By DAN MACINTOSH
INGLEWOOD, CA – When fans gathered on New Year’s Eve for Ozzy Osbourne’s reboot of Ozzfest, which had its genesis in the 90s, they were indeed partying like it was 1999. Metal music may not be rocking the charts these days, but that didn’t stop an arena full of rockers from banging their heads all the way into 2019.
Ozzy Osbourne headlined his namesake festival with a year-ending set that included the traditional countdown to the new year. He prepped fans for this setlist interruption with a typically mumbled statement one needed to closely listen between the words to, to fully comprehend. While performing, Ozzy was just as awkward.
Sometimes he’d take a few steps away from his mic stand, only to walk back to it – seemingly forgetting why he’d even abandoned it. He looked a little like an old man walking into a room, only to forget why he’d gone there in the first place.
Ozzy Osbourne video Courtesy of Bill Bored:
Ozzy Osbourne Setlist a Range of Gems
His set list ranged from old Black Sabbath nuggets, like “War Pigs” and “Fairies Wear Boots,” to solo selections, including “I Don’t Know.” No matter what he played, though, most of Osbourne’s set was spoiled by his guitarist Zakk Wylde’s overplaying. Just as drummers can be too busy (‘Just keep the beat, would ya!’) Wylde proved that guitarists can fall into the same trap.
Memorable riffs were some of the main elements that made early Black Sabbath albums, such as Paranoid, into classic releases. Why not let these guitar hooks do most of the talking, instead over-soloing over everything, the way Wylde did tonight? There’s a place for notes, and there’s a place for silence, after all. The Heartbreakers’ Mike Campbell, for instance, plays half (if that) as many notes as Wylde does, but he’s created twice as many memorable riffs. Poor Ozz was just engulfed in Wylde’s blizzard of notes.
Video Courtesy of Brian James:
Rob Zombie Brings Big-Haired Horror Funk
Rob Zombie preceded Osbourne and demonstrated how to put on an entertaining show. Dressed in wild, colorful flairs and sporting big hair, Zombie filled his faux-horror music with a large dosage of fun and funk. He even went old school at one point, admonishing fans to put away their cellphones and enjoy a rock show like we did at earlier Ozzfests – by paying our full attention. Spooky songs, like “Living Dead Girl,” came off more like creepy Disneyland Haunted House features in Zombie’s party atmosphere. Zombie only added to the celebration with covers of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” with the latter featuring Nikki Sixx and Marilyn Manson as special guests.
Marilyn Manson’s set exemplified the energy drain that happens once a shock rocker loses his shock value. Songs like “Say10,” which found Manson preaching to the converted from behind a pulpit, was about as scary as Zombie’s songs – which is to say, not at all.
Korn’s Jonathan Davis Plays from Solo Album
Jonathan Davis, appearing without Korn, the band he leads, proved to be just as visually compelling without his regular bandmates. Drawing from his recent solo album, Davis roamed the stage with passion and purpose (something sorely lacking in the headliner’s set) and changed up metal expectations by employing a stand-up acoustic bassist in his band.
Ice-T, dressed in an orange-colored inmate jumpsuit, was the only artist not seemingly reliving past glories. Between songs with his band Body Count, Ice-T found time to take a few shots at President Donald Trump.
Ozzfest 2018 proved there is still a loud and enthusiastic audience for hard rock. For the most part, though, it was metal grandfather Ozzy Osbourne’s offspring that came off best during this Ozzfest revival.