18 September 2010

O2 Arena, London, UK


The Ozzfest returned to the UK for the first time since “Ozzfest Day” at Download in 2005.Rather than standing in a field however, this instalment took over the O2 Arena with the addition of an area outside for a second stage, fairground and metal market.In reality the fairground did only consist of two rides, but to be fair we were here for music and to-ing and fro-ing between the main arena and “Village Of The Damned” left little time for anything else.Indeed, the stage times on both stages clashed hence I did not see enough of Revoker, Murderdolls or Korn to warrant a review.


Johan’s photo access, aside from Ozzy later on, was purely for the Jagermeister stage.However, with Skindred opening the main stage a quarter of an hour before the second stage started, there was time to catch a few songs.


All decked out in silver jackets, Skindred were striking on the eye and indeed the ear as Stand For Something kicked in.The sound was surprisingly good for a first act and the raga infused metal clearly took some of the mobile beer sellers by surprise who were bopping along.Benji Webbe is a top frontman, able to get a crowd onside, imploring “Are we gonna do this or not?”.Unsatisfied by the response he simply retorted “Wank!” and persevered until he got the response required.Annoyingly I had to make a move to the second stage during Pressure, returning in time to see Skindred close with Nobody in style.A great opening band and one that quite frankly on this reception should have been higher on the bill than the Murderdolls.


Skindred setlist:

Stand For Something / Rat Race / You Can't Stop It / Pressure / Bruises / Destroy The Dancefloor / Trouble / Cause Ah Riot / Nobody


Over on the Jagermeister stage, Jettblack were well into Fooled By A Rose.What immediately struck me was how much more of a punch the guitars packed in the live environment compared to their debut album, reminding me of how much I’d enjoyed them when they opened for Heaven’s Basement last year.Motherf**ker picked up the pace with a well rehearsed mid-song pause for a shout of “Ozzfest are you ready, its solo time”, as Jon Dow showed his six string skills.Dow and fellow guitarist Will Stapleton share vocal duties, with Stapleton taking the mic for Two Hot Girls.This was a confident display from Jettblack and their hard rock which had a distinctly 80s feel was well received by those in the Village Of The Damned.


Jettblack setlist included:

Fooled By A Rose / Motherf**ker / Two Hot Girls / When It Comes To Lovin’


Jettblack Jettblack Jettblack


An unusual feature of this event was that general admission tickets allowed you to either stand in the arena floor area or take a seat in the lower level seating.We chose to grab a seat with a good view for Steel Panther.I’d expressed in my view of their last Brixton show that to me it felt like I was watching a comedy show for which I already knew the script, having seen them twice before.This afternoon a shorter 45 minute set and some refreshment of their dialogue meant Steel Panther were hugely enjoyable.They even went as far as to introduce a new song, Critter, which guitarist Satchel described as “A bit of a departure from the last record…it’s about f**king a girl in the ass!”.Elsewhere, Steel Panther cherry picked the best songs from Feel The Steel, with ballad Community Property encouraging a mass sing-along.


Steel Panther setlist:

Eyes Of A Panther / Asian Hooker / Party All Day (F**k All Night) / Critter / Community Property / Turn Out The Lights / The Shocker / Death To All But Metal


Back out at the Jagermeister Stage, Black Spiders ran through a well rehearsed set – I know, given I’d seen it twice this summer already!The band seems to be turning up everywhere this year, but apathy will not set in with performances like this.The Black Spiders seemed to up their game today, aided by a roaring sound.Noting their location, Pete Spiby asked “Ozzfest car park, how you doing today?”.Quite nicely actually Pete, with the aid of Stay Down, complete with its usual “F**k you Black Spiders” break, and an awesome St Peter.The crowd swelled, with people passing by stopping to check out the band and Kiss Tried To Kill Me cajoling them into clapping along.Blood Of The Kings wrapped up another great set from the Black Spiders.


