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Headbangers

Ozzy and Rob Zombie<

By A Headbanger, Do You Bang Head?
Friday, January 11, 2008 @ 10:52 PM


At Verizon Center

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Reviewed by Jeff

First off, this review will be a lot shorter than the one I wrote for last yearís Slayer show in DC. Unfortunately, I couldnít find an excuse to quote Carl Spackler at the concert either, so I guess itís a wash in the end. Iím embarrassed that I didnít even know about this concert until my friend Debbie e-mailed me about going a few days before the show. DC doesnít have much of a metal scene and things were crazy with Christmas and New Years, but this one just got past me.

We arrived, as the first act was finishing up. In This Moment had a decent sound and the woman fronting them sounded good, but unfortunately we missed the set. I wouldnít mind catching them if they roll back around at a smaller venue.

We got to our seats Ė second tier, first row, and slightly behind the stage at a 5:00 position. There were video screens flanking the stage, but they were facing forward, so we missed most of the video effects. Debbie brought along a small pair of binoculars, so we were able to get some good close up looks and sitting to the side of the stage gave a cool view of the back stage happenings.

I donít know a lot of Rob Zombieís material outside of "AstroCreep 2000", but I thought he gave a pretty solid performance. Without the video a lot of Zombieís concert experience is lost, but Zombie puts a lot of energy into his shows. He was moving around stage like a madman, and ventured out into the crowd twice. On either side of the stage were two raised platforms, where he had what amounted to two go-go dancers, one on each platform. They were only out for a few songs, and before going on one stage for one number we could see one of them practicing her moves behind stage. Without the right song it looked like she was having trouble doing the Macarena, but her routine worked a lot better when the music was playing.

I usually get bored during the typical overextended heavy metal guitar solo, but Zombieís guy was tight and knew not to go on too long. Around halfway through he segued into "Eruption", and did a damned good job with it. The solo marked one of Robís trips through the audience, and he carried a spotlight with him as he wove through the crowd. Iíd give more of a set list, but like I said, I donít know too much of Zombieís music. At least he hit a few tunes that I knew, like "Living Dead Girl", "More Human Than Human", and "Thunder Kiss Ď65" scattered through the set before closing out with "Dragula". "Dragula" featured some very Rob Zombie-ish effects Ė the was a guy in a giant robot/Martian costume wandering around stage, two large mutant zombie soldiers on the platforms beating on single drums, and the go-go girls in sort of cheerleader outfits Ė long pants, halter tops & pom poms. Overall I was impressed with Zombie and would definitely see him again.

The side of the stage gave a good view of the dismantling/assembling of the two stages. The fact that the PA was playing some AC/DC didnít hurt in passing the time, either. We got a good mix Ė songs like "Sin City, "Thunderstruck", and "Jailbreak". Ozzy finally came out by dropping a view screen and showing a sequence of shows/movies that they had CGIíd him into. Even though we were behind, we could see everything through the back of the screen. The videos had him in settings like "The Sopranos", "The Office", one of the Hannibal movies, and "Wedding Crashers" - and in this version of WC, Jane Seymour finally gets The Motorboat! With the videos done I was ready for Ozzyís set. The last time I saw him was nineteen years ago when he was touring off of "No Rest for the Wicked" with Anthrax. Both bands put on a great show back then, so I had a high expectation for tonightís set.

Ozzy started off with "I Donít Want to Stop". Not a bad song, but not a personal favorite. Luckily he didnít waste time with new songs and followed with "Crazy Train". We also got a few more killer old school songs - "Suicide Solution", "Mr. Crowley", one or two newer ones I didnít really know, and my favorite out of his solo work, "Bark at the Moon". During one of the guitar solos Ozzy had some fun with the crowd, spraying some kind of white foam across the people in the first rows. After BATM he introduced the band. When Ozzy got to his guitarist he told us that "If you donít know who this guy is, you donít fucking belong here!" At that point I felt like a goon for not even realizing that Zack Wylde was touring with Ozzy, and this was where Wylde launched into what felt like a 20 minute guitar solo. Like I said, Iíve never been a fan of the too-long solo, even though he was absolutely amazing. I know that Ozzy is getting up there in the years and needs a few to take a breather, but looking down at the people on the floor I could see that most of them were as bored as I was. The solo closed out going into "The Star Spangled Banner" Ė maybe a bit overdone these days, but Zakk did a good job with it. And it was nice for once to hear the National Anthem performed at the Verizon Center without a bunch of asshats shouting "O" toward the end.

Ozzy came back to the stage with "I Donít Know" Ė we definitely got a great dose of "Blizzard" tonight. Next up was some crappy ballad that I didnít recognizeÖthat would be the low point of the show for me. During the song I decided to head to the bar, as the rum I had smuggled in to sweeten our drinks was kicked. Yes, even though Iím too old to be sneaking booze into a show, it still gives a good old school feeling to get a flask past security. But with our rum gone, it was time to hit the concession stands. Unfortunately at concerts you donít have any way of knowing when last call is, and apparently I had just missed it. I got back for the last song of the set, "I Donít Want to Change the World".

Ozzy came back out for the encore to "Mama Iím Coming Home." Iíve never been a fan of this song either, and I was amazed that we hadnít heard a single Sabbath song yet. After MICH, Ozzy got the crowd chanting for one more song, which of course, was "Paranoid." Overall, the show was a disappointment. The set was short, although I understand that he was still recovering from a throat infection. And the hit and miss song selection would have made Dave Mustaine proud, but overall the bandís performance was tight and with the right opening act Iíd take another shot seeing him live again. And even if it was many years ago, I can say I saw at least one Ozzy show that kicked ass. So Iíve got that going for me, which is nice.



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