Ozzfest 2010 Hits Camden - Official Report

August 26, 2010, 8 years ago

by Mark Gromen

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The venue has changed names a couple of times since then, but the open air amphitheatre in Camden, NJ (across the river from Philly) once again hosted ROB HALFORD and OZZY OSBOURNE. In ’04, the JUDAS PRIEST singer fronted BLACK SABBATH when Ozzy was unable to play his own festival. License plates from Mass., NY State and Ohio were visible in the traffic line, waiting to park. Ozzfest has become a family affair, lots of parents with their pre-teen kids. The traveling spectacle has been scaled back to just a six-pack (Hey, where’d they get that idea? Snicker, snicker!) with fewer attractions and the second stage is now within the confines of the arena. That said, Ozzy, MÖTLEY CRÜE and Halford playing in the big house and the kiddies spend the afternoon listening to newer sounds. Like a shift change, many of the kids lose interest late in the day, just as the old timers are getting excited.

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Despite postings on the internet, a call to Maurizio, from Kataklysm and in-house sheets printed day-of-show, the running order was 15 minutes to half an hour EARLIER than announced. First band of the day SKELETONWITCH were supposed to be on at 1pm, but were actually finished (!) by then. I assume this was because of the potential for rain throughout the day, but it’s amazing the (dis)organization involved. Guess we should be happy it was only six dates, or things might have really been screwed up.

The ‘Witch served an early morning southern Ohio satanic ass whipping, with the likes of ‘Crushed Beyond Dust’, frontman Chance Garnett brandishing spiked gauntlets. The second stage saw the biggest crowd for KATAKLYSM. The Canucks gave any early arrivals not interested in staking out a spot on the grass to watch Ozzy (7-8 hours later!) a dose of northern hyperblast, including a pair of newbies from the forthcoming Heaven’s Venom. Alongside vintage material like ‘In Shadows & Dust’ and the set ending ‘Crippled And Broken’, they introduced the thunder plod of ‘Push The Venom’ and a more frenetic ‘Numb & Intoxicated’. Maurizio Iacono adopted the local vernacular, peppering his speech with plenty of expletives (as did all the second stage bands).

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The sun shone brightly, some seeking shelter from the blazing rays, as GOATWHORE took the stage. The most outstanding element of their performance was dedicating the title track from their latest (’09 Carving Out The Eyes Of God) to the one-man bullhorn religious crusader aurally accosting Ozzfest attendees at the front gate. SAVIOURS (ironic name?) took a similar attack, asking someone from the crowd to bring guitar playing frontman Austin Barber the megaphone. The dual guitar foursome play a mish-mosh of stoner thrash and while the bottom four acts on the bill rotate, they certainly aren’t in the league of Skeletonwitch, Kataklysm or even Goatwhore.

Was interested in seeing KINGDOM OF SORROW, but where was guitarist Kirk Windstein? Guess there was a commitment with DOWN somewhere in the world (doubtful CROWBAR would take precedent over Ozzfest). HATEBREED’s Jamey Jasta led the troops through a blinding set that kicked off with ‘Begging For The Truth’ and included brand new material like ‘Behind The Blackest Tears’, ‘Enlightened To Extinction’ and ‘Monuments Of Ash’. They also aired ‘Hear This Prayer For Her’ and ‘Free The Fallen’ off the debut, before ending with ‘Buried In Black’.

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Perhaps that guy at the front gate, with the bullhorn, maybe his “boss” has a sense of humor after all, as DROWNING POOL played in a deluge, some of my photography brethren seeking refuge underneath the stage! The rains continued, joined by a couple flashes of lightning and the odd rumble of thunder. It turned into a giant wet t-shirt contest, unfortunately entirely too many man-boobs. Apparently there was a major storm in the area (flooding and power outages reported on the news), but the only casualty at Ozzfest was BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and judging from the number of people sporting back patches and t-shirts, quite a few disappointments. As the clock struck 5pm, just before the main (sheltered) stage was to see action, the sun broke out and several hundred flocked to the abandoned (and now being disassembled) second stage, in vain. Despite shouts of “Zakk!, Zakk!” there was no official announcement (power chords and microphones already packed away) nor any appearance by the BLS guitarist. Would have been a nice gesture to his dejected fans.

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So on to the main stage. NON-POINT, is there a truer moniker? What’s the point. DEVILDRIVER was formed from the ashes of Coal Chamber and Dez Fafara has taken great strides to musical distance himself from that past. The well tattooed frontman enjoys some success amongst the Ozzfest faithful, as like AC/DC and METALLICA, Ozzy Osbourne attracts an audience that isn’t necessarily rabid metalheads, aware of only a few, select names, but madly dedicated to them.

