OzzFest 2002
July 16, 2002 Tweeter Center Mansfield Ma

BEST OZZFEST EVER. Yeah, I know I said it last year too, but I have to say it again. BEST EVER.

The first big plus was the weather - a pleasant high 70s unlike the humid high 90s of last year. Lori and I arrived at 9:15am and were surprised how many others were already there, though many were just setting up to tailgate all day in the parking lot. We went inside to the second stage were SOIL had actually started to play a little early at about 9:20am. There were many hundreds if not over a thousand people already there for the set. We got right in front of the sound board about 20 feet from the stage. I was very impressed by SOIL - pretty much a straight ahead hard rock band - they had the first pit of the day going at 9:30am. Their radio hit "Halo" closed their 20 minute set. I was very glad we decided to do the whole day and I will have to grab their CD.

Next up was ANDREW W.K. I have his album and was looking forward to his set, but from the first moments he sucked. The bass was way too loud in the mix as was a tape of backing keyboards and vocals. We couldn't hear the lead vocals at all. Wasn't until the third song that you could hear him very much. Perhaps it was too much to expect a great show just shy of 10am, the crowd just sort of watched and waited for him to be over. His hit "Party Hard" only got a luke warm response. Andrew W.K. goes down as the sole disappointment of the day.

Next was supposed to be FLAW, but their lead singer was ill so they didn't play. Since I wasn't familiar with them, I didn't really care. NEUROTICA was fairly generic, but ended with a cover of the Beatles' "The Walrus" which sounded pretty cool. Then came 3RD STRIKE - a band of former LA gang members who reminded me of Suicidal Tendencies. This was another impressive set and I will have to get their CD too. They play an angry rap/metal mix but do it far better than most bands out there. Their radio hit "No Light" was a standout. APEX THEORY followed, they play a bit more mellow and eclectic rock with a freaky lead singer who pranced around reminding me of the guy from LIVE. We went wandering around during CHEVELLE and came back to see the last song from LOSTPROPHETS. We made our way back to the sound board area for IL NINO - a fun Latino Korn sort of sound with two percussionists and tons of dreadlocks who had the whole crowd jumping. Then came PULSE ULTRA who nobody seemed to know at all, they then said there debut album just went on sale that day - which is why nobody knew any of their songs. They looked very weird, intentionally geeky with jerky bird like movements like the OD's on ritalin or something. Then came OTEP whom I had heard of only because they are fronted by a female. A cute petite blonde with many tattoos and voice from Hell. They were like Slipknot fronted by a woman. Then came MESHUGGAH who I didn't know at all, some long haired metal Swedes whose first song convinced us it would be a good time to grab some food. We watched HATEBREED from afar - I've heard of them but don't know any tunes. They had the biggest crowd of the day at the second stage and all "the kids" were going totaly sick. We moved back into the fray to see DOWN. The crowd actually thinned out compared to HATEBREED but they did a nice set of straight on hard rock - they sound like early Black Sabbath.

On to the main stage - By the time we got to our seats the final song from BLACK LABEL SOCIETY was being played. I have no idea what it was, I was just glad to sit down for the first time. ADEMA came next, we saw them once last year and once was all we needed so we took our dinner break then. We were back to our seats for DROWNING POOL - they had graduated from the 2nd stage last year. I own their CD and this was the 3rd time seeing them - they did not disappoint. Set included "Sinner", "All Over Me", "I Am", "Pity Me", "Tear Away", "Mute" - during this time a small sod fight started on the center of the lawn, it soon grew to the entire lawn with sod being tossed at people in the next section of seats (me) and then us tossing it further down into the seats. The sod fight took over the entire arena while DROWNING POOL kicked into a cover of METALLICA's "Creeping Death"!!!! This was a peak concert moment I will never forget, being covered in dirt and grass, throwing sod all over the place while everyone is screaming DIE, DIE, DIE along to the chorus. Sod was making it all the way to the stage at this point and the band commented many times how sick it looked. They kicked into their last song - their big hit "Bodies" (you know "Let the bodies hit the floor, let the bodies hit the floor") The sod frenzy kicked up another notch. An awesome set and awesome sod fight. The sod tossing continued once the band stopped, since know there really was nothing else to do. Announcements were made to stop it and that people would be hurt, equipment damaged and the show would stop. It eventually did quiet down, but grass and dirt were everywhere.

