Ozzfest 2005 Comes To an End in West Palm Beach, FL
Band Photo: In Flames (?)
Well it was one hell of a tour, the 10th annual Ozzfest Summer Amphitheatre Tour came to an end once again in West Palm Beach, FL and I had a chance to be there. For 6 years now I have been planning on going to Ozzfest but for some reason something has always came up and I couldn't go. Last year I had everything lined up to go, and a damn hurricane hit the place. This year I finally lucked out and went to my first Ozzfest. Let me tell you "I have waited for this for a very long time." I loaded up the Tahoe with a couple friends and my wife and we left about 2:00am Saturday morning and drove about 9 1/2 hours from Charleston to West Palm Beach, FL. That was a long drive, I probably should have gone to the one in Charlotte, NC the night before but......."The best one is the last one" that's what I have always been told.
We arrived in W.Palm about 11:30am Saturday afternoon, we went to check-in to our hotel room then we were told we have to wait until 4:00pm to check-in "It's a Florida Thing." I am pissed at this point, my ass is stinging from the long drive I have been driving on I-95 which in itself is enough to piss anybody off, and we have to find something to do for 5 hours. But hey I am going to Ozzfest I am not going to bitch. After finding the amphitheatre, getting lunch and doing a little more driving we finally got checked into our hotel and it was beer thirty if you know what I mean? I had this totally elaborate plan about getting there and partying all night and get-ting up early to get to the fest when the gates opened. Let me tell you, I didn't make it past three beers and I can drink. We got a wake up call about 7:30am so we could get some food in us and I could get my camera equipment and the other stuff I needed together. I opened the sliding door of the room and low and behold there were a lot of dark clouds in the sky.
Being true to the whole Ozzfest experience, I am being positive and saying "ahh hell it will pass, it's got to pass the devil himself" (Ozzy) has come to W.Palm Beach. I am worrying about the whether, and my wife asks me what should she wear? and I am thinking to myself "A RAINCOAT" but didn't say it of course. Just as I am trying to get everyone organized so we can get on the road, the sky opens up I mean a hard ass rain. We arrived at the amphitheatre at about 8:30am and we couldn't remove ourselves from the comforts of the Tahoe, It was raining even harder at this point. Finally it slacked up enough to go ahead and make that jump.
The first band on on stage was Gizmachi who in good spirit took one for the team [ie: Ozzfest] cause they definitely got wet, they started at about 9:20am when the rain was coming down real hard. It looked like the rain wasn't going to keep the hard core people out at all. The second band on stage was Soilwork, myself and the rest of the press at this venue, were liter-ally herded like cattle going to a butchers market. I have never had to deal with this before, to my surprise this would be like this all day long. Believe me, these people even wanted to know when you were going to take a piss "True Story." If you went to the bathroom you could not take your camera equipment with you in which "I wouldn't really want to anyway" but it is the point. If you went to get a bite to eat or something to drink you had to leave your equipment with them. You could not go anywhere without an escort. The worst part of it all was they would take us to the second stage to get photo's, bring us back to the area for media, and we could not go back and watch the show even if you gave them your equipment. So, I only got to see certain bands for two songs, and then it was back to the bull pin. I could hear them but couldn't see them, by this point my blood is boiling and I give my camera equipment to one of the "Herders" and I am escorted to the little tiki-hut they had to get a cold beer. I was totally shocked when I found out that beer was $8.00 for about a damn 18oz cup. I mean all bullshit aside but $8.00? I asked the bartender was she screwing with me or was she just trying to get a good tip? She said no for real!! So, I spent $9.00 a beer with the tip. After having a few it was off to second stage again to photograph Arch Enemy. I just about started a circle pit with the other media people there, but you just can't get into it like you can when you are in the pit.
After dealing with the rain, humidity, the herders, and my camera lenses fogging up, I really was wondering what the hell I am doing here when I could be out there having a lot more fun. I waited six years to see Ozzfest and I am not able to see it, I had already committed myself to shooting photos of Ozzfest and I wasn't going to give up now. So, I figured if I can't have fun out there "In the Pit" then I will have fun in the media area and have a few more beers. I just have to say that it doesn't matter how bad the situation or circumstances are "beer makes it bet-ter".
