It was immediatley bad when we got there as the sun was setting. Then upon stepping onto the grass we sunk a couple of inches, but the worst was yet to come when we passed through the security gates into the muddy nightmare.
I've been to muddy festivals before, hell I've been to one of the most famous of all - Woodstock '94. Even camped on site the whole weekend for that one, but the key there was you could find high ground. NOLA's City Park is all flat with tons of area which dip down a few inches to a foot which is the perfect recipe for instant swamp land.
By the end of the headlining set on this night, City Park was basically five to seven inches of mud everywhere (and said mud smelled suspiciously like sewage). With nowhere for the water to escape, the grounds appeared ruined to the point that the whole Sunday lineup was cancelled and I imagine will take months to regrow the lush grass it had been covered with 24 hours earlier.
So again, it damn well had better been a good lineup. Who could make this trek through this mess worth it? Ozzy and Friends had me mudding when those friends were going to be Tom Morello, Slash and Geezer Butler!
This was a total one off show, so no one knew quite what to expect. I, along with most others, thought the announced "friends" were going to be his band for the whole show and I had only two questions:
Who would be drumming? (not a surprise to find it would be Tommy Clufetos of Ozzy's solo band and drummer for the most recent Black Sabbath reunion tours)
And for this one off gig, could the special guests talk Ozzy into playing some stuff he hasn't played ever or for decades? ("Diary of a Madman" was my dream song...and sadly not only wasn't it played, but nothing off that album was played...c'mon Ozzy!)
So in some respect many hopes were dashed when Ozzy hit the stage at 9:30 with his current solo band and no special guests opening with "I Don't Know" off "Blizzard of Ozz"
Okay, yeah...it was a slight bummer seeing just Ozzy with Guitarist Gus G., Tommy on drums, bassist Rob "Blasko" Nicholson and Adam Wakeman on keyboards, but it had been a while since I've seen Ozzy solo and I was looking forward to the set and how the guests would be worked into it.
Also let me note, that while initially disappointed with no guests, when it was just Ozzy's solo band playing, they crushed it and Ozzy's vocals were great throughout the night!
We didn't have to wait long for the first of the friends to join in the madness when Ozzy brought out Tom Morello for the next to classics - "Mr. Crowley" and "Bark At The Moon"
Tom was having an absolute blast and even decorated the back of his guitar to say how he felt about the legend he was playing with on this night.
Tom left the stage and the standard band ripped through "Suicide Solution" and then "Shot In The Dark"
Next up was a little odd as most in the audience were looking forward to the guests when Gus G. did his guitar solo. It was a great solo, but I saw many in the audience saying why is there a guitar solo going on that doesn't involve Tom Morello or Slash, who so far had not made an appearance...maybe the weather kept him away? I wish they would have slightly adapted the set list a bit more to the guest aspect of this show.
So Gus G.'s solo led into the Black Sabbath instrumental "Rat Salad" which became Tommy Clufetos' drum solo
Then things turned up a notch when Ozzy came back out on stage with Tom, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler and Slash for what would be a LONG Sabbath set for an Ozzy solo show.
Everyone jammed out on "Iron Man" and then "N.I.B"
Tom and Slash left at this point but Geezer stayed out for some more Sabbath including some relatively deep cuts starting with "Snowblind"
Next up was "Behind the Wall of Sleep" - a double shot for the more than casual fan (and this being a festival where Ozzy was one of the few hard rock/metal acts, most definitely this was a casual fan crowd. Biggest cheers of the night were for the biggest hits - Shot in the Dark, Crazy Train, etc
I was surprised that the Black Sabbath set continued on with "War Pigs" and then "Fairies Wear Boots" at which point Geezer left the stage and Blasko rejoined his bandmates on stage.
I love Ozzy with Black Sabbath. I've seen them many times at this point - more than Ozzy solo and I already have tix to see them next year at least twice - so again, while this was great, I was just a little disappointed that we didn't get more Ozzy solo deep cuts (or even standard cuts like Flying High Again, No More Tears, Ultimate Sin, the list goes on) since I've heard and will hear these Sabbath songs again.
You know Tom and Slash know everything off Blizzard and Diary. Yeah I know, those of you who couldn't make this are telling me to stop my bitching it's just I've always felt I should have a job where I make the set lists for these bands...the concert world would be such a more amazing place...heheheh (that was me chuckling to myself, not the beginning to "Sweet Leaf" which yep, one last bitch...why not play Sweet Leaf?? Okay I'll stop now...back to the set...)
"I Don't Want to Change The World" off "No More Tears" was next and then the main set ended with "Crazy Train"
Throughout the set, while we sunk deeper in mud up to our shins, the rain was heavy at times and then we'd get a little break (which is when I would snap as many shots as I could and why I don't have any video ). Ozzy consistently told us all that both he couldn't fucking hear us and then thank us for coming out and putting up with this shitty ass weather.
After a quick encore break, Ozzy returned with his standard solo band for "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and then invited everyone (Slash, Tom, Geezer) back out on stage to end the night with Black Sabbath's "Paranoid"
So was it worth it throwing out my sneakers when I got back to the hotel room knowing they could not be saved? Hell yeah. A very cool show and lineup I surely will never seen again.
In addition, just prior to Ozzy's set, Jane's Addiction killed it (that review is coming soon) and also got a nice taste of Babes in Toyland and Public Image Ltd (some photo sets coming as well - I met John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon at the airport when we arrived two days earlier...another highlight of the trip!)
Also coming soon and I'll post it and link it here when ready was another set related to Sabbath the the previous night with a group of music all-stars doing a one off show called Funk Sabbath which was amazing. Photos and videos of that coming soon too!
Enjoy the rest of the photos (click on any of them to super size). Also if you dug this review, go to the Most People Are Blank Facebook page by clicking here and click the "Follow" button to join to be kept up to date on future posts, to comment, share and take part in our giveaways and contests (some damn good ones coming soon!) Also follow on twitter at @MostPeopleBlank As always - Rock on and Enjoy - Paul