Case in point, HALFORD, who some had no recollection (sun? booze? age?) was in Judas Priest. This is his solo band, two studio albums (excluding the Christmas carols from last year) and a new one on the way. Not only was shredder Metal Mike Chlasciak at his side, but so too was producer/axe slinger Roy Z. After a ripping start: ‘Resurrection’, ‘Made In Hell’ and ‘Locked And Loaded’, the set bogged down a bit. Not the definitive Halford show, by any means. During the course of the evening, the frontman stripped from his leather jacket and sunglasses to a t-shirt. Metal Mike, a big cross hanging from his neck, provided the animated counterpart to the singer’s stoic self. ‘Nailed To The Gun’, from his Fight days gave way to a slower, punishing ‘Golgotha’ and then ‘Crystal’. They introduced the title track from Made Of Metal, said to be out in September, where Rob’s voice is modulated, to start. ‘Cyberworld’, the surprising inclusion of ‘Heart Of A Lion’, Priest’s ‘Never Satisfied’, which saw Roy Z showing off his overhead and behind the back playing skills and ‘Saviour’. Just 50 minutes. Can’t wait for a full tour/set!

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Mötley Crüe allowed certain photographers the privilege of shooting the band, from the soundboard, more than 30 yards from the stage? And this isn’t the first time they’ve done it in this outdoor venue. Why? Just be like Ozzy and say no photos! It was much the same set as I’d seen at Wacken, less than a month earlier, with the exception of the American ballad, ‘Home Sweet Home’. Tommy Lee came out from behind his drum kit to play piano. Guess it was too expensive to fly a piano to Germany. Anyway, they started out strong, ‘Kickstart My Heart’, ‘Wild Side’ with plenty of flames, ‘Shout At The Devil’, ‘Looks That Kill’ and Mick Mars’ teasing chord introduced ‘Live Wire’ only interrupted by ‘Saints Of Los Angeles’. The stage turned blue as a lone Vince Neal played a jangly acoustic guitar to begin ‘Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)’. He traded the guitar for an electric model on ‘Same Old Situation’, the stage now bathed in purple. During the aforementioned ballad, I could tell I was in the USA, not Europe, as old school cigarette lighters outnumbered glowing cell phones, by a large margin. Returning to his drum perch, Lee announced, “Are we having fun yet? If not, you’re about to…” and it was off to ‘Mutherfucker Of The Year’. Nikki Sixx addressed the crowd about touring with Ozzy once again, as they had in ’84. ‘Primal Scream’, a clapping along rendition of ‘Dr. Feelgood’ and ‘Girls, Girls, Girls’, punctuated by explosions after every line, closed things out.

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The intro tape Ozzy has been using, where he appears in popular movies, TV shows, etc. is still a scream, inserting himself into the cast of Jersey Shore (all the poignant given our locale), the kidnapping exchange in Hangover, Twilight (“Vampires are pussies. I’m the prince of darkness!”) and fittingly Iron Man, his head revealed behind the mask of the AC/DC soundtracked film. Five of his fifteen songs were holdovers from Black Sabbath. OK, ‘Paranoid’ and ‘Iron Man’ are givens (only the former predictably showing up in the encore), but ‘Fairies Wear Boots’, ‘Rat Salad’ and ‘Into The Void’? Strange. ‘Bark At The Moon’, with sparklers shooting overhead, kicked things off, the Ozz man in a solid black wrap with a cross on the back. A jumbo video screen behind the drummer offered close ups, including the dexterity of new guitarist Gus G. (Firewind), who after years on cramped club stages must be happy. He even has a fan that blows his hair around, like a video. ‘Let Me Hear You Scream’ came next. Talk about sapping a show of energy (especially considering what followed): the hilarious and rousing intro, an old favorite and thud! How about another oldie to keep it going? Well, a lackluster, “This is something you might know,” it was ‘Mr. Crowley’, where despite the soaking many took earlier in the day, thanks to Mother Nature, the headliner deemed it necessary to unleash a water cannon on the front rows. ‘I Don’t Know’ and ‘Suicide Solution’ (“A song that has caused considerable problems over the years, but I don’t give a …”) bookend the aforementioned ‘Fairies’ for a killer first half of the show, even if Ozzy doesn’t know how to introduce his classic catalog. ‘Road To Nowhere’ goes exactly there. ‘Shot In The Dark’ breaks up the Sabbath monopoly, with ‘Crazy Train’ serving as the send off, before the encore. ‘Mama I’m Coming Home’ is not the type of song from which to re-emerge backstage and would be better served as the middle of a three song encore. Since they only added ‘Paranoid’ (an appropriate send off) should have flip-flopped with ‘Shot In The Dark’. Oh well, another year and the Ozzfest lives. Hopefully 2011 will see a return and maybe a few more dates.

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