I had just come in from photographing Mastodon when all hell broke loose and "Big Dave" showed up in the media area. For those of you that have been living in a cave and don't know who "Big Dave" is he is the Tour Manager for Ozzy. He yells out to me "Hey buy me a beer" well lets say I spent a hell of a lot more money then I needed to at this point. I started hav-ing a lot more fun "Dave" saved the day. He asked me how everything was going and was I en-joying myself? I told him "Oh I am having a great time" Well maybe I didn't say it quite like that it was more like, what's up with the damn herders man? He said herders? Yeah, you know the guys that want to know when I have to take a piss, and the ones who keep escorting us to and from the stage. He's clueless so I explain what's been told to all media, and he's like that's bull-shit let me find out about this. He was gone about 10 minutes he comes back and says it's the promoters at this particular venue that are enforcing there rules not Ozzfest. So, after finding that out I felt better finding out that my six year wait to see Ozzfest was not Ozzfest's fault but the venues fault. I was starting to get pretty pissed about things and how fast they were going down hill until "Dave" told me what was up.
I got a chance to photograph It Dies Today, Trivium, Wicked Wisdom, Mastodon, Rob Zombie and Black Label Society. I could have had every band but they were picking the bands for us. I did manage to squeeze an interview in with "Bury Your Dead" don't ask me no ques-tions and I won't tell you no lie's, They looked for me for about 45 minutes and could not find me I was on "Bury Your Deads" bus with Mat Bruso. After the interview I came back in and slipped into the bathroom. I came out and one of the herders says "we've been looking for you for about 45 minutes" where have you been? I said didn't you just see me come out of the bathroom man? He kind of let me know that he knew I wasn't in the bathroom, but told his boss he checked the bathroom and that was where he found me, so that was cool.
During Mudvayne the people in the grass area "you know the cheap seats" decided when they heard Mudvayne's song "Dig" well lets say they took that shit to heart. With all the rain that day the grass was real wet, someone thought it would be fun to throw a big fat clump of grass towards the people at the top of the grass hill, well one went flying over head and it turned into a total all out "grass mud bomb war" I mean every bit of grass was totally gone by the end of the show. After the grass was completely gone they would climb the hill and get a running start and slide down on there butts, face first it didn't matter by the end of the evening I thought my ass took a wrong turn and ended up at Woodstock instead of Ozzfest you know the damn mud people?
After the day had pretty much gone by and Rob Zombie played over his time slot the only other band I had a chance to photograph was Black Label Society in which we were al-lowed to get 7 pictures and that was it. When the "main herder" said no one would be allowed to shoot Black Sabbath, that was my cue to let them know I was ready for an escort to my vehicle, they escorted me and my camera equipment back to my vehicle in which they watched me and a couple of other people put our stuff up. After they searched us to make sure we didn't have any James Bond type cameras and let us back in, and after being felt up and sodimized I found my wife and friends.
At this point Velvet Revolver was just finishing there set and it was finally time to see the band I have waited my whole life to see "Black Sabbath" was just about to come on stage. I am thinking at this point I made it, the herders were no where to be found the smell of the sixties and seventies was in the air, and the place was packed. Ozzy came on stage and he looked like he was as happy to see everyone there as much as we were happy to see him. He sang "N.I.B" to begin with then "After Forever" and then my all time favorite "War Pigs" he smiled the whole time while on stage. I have read a few stories where they have talked about Ozzy having to read from a teleprompter and needing the mic stand to hold his self up. I can tell you he didn't read from shit this evening, and he didn't need any help standing up. He did however ask a couple of times for some crowd participation.
Someone starting bringing buckets of water to the side of the stage for him to cool off, he would dunk his whole head in the bucket then he would pour it onto the crowd. Then he started pouring bucket after bucket under the stage to the side of the stage etc. As soon as he would empty one bucket someone would bring another full one and so on. Then everyone was shocked as hell when Sharon stuck her head out from under the stage because she was com-pletely soaked.
Ozzy acted like a kid in a candy store, I do believe there was a couple of times when he might have been having more fun than us, but that's Ozzy. What a hell of a way to end the summer and the 10th Anniversary of the fest. Hopefully, this will not be the last time we see him play but if it is than at least I finally got to see him. Would I do another Ozzfest? Would I go thru the rain again? Could I put up with the bullshit from the herders to see Ozzy again? You bet your ass I would! It was truly worth all the headaches and the money spent just to see Ozzy. I think he put on the performance of his life down there, if you missed it you missed an incredible show.
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