Band Concert Review
Ozzfest 2006: Unholy Sunday Welcomes You To Hell
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Tinley Park, IL, July 16, 2006
Heat fit for hell itself welcomed Ozzfest 2006 to southwest Chicago on the unholy Sunday of July 16, 2006. Attendees at the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, IL were bathed in intense sun and endured a heat index of over 100 degrees. Ozzfest in Chicago is always hot though, and the fans weren't daunted.
Since the Ozzfest festivals began in 1995 little has changed, except for Ozzy's reunion with Black Sabbath who headlined the tour for the last three seasons. This year Ozzy tried another twist. In Chicago and in other selected cities Ozzy is headlining the Second Stage, leaving the Main Stage to System of a Down. In doing so, Ozzy hopes to stir up excitement and connect more with his fans.
OZZFEST SECOND STAGE
The Second Stage viewing area was divided into two sections this year, another first for Ozzfest's yearly stop in Chicago. The section closest to the stage could be accessed only by those with special yellow arm bands, which were given to the first 2,000 ticket holders to walk in the gates. This may have been a security measure for Ozzy's Second Stage appearance. Since Second Stage performances began at 9:20 am, 14 hours before Ozzfest ended, I held great respect for the yellow-banded attendees.
The Second Stage line-up included Bad Acid Trip, Between the Buried and Me, All that Remains, Walls of Jericho, Full Blown Chaos, The Red Chord, Strapping Young Lad and A Life Once Lost. Norma Jean, Bleeding Through and Unearth played next, followed by southern California band Atreyu who opened for Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society. BLS is currently promoting their album "Shot to Hell" scheduled for release on September 12 via Roadrunner Records.
Ozzy was backed by Zakk Wylde (Lead), JD DeServio (Bass) and Craig Nunenmacher (Drums) of Black Label Society. Ozzy looked happier and more at ease on the second stage. He seemed delighted to see fans moshing and bodysurfing and expressing themselves in the open sunshine. His performance was good and he looked great - he was grinning and having fun.
Instead of flames, fountains of water shot high into the air on each side of the stage. Ozzy armed himself with 2 small water cannons and his trusty blue bucket and doused fans throughout the show. The audience obeyed his every command, waving their hands, chanting, singing choruses, and "going fucking crazy" to show their love and respect for the Prince of Darkness.
Ozzy played for 45 minutes. His set was I Don't Know, Mr. Crowley, Suicide Solution, Into the Void (a rare early Black Sabbath treat), I Don't Want to Change the World, Road To Nowhere, Crazy Train, Mama I'm Coming Home and Paranoid.
OZZFEST MAIN STAGE
Main Stage bands included Dragonforce, Lacuna Coil, Hatebreed, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed and System of a Down. Dragonforce is a 6-man band from London specializing in guitar-heavy speed metal. Lacuna Coil, translated "empty spiral" in English, is a 5-man/1-woman goth metal band from Italy known for their ethereal sound. Hatebreed is a Connecticut-based 4-man hardcore death metal band of the likes of Slayer with thrash punk influences. Avenged Sevenfold is a 5-man punk band from southern California heavily influenced by the LA metal bands like Pantera, Metallica and Megadeth.
Playing on Chicago's Southside is a homecoming for Disturbed, who got their start in the southwest suburbs.
"Sweet home Chicago," began Lead Singer Dave Draiman near the start of the set. "We have been gone from you for far too long, and we are very happy to be back home. I've been telling the other guys on this tour, for the entire duration of this tour, that all you mother fuckers better watch out when you come to Chicago, "cause Chicago's going to put to shame any crowd you have seen so far throughout this tour."
"I want to give a shout out to the people who gave birth to Disturbed, not only the City of Chicago, but the Southside of the City of Chicago!" exclaimed Draiman toward the middle of the show. "It wasn't too far from this venue where we started playing in all the clubs in Oak Lawn and all around the fucking Southside. When the inner city clubs would not book a band as heavy as Disturbed, because they were too obsessed with the 1980's sounding bands, the Southside welcomed Disturbed with open fucking arms, and we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts."
Disturbed played Guarded, Liberate, Fear, Remember, Just Stop, Overburdened, Stupified, Deify, Prayer, Breathe, Land of Confusion, The Game, Stricken and Down with the Sickness. Oddly they didn't play their title song from their latest album Ten Thousand Fists. I was hoping to see a least a few thousand fists in the air.
SYSTEM OF A DOWN
Ozzfest 2006 is SOAD's last group effort before they go on indefinite hiatus. The quartet seeks to recharge their batteries by pursuing solo projects for awhile, but stress that System of a Down is not breaking up.
Guitarist Daron Malakian, voted 4th best guitarist of the year by Metal Edge Magazine, will release a solo album this fall. Vocalist Serj Tankian has joined Tom Morello, guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audio Slave, to create Axis of Justice, an organization fighting social injustice and violence abroad. Their monthly radio show on KPFK in Los Angeles features protest rock and discussion of social and political issues. Bassist Shavo Odadjian, a popular DJ in the LA area, recently teamed up in the studio with The Rza from Wu-Tang and plans to do tours and maybe even a movie. Drummer John Dolmayan, just named Drummer of the Year by Drum! Magazine, is starting an internet-based comic book company called "Torpedocomics."
SOAD played Soldier Side Intro, Attack, BYOB, Revenga, Needles, Deer Dance, Cigaro, Question!, Radio/Video, Old School Hollywood, Lost in Hollywood, Hypnotize, Lonely Day, Violent Pornography, Psycho, Kill Rock n Roll, War!, Suggestion, Aerials, Toxicity, and Sugar.