The sound of cheap beer cans snapping open and war cries harmonized with the pulsating sea of Ozzy blaring speakers as a constant flow of tattered vehicles filled the dirt parking lot. Water bottles bobbed in muddy buckets and sweaty bare boobs were rewarded with a free warm beer. Like an overheated tattoo needle, the sun pierced a thousand times, leaving dehydrated drunks face down on the trampled earth. Chest pounds and scull crushing punches echoed off the surrounding San Bernadino mountains as Rob Halford, Motley Crue and Ozzy provoked the animal instincts of Ozzfest 2010.
With my camera hidden in the boot of the dude, the crowd slowly eased itself up the dark asphalt hill. A thick line of long haired hooligans slowly crept through the gate as over sized security guards checked bags and patted down sweaty pockets. With my camera snugly hidden in the boot of The Dude, we entered the San Manuel Amphitheater. Police officers awaited at every vantage angle- posted along the flimsy walls of the concession stands, on the roofs of buildings and in the bushes. Security, volunteers and the marching boots of the Sheriff Department had every angle covered, but were still unable tame the beast that slowly birthed onto the littered lawn.
Sporadic mosh pits spun through the grass like drunken tornadoes on the stoop of a splintering saloon. Head banging swaggers cycled momentarily before wobbling into the surrounding barriers of fist pounds and head bangs. Blows landed across muddy foreheads and barbaric yelps followed the sinking sun. Limbs were yanked and snarling teeth sank deep into the flesh of the whimpering prey. This was a pit fueled not by music, but by the urge to inflict pain, intimidate and snarl.
As the sun sank behind the main stage and the shadows grew like a stretching oil spill, the eye of each pit ignited in flames. Trash from the days debaucheries fueled the fire and pumped thick clouds of black smoke into the air. The scent of melting plastic burned the nostrils of the lawn crowd and wafted over the heads of the seated VIP sections. Oversized plastic trash barrels bounced off the fists and heads of the unsuspecting, ultimately landing in the whipping flames.
The main stage pumped out classic hits while muddy shirts were fed to the fire. Rob Halford screamed titles from his days with Judas Priest and Motley Crue cranked out hits such as “Dr. Feelgood”, “Shout at the Devil” and “Looks that kill”. The stage erupted in a pyrotechnic extravaganza while a faint chant grew- ozzy… Ozzy… OZZY!
The fires flickered the only trace of light as a sliver of moon hung high above the amphitheater. All eyes squinted through the dark smoke towards the main stage. A screen above the stage began the show with Ozzy superimposed into popular television shows. Slightly entertaining, a little silly… very unexpected. The screen went black and Ozzy and his 61 years hit the stage. He swayed as was expected, but still managed to get around the stage. He threw buckets of water, sprayed a fire hose and offered Black Sabbath and Ozzy hits including “Fairies Ware Boots”, “Bark at the Moon”, “Paranoid”, “Crazy Train” and “Iron man”.
Fires, bloody faces, extreme heat and melting plastic fused with the metal hits of Halford, Motley Crue and Ozzy is what I am taking home form my Ozzfest observation. The heads of bats remained intact this night, but the crowd made up for Prince of Darkness’s professionalism with their own array of animalistic behaviors as Ozzfest swaggered and swayed through another barbaric weekend.
Do you have an observation from Ozzfest 2010?
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