UPDATE - This is from the Journal on Drowning Pool's web site. Stevie is the bass player

Boston show – Day 1. What happened tonight was unbelievable. The crowd was fuckin’ crazy. They destroyed the lawn. During Bodies huge chunks of grass were making it all the way to the stage. Shit was flying everywhere. It was the craziest thing I’ve ever seen. After our set, some people from the venue were trying to accuse us of inciting a riot and causing all the destruction. It’s not our fault the people in Boston are crazy. Thanks so much to everyone involved in the chaos. This was a show we’ll never forget. – STEVIE

Next up was P.O.D. and I realized I new more songs than I realized. They have many radio hits, I just didn't know it was POD who sang them. Highlights included "Set it Off", "Boom", "School of Hard Knocks", "Youth of The Nation", "Southtown" and "Alive". Then came ROB ZOMBIE who played a bare bones set without all the frills and show of his normal concerts. He was surprisingly good and in strong voice. His set included "Demon Speeding", "Devil Man", "Living Dead Girl", "More Human Than Human", "Feel So Numb", "Thunder Kiss '65", "Never Gonna Stop", and "Dragula". Rob spotted a guy in a cow costume and pulled him up on stage - cow man (who I've actually seen at a few prior concerts too) danced up a storm and put on a worthy show. A few stray pieces of sod flew, but Zombie warned everyone to leave it to the professionals. I was quite impressed by Mr. Zombie - I was worried that his material wouldn't sound good live since his songs rely on so much production.

Next came the reason I bought tickets this year. SYSTEM OF A DOWN - easily the performance of the day. This was my first time seeing them since their amazing sophomore release Toxicity came out - one of my all time favorite CDs. They opened with "Johnny" a song that isn't on either of their releases - must be a B-side from somewhere. Then they dug right into the latest album with "Jet Pilot", "Deer Dance". Rest of set included "Suggestions", "Chop Suey", "Psycho", "Forest", "ATWA", "Suite Pee", Toxicity", "Bounce", "Needles", "Aerials", and a medley of Sugar & Prison Song. From "Chop Suey" on it seemed that everyone in the crowd knew every single word - this was one of the most intense and loudest singing crowds I've ever been a part of. SOAD's songs range from complete thrash to total silliness and even incredibly beautiful - often all in the same song. They are very dramatic, political and goofy at times. Personal highlights included the throng of thousands seeing the chorus of "Needles" - "pull the tape worm out of you ass, Hey!, pull the tape worm out of you ass, Hey!" and of "Psycho" - "PSYCHO!, GROUPIE!, COCAINE!, CRAZY!". They join the ranks of one of the best live acts I've ever seen. Simply stupendous.

Finally - OZZY. Frankly I've seen Ozzy so many times it is rather anticlimactic when the day finally gets to him. The show opened with a video spoofing "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" making fun of all the "Osbournes" tv show hype and copying going on. All the family was represented and were cheered. When Ozzy finally came out his voice was in noticeably poor shape and I could hear a lot more "help" on his high and extended notes. There was either a tape that sang these notes again or someone was their live trying to blend his voice into Ozzy's. A few songs in Ozzy even apologized for himself, telling us how just before the tour his wife Sharon was diagnosed with cancer and he really didn't want to go on tour. It was noticeable, he was not as playful as usual. He only touched his water gun a couple times during the show. But the crowd did give a nice loud "Sharooon!!" to say hello to her back home. His band really carried him - Zakk Wylde was just amazing. His solo included the whole behind-the-head playing and then picking the strings with his teeth too. Set included "I Don't Know", "War Pigs", "Believer", "That I Never Had" ( new song that nobody seemed into), "Mr. Crowley", "Gets Me Through" (which Ozzy said means more tonight than ever), "Suicide Solution", "I Don't Want to Change The World", "Iron Man", "Road to Nowhere" and "Crazy Train". The encores (which we left during, along with many others) were "Mama I'm Coming Home", "Bark at the Moon", and "Paranoid". 14 hours and 20 bands later - an awesome metal day. - AF Grant

It's rise and shine for metal bands, fans at Ozzfest

By Jim Sullivan, Globe Staff, 7/17/2002

MANSFIELD - Who'd 'a' thunk it? That doddering old dad on MTV, Ozzy Osbourne, is also a heavy metal rock star of some note - enough so that he helms this annual tour called Ozzfest filled with far-flung sons of heavy metal, the genre he helped forge with his '70s band Black Sabbath.

