On this date in history, 7/31/2005, Ozzfest returned to Deer Creek with a much stronger overall lineup than the one on the same date from exactly 2 years before, with one notable exception…this one had no Ozzy! The bands at this version of the tour featured Iron Maiden, Mudvayne, Shadows Fall, Black Label Society, In Flames, Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, Mastodon, A Dozen Furies, Bury Your Dead, The Haunted, The Black Dahlia Murder, Trivium, Arch Enemy, It Dies Today, Soilwork, Gizmachi, and Wicked Wisdom. Wicked Wisdom were the opening band, and as it always happened, they were done before we could pass the annual body search by security to gain entrance to the venue. Wicked Wisdom was fronted by actress Jada Pinket-Smith (wife of Will Smith) and also featuring the drummer Fish from Fishbone. I had hoped to see them, but to no avail…thanks, security! Another female fronted band, the incredible Arch Enemy, were my first big highlight of the day. They killed it with great songs, blazing lead guitar work and the amazing Angela Gossow on vocals. Trivium, The Black Dahlia Murder, and The Haunted kept the intensity up, weighing in with blistering sets full of energy and technical brutality. Bury Your Dead hit the stage with their metalcore energy and during one song we found ourselves looking at a couple of movie stars as Will Smith (yes, THAT Will Smith!) and Jada Pinket-Smith joined the band for some backup vocals. Seeing Will Smith on an Ozzfest stage in a wife-beater t-shirt and seemingly enjoying every moment was a truly surreal moment. A Dozen Furies were up next. They had earned a spot on the tour by winning the contest on the reality show “Battle For Ozzfest.” They were quite good, too, with youthful exuberance and obviously delighted to be on the best tour around at that time. Mastodon raised the bar several notches with their incredible set. I noticed that seemingly every band member from all the other second stage bands were crowded together on the side of the stage to witness Mastodon’s performance. They were obviously the buzz band of the tour and the accolades were well earned and well deserved. As I Lay Dying couldn’t match the Mastodon intensity, but were still pretty good. Killswitch Engage played an outrageously entertaining, high velocity set and paved the way for a totally stripped down, bare basics performance from Rob Zombie to close out the second stage. Zombie proved he can get by on the power of his music, his superb band, and his own larger than life charisma. I didn’t get to see In Flames because I nearly succumbed to heat stroke, so I had to take shelter and re-hydrate myself to get ready for Black Label Society. The Zakk attack was a must for me. His playing, singing, and the whole BLS thing is a very appealing sound for me and so many others. Shadows Fall and Mudvayne played great sets, and then it was finally time for me to see the majestic Iron Maiden for the first time in my life. Up the Irons indeed…just a spectacular performance from top to bottom. They stuck to songs from their first 4 albums, and Bruce Dickinson proved why he is one of the premier singers in all of metal’s history. Of course, he has the 3 guitar army of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and Janick Gers, plus the incredible rhythm section of Steve Harris on bass and Nicko McBrain on drums, to build all those iconic Maiden songs on top of. It would have been nice to have some Ozzy to follow Iron Maiden, but that isn’t even a complaint. This show was golden and will always remain an incredible set of memories.
Written By Braddon S Williams aka The Braddon S Williams