Friday, August 03, 2007


I’m really not a hard-core metal rocker or anything like that, but I manage to make my way to some major metal concerts and motorcycle rallies. The bike things are by choice but the concerts have more to do with my cousin. I just got back from the biggest metal concert in the nation, OZZFEST. It was a crazy time. Think of thousands of toothless head bangers and drunk rockers in black leather, and high hardcore hillbillies. Actually that description works pretty well for either the concert or the biker rallies, but in this case I am talking about Ozzy Osbourne’s well known metal tour.

There were bands galore on two stages and the music rocked for a little over 12 hours. There we were –Austin, Evan and I – head banging, and moshing with the best of them. Austin is my 16-year-old cousin and I have taken him to concerts since he was about 14. We’ve seen Gwar, Rob Zombie and Anthrax, 3 Inches of Blood, Ozzy and all kinds of bands. This makes our third concert together and I’m sure it won’t be our last.

This was the first time that I have taken another minor with us. Austin’s long time friend, Evan (also 16-years-old) went with us. I was a bit hesitant of taking him because I hadn’t met Evan before. Normally I would insist on meeting the kid first. In this case, they have been friends for years and Austin’s parents vouched for him. Both he and Austin are great and I would take either one of them anywhere without worrying about them. They have good heads on their shoulders, which explains why they are both allowed to go to such things.

Austin and Evan with their favorite band, 3 Inches of Blood.

This concert was a hard one this year. Seeing how I am a full time student and am remodeling my kitchen, I don’t have any money just floating around. But the boys carried their own weight. They both work and have money. Cousins Jennifer and Tim got us the hotel room, which just happened to be 20 minutes from the concert. I hate driving in large cities. I’ve grew up in a small town and live in Springfield, so I’m not used to driving in the big city. Having the hotel so close was very handy and much appreciated. We owe Jennifer and Tim big time.

As for the concert itself, Ozzy arranged for the tickets to be free this year. We paid for parking ($20), food (a hot dog was $5), t-shirts ($30), and water ($4 for a 12-ounce bottle). You couldn’t take hardly anything in the venue with you. No backpacks, no food, no chairs, no towels, no CD’s to be signed, nothing really. They did allow each of us one bottle of water sans the cap and allowed me to bring my digital camera, my hat and sunscreen.

There were two stages. The second stage held the majority of the bands. It was a concrete pad with a stage. So we had no place to sit from noon to 5 pm. We just hung out and listened to the bands play. Two hours of which was in the pouring rain. The bands didn’t stop and we didn’t either. Just stuck it out and squished around the rest of the day. We did luck out. The main stage had seats, but they were reserved. Our free tickets were for the lawn, which was on a major slant.

This is a shot of the crowd at the main stage.

We found a seat and quickly figured out that sitting was not going to be an option either. There were going to be too many on the lawn. Some guys were walking around selling CD’s for the main stage bands. For a cool 20 bones, you could get an upgrade to the seats and a CD of your choice. I cajoled the salesman to give us three tickets and we had great seats really close to the stage. I got a Lamb of God CD to boot.

I will warn you. If you ever go to a concert be sure and take earplugs with you. You will need them. Having gone to other concerts with Austin I knew this. Luckly, I bought a whole pack of them because our first set in the beginning got really wet and nasty. We got seats in front of the speakers and had a ball. I was glad to sit. My dogs were barking. To be honest, when our bands were playing the main stage we didn’t sit anyway. It was too fun to get up and head bang and show are metal horns.

If you’ve ever seen the show, The Osbournes, you may be wondering if Ozzy himself actually made the venue. Yep. He was the headliner and the crowd went nuts when he hit the stage. He was amazingly spry.

It made their day. The boys loved the bands and were so excited to get to go. Austin couldn’t quit talking about getting to meet and talk to his favorite band, 3 Inches of Blood. We got his picture with the band and autographs. Nothing cooler than that. It was worth it: the rain, the high prices, the hours of standing.

Here is a list of the bands that were there:

3 Inches of Blood
Circus Diablo
The Showdown
In This Moment (female lead screamer)

Ozzy Osbourne
Lamb of God
Static X
Lordi (who should have never been a main stage band)

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