OZZFEST, Hang Your Head In Shame: The Backstage Perspective

The manager of a well-known heavy metal band (*NOT* IRON MAIDEN) who attended this past weekend's Ozzfest show at the Hyundai Pavillion in Devore, California has submitted the following first-hand account of the evening that will surely go down as one of the most shameful moments in recent rock history (NOTE: at his request, the author's identity is being protected by BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

"Saturday night's Ozzfest at the Hyundai Pavillion near Los Angeles was a debacle on so many levels, I am still in shock as I write this. As a fan of many of the bands [Saturday] night, one can only hope this was an isolated incident, but sadly, it most likely wasn't. As many of you have heard already, co-headliners and metal legends IRON MAIDEN were pelted with eggs, bottle caps, beer cups, spit on, had people from the Ozzfest camp talking over the PA during their set, had 'Eddie' delayed from his onstage entrance, had members of the [BLACK LABEL SOCIETY] entourage rush the stage with American flags, and had the PA intentionally turned off over six times, all by the OSBOURNE CAMP.

"While it's still unclear as to the exact reasons why the terrorizing started (rumors abounded as to why, with everything from Bruce calling out Ozzy in the U.K. rock magazine Kerrang! on the widely known fact that Ozzy uses a teleprompter, to various vague references said on stage about a 'reality show' at an Ozzfest stop in Detroit), one thing was very clear: The whole thing stunk, and left me, and nearly all of the 40,000+ heavy metal fans in attendance angered and disappointed. Not that behind the scenes bickering or magazine trash-talking is anything new to rock fans, but the shocking lack of professionalism at one of the largest stops in North America in front of 40,000+ spectators, at the hand of the Osbournes was nothing short of disgusting.

"It all began early in the afternoon, when many side stage bands were openly approached in clear view of everyone backstage by Sharon and Kelly Osbourne to 'join them in throwing eggs at IRON MAIDEN this evening.' All the bands were encouraged to rally the other side-stage bands to do so. Members and/or friends of the hardcore band BURY YOUR DEAD were seen actively trying to encourage other side-stage bands to 'join in the fun.' Thankfully, many side stage bands angrily declined.

"Later that evening, as IRON MAIDEN came on stage, their intro was interrupted by [BLACK LABEL SOCIETY] hanger-on and biker wannabe Big Dave, who was at the soundboard loudly chanting 'Ozzy, Ozzy' over the PA. MAIDEN opened their set and the entire band was pelted from the front row with eggs, beer, beer cups, spit, and various other objects by an Ozzfest-credentialed, bandana-wearing, Osbourne entourage. IRON MAIDEN, ever the professionals, continued through their set, and by the time they launched into their second song, 'The Trooper', Bruce changed into a civil war-era, red coat and began waving a Union Jack — British flag. Then, someone in, or associated with, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY tried to rush the stage waving and American Flag with the words 'Don't fuck with Ozzy' scrawled across his bare chest. He was tackled and beaten by MAIDEN crew and promptly thrown off stage.

"As 'The Trooper' ended, frontman Bruce Dickinson, with characteristic spunk, launched into a scathing attack on the people terrorizing his band, calling them 'a sorry excuse for an Ozzy Osbourne fan,' and wondering aloud how, 'three dozen eggs could get snuck into the front row of Ozzfest by people with Ozzfest laminates?' Though he never named names, all in attendance could understand who he was referring to. Nicko McBrain ran up to the front asking Bruce to hold on while he cleaned egg off his drums. He then stated the the next song wouldn't be heard on 'Your local cocksucking corporate radio station, wouldn't be seen on MTV anymore, and sure as hell wouldn't be played on a fucking reality TV show,' met by a huge roar from the crowd.

