On this date in history, 8/24/2004, I celebrated 15 years of sobriety by attending Ozzfest at my favorite outdoor venue, Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN. That year’s lineup was arguably the heaviest of any of the yearly display of power that the Ozz man brought to the metal masses. The main stage bands included Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Slayer, Dimmu Borgir, Superjoint Ritual, and Black Label Society. The second stage featured Slipknot, Hatebreed, Lamb Of God, Atreyu, Bleeding Through, Otep, Lacuna Coil, Every Time I Die, Unearth, God Forbid, DevilDriver, Magna Fi, Throwdown, and Darkest Hour. Among my favorite performances in the brutal heat of the early afternoon were DevilDriver, God Forbid, Unearth, Otep, the mighty Lamb Of God, Hatebreed and Slipknot, who turned the second stage area into a war scene with massive pits vaporizing the maggots and non-maggots alike. Black Label Society kicked off the main stage with a killer set. I wasn’t particularly thrilled with Superjoint Ritual. That was kind of low tide in Phil Anselmo’s life and career and he said some stuff on stage that would have been best kept to himself. Dimmu Borgir played a great little 5 song set of their majestic black metal, with a crushing “Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse” being my personal highlight. Slayer followed with their trademark brutality and as they finished their epic set, ominous black stormclouds appeared overhead and made their presence felt. The rain fell, and continued to fall for the duration of the time I was there. Judas Priest played an awesome reunion show with the metal god himself, Mr. Rob Halford. I was chilled to the bone by the freezing downpour, but I wasn’t about to miss Black Sabbath. As soon as they hit the stage, Ozzy poured a bucket of water over his head and claimed solidarity with his drenched minions…a truly heroic Ozzy moment. By the next tour stop, Oz had become ill (possibly related to that very bucket of water) and Halford sang with Sabbath in his place. That would have been an epic event for certain. I have to confess that I left after the 4th song of Sabbath’s set, a victim of the icy rain. The two beautiful women who I was providing a ride home may have factored into my decision, too. I felt bad for them and besides, we had all enjoyed an immensely entertaining day of metal mastery. I miss Ozzfest, but I can’t think of a better way to celebrate such an important day in my personal history.
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic