Ozzfest 2003

UMB Bank Pavilion, St. Louis, July 17, 2003

Ozzfest 2003 may be remembered as Ozzy’s last stand. The veteran rocker looked weary and slow during his hour and a half performance to close Ozzfest 2003. It could be from the constant touring or he may finally be slowing down, but nonetheless, he put on a great show. Battling severe laryngitis, he used long guitar solos to get through the evening. The nearly full house at UMB Bank Pavilion cheered him on through his whole performance. For myself, it was odd seeing bassist Jason Newsted without the other members of Metallica.

While Ozzy closed the evening at Ozzfest, it was Marilyn Manson who stole the show. Manson put on one of the most bizarre, strange, and entertaining shows I have ever witnessed. Manson came out dressed in his typical black leather apparel; from there, the show got stranger by every song. At one point he appeared onstage wearing arm extensions that were twice or three times as long as his normal arms. Another time, he had two dancers onstage who were wearing prosthetic body parts. He ended the show in black-and-white face paint wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Manson’s fans could be seen all over Ozzfest; teens in dog collars and dressed from head to toe in black were out in abundance. Though I used to think he was more famous for his shock value than music, I may have been wrong; I really enjoyed his entire hour-long set.

Korn, Disturbed, and Chevelle were also on the main stage. I was surprised to see Chevelle on the main stage, but they opened the show well. Disturbed was also enjoyable. I have never really listened to much of their music, but they do have a dedicated group of fans, many with tattoos that honor the band. Lead singer Dave Draiman had a lot of interaction with the fans. He spoke of playing music for the people because they are what the band is all about. He also made a nice gesture by paying homage to a man he called “the godfather of heavy metal,” Ozzy Osbourne.

I was really anticipating Korn, and they didn’t disappoint. Having seen them on four previous occasions, I can say their performance gets better every time. After two disappointing albums, the band is trying to make their music more raw and harder, as it was in the beginning. If their hour-long set was any indicator, Korn may be ready to once again take the metal music scene by the horns.

The second stage was filled with up-and-coming metal bands, including Endo. First of all, I must thank them for the great seats; I had a great view of the main stage. “Intense” is the only word that comes to mind when defining their performance. Lead singer Gil Benton’s presence onstage is ferocious. With Benton as the driving force behind the music, the other members seemed to feed off each other’s energy, which created a brutal and intense show. This band could be destined for the main stage of Ozzfest.

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