"During the song 'Hallowed Be Thy Name', Bruce, after only the first two lines, stopped singing and ran to the front row, firing back at his terrorizers, saying 'That asswipe right there, with the curly hair, the fucking glasses, and Ozzfest laminate throw his fucking ass out of here right now. It's gonna take more than eggs to stop IRON MAIDEN, and if it wasn't for a lawsuit, I'd rip your fucking head off right now, you piece of shit!!!!' He had the various attackers ejected and continued with a blistering version of the song until right before the big sing long at the end, the PA was INTENTIONALLY cut off. When it came back, Bruce launched into another scathing attack saying that they were supposed to play a shorter set than normal today, and only play 55 minutes, but IRON MAIDEN can't drive 55, or play 55, and were going to play our whole fucking set tonight.

"The band endured six more 'PA cuts,' including having the power to their amps turned off at one point. When the PA would come back on, they would simply launch into the next IRON MAIDEN classic, never missing a beat. Frankly, with every PA cut, the band just got meaner and meaner, playing each new song with an anger and a fire that was at times, simply astonishing to watch. Bruce began the introduction to IRON MAIDEN with a speech about 'Your constitution has something about 'We The People.' Well let me tell you, the only reason we are up here tolerating this bullshit, is because of you people. You have been amazing Glen Helen, and there are A LOT of IRON MAIDEN fans here tonight,' eliciting a huge roar from the crowd. He continued, 'It's gonna take more than eggs to stop IRON MAIDEN, NOTHING is going to come between us and our fans, and it will be death before dishonor, this is 'Iron fucking Maiden',' which was greeted by a thunderous applause. During 'Iron Maiden', longtime MAIDEN mascot Eddie was purposely delayed from making his entrance, making a brief appearance at the end, and one could only wonder as to how. As the band closed there set with a furious version of 'Sanctuary', the PA was again cut only to have Big Dave repeatedly chant 'Ozzy' over the PA, while the band tried to say goodbye to their fans. The now-furious crowd angrily drowned him out with chants of 'MAIDEN, MAIDEN.'

"Then, not 10 seconds after MAIDEN left the stage, Sharon Osbourne walked on stage and predictably, tried to give MAIDEN some fake, half-hearted praise about how they'd like to 'thank IRON MAIDEN,' and what a wonderful band IRON MAIDEN are, and how their crew were 'fantastic,' then sneering, 'But Bruce Dickinson is a prick.' The entire crowd, now fed up with the entire affair, began loudly booing her, pelting her with beer cups, and yelling 'bitch.' She tried to carry on, adding that 'Bruce had disrespected Ozzfest,' only to be drowned out by an ocean of boos, and soaked with beer. She slammed the microphone down and stormed off stage. Many in the crowd, fed up with what they had just witnessed, especially considering that many had come solely for MAIDEN, and paid upwards of $150 to do so, left in droves. SABBATH played to maybe half the audience that was there prior, and seemed stagnate compared to the band preceding them. As a huge fan of SABBATH, I honestly couldn't stand to watch them.

"I've seen IRON MAIDEN probably 10 times in my life, and frankly this was the very best IRON MAIDEN show I've had the pleasure of witnessing. You DON'T want to fuck with IRON MAIDEN. The more the Osbournes tried to fuck with them, the better they got! IRON MAIDEN was on fucking overdrive! Considering the amount of terrorizing and intimidation that IRON MAIDEN had to deal with at the hands of the Osbournes and the other side stage and main stage bands participating, they were the consummate professionals. They had the crowd in the palms of their hands, and IRON MAIDEN and Bruce Dickinson proved beyond a shadow of a doubt why they are the greatest metal band on earth right now, and quite possibly, the classiest, too.

"The Osbournes are drunk with power. Shame on them, and shame on ANY of the bands that participated in the terrorizing and intimidation. It was disgusting display, that NO BAND should have had to endure, but especially a legend like IRON MAIDEN. That fact that it happened in front of 40,000+ people, at a Clear Channel-sponsored event, while Hyundai Pavilion Security turned a blind eye and let the Osbourne camp pelt one of the main headlining bands with eggs, beer, and spit, was simply inexcusable.

"I will proudly be attending next year's MAIDEN fest, and as much as I hate to say it, I can't bring myself to spend another dime on the Osbournes.

"Ozzfest, hang your head in shame."

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