there were guitar solos. Wylde knows what the fans want and he always delivers. He and his bandmates seemed to relish the intimate second stage setting.

BLACK LABEL SOCIETY SET LIST: The Beginning … at Last, Suffering Overdue, Bleed for Me, Suicide Messiah, Fire It Up, Guitar Solo, Been a Long Time, Say What You Will, Stillborn

Ozzfest 2006 showed that it doesn’t much matter when or where Ozzy plays anymore. The tour has become bigger than any one person. Its namesake didn’t even appear at every show this year and the legions of metalheads still came out in force. Ozzfest is an institution, an event fans anticipate all year long. It’s kind of like Christmas, starring Ozzy—if you’re lucky enough to have him in your town—as Santa. Time to start counting down the shopping days until Ozzfest 2007.