Heart of Steel: Concert Reviews

OZZFEST 2001 - Riverport Amphitheatre
St. Louis, MO - June 18, 2001

Review by Dave / Intro by EvilG

For us metalheads, the JOKE that is now Ozzfest has become a putrid example of all that is WRONG  about "metal"  - or the perception of what is metal - in North America. Real metal fans know that the festivals in the USA to attend are ProgPower or the NJ / Milwaulkee Metalfest's! The only OZZFEST band, besides Black Label Society, that is worth seeing here is the founding fathers of heavy metal - Black Sabbath. So before you freak at us for covering this basically NON-METAL festival, be aware that the only two bands we will be basically giving any accolades to here is BLS and Black Sabbath!! If you are offended by this then perhaps you don't like metal at all, but hey, you made it this far so maybe there is hope for you. Maybe we can open you mind to the wonderful world of heavy metal as it is known by us fans and NOT by MTV!!! 


Well here it is, another Ozzfest. Another year of sunburn, dudes with mullets and bad jailhouse tattoos, goth kids, lots of beer and adolescent angst served up like cheeseburgers at McDonalds. Another year of down-tuned bands screaming about something or other and another year that a 50 something old man comes out and puts these annoying little bastards to bed, and shows these punks how metal is really done!!!!

This year's Ozzfest was a little different regarding side stages and set changes. The addition of a smaller side stage and a revolving main stage allowed for quick equipment change overs and the opportunity to see all the bands, for no two bands played at the same time. I didn't see every band this year because a) the show starts so damn early that it would take a resurrected Randy Rhoads to make me get there at 10:30 am and b) standing in line for beer and going to the bathroom sometimes is more important . Beautiful Creatures was the first act I saw all day. These guys all look like the members of a Nikki Sixx fanclub and they were not too bad. They displayed some energy and their music fits right in with most of the mallcore being offered up by most of the Ozzfest contingent but their songs have some pretty decent hooks and a sense of melody. Melody is not something most of these new bands are aware of and you don't have to sacrifice melody for the sake of being heavy. Anyway, I didn't realize it but BC's lead singer is Joe LeSte who used to front Bang Tango way back when. ( I know someone out there remembers Bang Tango!)

Next Up - Godhead. NEXT!!

Time for the second stage. Here we have Taproot. More like Craproot. That is all I have to say about that.

Union Underground came on next and they were definitely one of the best bands at this year's Ozzfest. To use an old cliche, THEY ROCK. They are a great band with a presence reminiscent of Motley Crue and tunes like "South Texas Death Ride" and "Turn Me on Mr. Deadman" totally got the crowd fired up. Mudvayne had to follow Union Underground. Any of you in the States have probably seen them and their fingerpainted faces on MTV late at night. I watched the first song but the uncontrollable urge for toilets and beer took over. Simply put, they sound like any other band.

Forward to the mainstage . TIME FOR SOME REAL METAL courtesy of Mr. Zakk Wylde and his Black Label Society. Zakk is the real deal. That young pretty boy we remember from Ozzy's "No Rest for the Wicked" days has grown into a pissed off monster from the swamps of New Jersey armed with a chest length beard and a Les Paul so brutal that it could wipe out a herd of buffalo. Straight forward heavy metal the way it was meant to be. And what did we learn from from Mr. Wylde and BLS ? Limp Bizkit sucks, drunken frat boys tuned down to D are lame and beer is good.

Here is Crazy Town. Here comes that urge for toilets and beer again. Being from the south suburbs of Chicago I have a soft spot for the next band, Disturbed. Last time I saw these guys was in a small club called Champ's in Burbank, Illinois about four years ago. I think their album is pretty good but it was amazing to me that here they are in 2001 getting 20,000 worked up in a frenzy. They are a great live band. They are tight, powerful and deliver their tunes with a sense of conviction and honesty. Their success is well deserved.

Next up is LINKINPARKPAPAROACH. Why did I put the two names together? Because they are basically the same band to me. I think both bands should have been arrested for loitering on the stage. Neither has any business being associated with Ozzy Osbourne in any way whatsoever. Where's a goddamn sniper when you need one? If I have to say anything good about either band, I would thank them for providing ample time for toilets and beer.

Now the moment every fucked up 14 year old was waiting for, Slipknot. They are an entertaining live band and they are good at what they do. The drummer has some amazing chops but I really don't get them at all. Maybe it's for the better, if I was able to listen to one of their albums all the way through I would consider some serious therapy. As my buddy Pete Healey would say, "Nothing like being screamed at for an hour !" By the way, the lead trash can player really makes the band. :

Marilyn Manson arrived all refreshed from having a couple days off. Apparently the officials at the last tour stop of Somerset, Wisconsin refused to let Manson play. Marilyn is without a doubt the white trash demigod, and his message is one of drugs, rage and he plays right into the hands of anyone who is easily impressionable. What TV commercials are to soft drinks, a Manson show is to drugs. Apparently he likes drugs, and so do most people in attendance at Ozzfest. Perfect fit. As far as the show goes, he is a true rock star. His performance is hypnotic and will leave you in a trance. Love him or hate him, his live act is powerful. He was decked out in the usual Marilyn Manson bondage gear but he did emerge for a song dressed as the Pope. Maybe he missed out on being an altar boy as a kid and needs to get in touch with his holy side.

Why would anyone put themselves through 12 hours of heat, overpriced concessions and all the other discomforts that go along with Ozzfest? The question was answered in the first few bars of "N.I.B.". The mighty Black Sabbath had finally arrived and there is no way that any of the aforementioned bands could hold a candle to this. Bill and Geezer are one of the best rhythm sections ever in rock and Tony Iommi's guitar tone will make you melt. As for Mr. Osbourne, he was in fine form. He managed to complete several of his trademark leapfrog jumps and his voice was pretty good. Ozzy and the rest of Sabbath don't take themselves too seriously and they don't have to. These are the real men, the blueprint that they created for Heavy Metal is the reason that this is the most legitimate form of rock music ever made. For all of us Sabbath fans who were maybe just born around the time that they were recording all those classic albums, we should consider ourselves lucky to be able to witness the originals. The power, finesse and pure genius of this band will always be timeless. I personally thank them for the many reunion shows they have given us in the past few years. As far as the show goes, they played most of the expected hits, with the new "Scary Dreams" thrown in. Not a bad tune, pretty slow but a great showcase for Bill Ward's solid heavy attack. The best part of the show ? "The Wizard", one of the most underrated Sabbath songs ever. What else can I say about Black Sabbath, they are more than a band, THEY ARE LIFE!


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