But last night Ozzy's set started - just like Cher's! - with clips of his recent TV appearances and references from (nemesis) Bill Cosby and (apparent endorser) George W. Bush, among others. What a strange pretzel is this show-biz world of 2002.

Oh, and then we got soaked, with water cannons from above the stage, and water sprinklers over the front sections of the pavilion. This happened again several times during the next one, the antiwar Sabbath standard ''War Pigs.'' Satanic baptism? Passive aggressive behavior? Dunno.

Then Oz apologized, not for the drenching but because ''I'm going through hell;'' his wife Sharon had been diagnosed with cancer. But he's a trouper, and he God-blessed-us, cussing all the way.

This year's Ozzfest - the cavalcade of metal bands that has barnstormed the land for seven years - opted for a format of a 14-band slate of second-stage acts early in the day, shutting down just as seven bigger bands, beginning with Black Label Society, fronted by Ozzy guitarist Zack Wylde, were to take the main stage.

Ozzfest started with a peppy blast of pure party rock from Andrew W.K. in the a.m., and Lostprophets brought some punk-rock attacking and prog-rock maneuvers. But it was frequently a long, monotonous grind. Everyone spewed profanity, and everyone pretended to be rabid dogs on short leashes.

This Ozzfest, which sold out yesterday and repeats today, is more of a boyfest this year than ever. On stage were 114 men and one woman (she being Otep, the namesake of that band). Out in the crowd: a near-sellout that looked to be about 70 percent male.

As usual, the billing consists of one old warhorse, Ozzy, a smattering of up-and-comers and a healthy dose of new-metal stars. Many of the newer bands are cut from the black cloth of churn-and-burn hyper-rhythms and growl-bark vocals, but few have anything to do with the melodic sensibility Osbourne sort of possesses.

System of a Down, which preceded Ozzy, brought brilliant chops and turn-on-a-dime quickness to their video-enhanced, politically inclined art metal.

Rob Zombie, with his sexy, menacing swagger, put the pedal to the metal with an agitated horror-show rock, and with hyperactive stage antics. P.O.D. played pedantic Christian rock with a love embrace; Drowning Pool followed with C-level metal, and was the inspiration for clods on the lawn to chuck turf about, causing security to take action. (At least one man was injured during this period; he was transported to Boston. Tweeter Center officials declined to release further information.)

On the second sage, Andrew W.K. ruled at 10 a.m. with his embrace of busy, major-chord, multiple-guitar soccer rock. It's about partying and having fun. Fiercely. Clearly the happiest guy and band on this stage. End of statement.

Otep brought a female presence, but not a delicate one, to her band's monster roar. The blond singer had at least three voices - a rapping one, a shriek and, yes, the humongous one. She spoke of ''jungles of fire'' and ''this world is a holocaust'' and climaxed, ferociously, with a ''No way out!'' rant.

Neurotica won the ''cover of the day'' award by stripping all melody away from the Beatles' ''I Am the Walrus'' and turning it into a metallic throb. We're guessing the gross '' custard dripping from a dead dog's eye'' line and the chant of ''Smoke dope, smoke dope, everybody smoke dope,'' a slight shift from Beatlemania.

Back to grandpa Ozzy: His Sabbath hits aside, it was pretty dull stuff, including a yawning guitar solo from Wylde. He yowled and pranced, he sprayed us like a loving skunk. He sang ''Iron Man'' and ''Paranoid,'' and then he left.

Ozzfest 2002

With Black Label Society, Andrew W.K., Lostprophets, Otep, and more.

At: the Tweeter Center for the Performing Arts, yesterday. (Repeats today).

This story ran on page F5 of the Boston Globe on 7/17/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.

AF Grant's 2002 Concerts


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