Black Spiders setlist:

Si El Diablo / Stay Down / Just Like A Woman / St Peter / Kiss Tried To Kill Me (It Was Gene Not Paul) / Blood Of The Kings


Black Spiders Black Spiders Black Spiders


Having briefly popped back into the arena and been unimpressed by a glance of the Murderdolls, it was back to the Jagermeister Stage for Paradise Lost.Now it was noticeable on the way earlier today that the most spotted shirt had been Korn and with the nu-metal godfathers playing in the arena it wasn’t wholly surprising that Paradise Lost were left with a more select audience.This was a shame as Paradise Lost put in a great set, but some of Nick Holmes usual sarcastic humour seemed inflicted with an element of disappointment.He noted it was good to be playing the O2 Arena, “Well not really in the arena but under the tent roof!”.Later he also enquired how the dodgems were, whose announcer kept cutting across the band’s sound.The set mixed well the older material such as As I Die, “Written 55 years ago by Trappist monks” and newer, such as Faith Divides Us – Death Unites Us, which Holmes asked us to clap out of time to, to put him off!As it turned out it felt quiet an intimate show and one I felt lucky to have seen.


Paradise Lost setlist:

The Rise Of Denial / Pity The Sadness / Erased / I Remain / As I Die / The Enemy / Enchantment / One Second / No Celebration / Requiem / Faith Divides Us - Death Unites Us / Say Just Words


 Paradise Lost Paradise Lost


It was ironic that the Pope was in London the same day as Ozzy Osbourne, leading to humorous jokes about which one was The Prince Of Darkness.I’d actually decided I didn’t need to see Ozzy again after the hugely disappointing Wembley Arena show in 2007, but this being an Ozzfest event and my interest in seeing Gus G playing in Ozzy’s band tempted me back.It was actually at Dream Evil’s gig at the Camden Underworld in London in 2003 that RockersDigest was conceived.Gus was then lead guitarist for that band who we’d won the opportunity to spend the day with, so it was great to see Gus playing in the headline band with Ozzy at the O2 Arena.


As ever, the show opened with one of Ozzy’s hilarious video montages of him imposed into various scenarios.This time Avatar, The Hangover and Twilight amongst others were the targets.Search for it on youtube if you haven’t seen it.


“Go f**ing crazy, let the madness begin” roared Ozzy, as the familiar guitar riff of Bark At The Moon hit us.Immediately there seemed an energy that was lacking at the 2007 show and any concerns about Gus filling anyone’s shoes were soon forgotten.Ozzy’s latest album Scream, whilst hardly a belter, is the best he’s put out for some time, so it was a surprise that only Let Me Hear You Scream made an appearance.The simple anthemic nature of the song meant it came over live quite well, though Ozzy seemed less comfortable than when playing his true classic material.




A curtain of fireworks ushered in Mr Crowley with Ozzy spraying the crowd and himself with a foam cannon.On this and the following I Don’t Know, Gus showed he could do justice to the Randy Rhoads material.Indeed, Fairies Wear Boots confirmed the Sabbath material was in safe hands.It was quite refreshing to hear that song and Into The Void which are less expected at Ozzy solo shows.


Despite hardly being friends, it was a nice touch of Ozzy to dedicate Road To Nowhere to Ronnie James Dio, with the song offering a break in pace.More exciting however was the reintroduction of some overlooked Ultimate Sin material with Shot In The Dark particularly well played and received.


Sabbath’s instrumental Rat Salad gave Ozzy chance to take a breather with Gus and drummer Tommy Cluftos taking the limelight.Lasers heralded the arrival of Iron Man with the crowd singing along with the riff.


Ozzy had cancelled a show two night’s previously in Germany due to back problems, with doctors ordering him to take four nights off.Ignoring that advice, there was little sign of Ozzy waning as the set progressed with his singing and energy better than I have seen for some years.The setlist below shows that the set finished with the usual expected quartet of songs.


Ozzy Osbourne setlist:

Bark At The Moon / Let Me Hear You Scream / Mr. Crowley / I Don't Know / Fairies Wear Boots / Suicide Solution / War Pigs / Road To Nowhere / Shot In The Dark / Rat Salad / Iron Man / Killer Of Giants / Into The Void / I Don't Want To Change The World / Crazy Train / Mama, I'm Coming Home / Paranoid


 Ozzy Ozzy Ozzy