MAYHEM TOUR with
OZZY OSBOURNE, ROB ZOMBIE, MUDVAYNE, SOIL
The Alliant Energy Center; Madison, WI; 12/01/01
Reviewed by Jason Savage
Roadkill, strippers and Santa Claus
... What could these three things possibly have in common? They were all part of the Black Christmas
package featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Rob Zombie, Mudvayne and Soil - also known as the Merry Mayhem tour. Expectations were high as Ozzy toured
in support of his long awaited "Down to Earth" CD along with fellow evil elf, Rob Zombie,
who also touted a new release, "Sinister Urge." The hype for this event rivaled a
heavyweight title fight, pitting the "Godfather of Metal" against younger veteran
Rob "I do living dead girls" Zombie. Whose stage set was better? Which fighter had the backing of the crowd? Here is the tale of the
Excitement filled the air, not to mention the smell of sweet leaf, as the four of us began our journey to tonight's heavymetalweight bout. Along for the ride was my brother Ryan, cousin Scott (aka "Mulletman") and a friend we affectionately call "Dahmer." The ride down to the venue played out as one big video game with me as the driver. I felt like I was playing "Cruisin' USA" as I fought against roadrage while dodging FIBs, my ultimate prize being a kick ass concert.
Every main event must have other lesser known boxers on the card. Tonight's lightweight bout, Soil, started earlier than advertised so we missed them. This seems to be the norm at the Dane County arena lately. I feel for these acts that don't get their opportunity to showcase themselves.
The middleweight contenders, Mudvayne, were next up on the card. I have already seen these guys three times in the last year so I figured they couldn't surprise me. Boy, was I wrong! They completely changed their stage personas. Lead growler Kud donned what looked like a roadkill outfit fresh off the set of a twisted version of "Cats," instead of his striped overalls. He reminded me of a deer after being recently struck by an eighteen-wheeler. Imagine bloodstained brown and white fur that is ripped in places. Hanging out of these tears in the flesh were internal organs. The chest cavity was bared for all to see and intestines dangled helplessly from Kud's lower abdomen.
The rest of the band shed their traditional colors for a lighter motif. Gurgg sported white insane asylum garb as his guitar gently wept (R.I.P. George). Mudvayne played the usual set list including: "Internal Primates Forever," Death Blooms," "1," "Prod," "Nothing to Gein," and "Cradle." During this last song, the visuals were surreal as they took a page from Slipknot's tour book, using the snow effect, showering the audience with bits of paper. It worked well here. Above the front of the stage was another wintry prop, this being what looked like huge icicles hanging from the rafters. They closed with their radio hit, "Dig." The nastiest thing occurred during their set while we stood watching. Some dude got sick and vomited on the floor in front of us, chunks of what smelled like Taco Hell landing on Ryan and Scott's shoes. The crowd quickly cleared and formed a circle around the puke as if it had just started its own mosh pit. Several unwary concert goers managed to walk through it. I'm sure they were wondering why everyone was laughing as they trudged past. Eventually, enough folks slid through it and it pretty much disappeared.
And now ... our main event ... "Let's get ready to rumbllllllllllllllllleeeee!!"
Rob Zombie had one of the coolest stage sets I
have EVER seen! It had a symmetrical feel with each side having the same things. Green skulls, red skulls, purple
skulls ... skulls everywhere! Both ends had one of these huge skulls. In the center, the drum riser sat atop
Zombie's trademark green horror comic book skull. Imagine being in the Beavis and Butthead "Do America" movie when they eat the
peyote and pass out in the desert - you know the part, where Mr. Zombie himself did the
animation? I felt like I was in the set of some deranged horror movie with a killer soundtrack
surrounding me at every turn. Rob even played clips and the title track from his
unreleased movie "House of a Thousand Corpses," the movie that was too brutal
for Hollywood to show. I can tell you this much, the crowd sure loved it. It was some of the most graphic scenery I have ever witnessed. Imagine
"Night of the Living Dead" in color if it could embrace today's technology. Frightening stuff to say
the least! Zombie played many songs from his long history to include White Zombie favorites such
as "Thunder Kiss 65," "More Human Than Human," and "Super-Charger Heaven," as well as current
hits like "Feel So Numb." During "Living Dead Girl," two very hot women danced at each
side of the stage in see-through white burial cloth dresses. They also came out in leather hot pants. During
"Dragula," they donned tight red leather jumpsuits as they cheered Herman Munster with pom poms
as he raced on the huge TV screen to the rear of the stage. Several ten foot tall robots
stalked the stage with glowing red eyes. This brought loud screams from the audience. To keep with the boxing
theme, they did remind me of "Rock em', Sock em'" Robots. I was so in awe of the whole freakshow
that most of the songs he played escaped me. This was a total audio/visual extravaganza
comparable only to KISS. Kudos to Rob for a job well done. I was blown away!
We witnessed yet another eye-opening event during this set. Some idiot body surfer managed to drop his pants as the
security guard lifted him over the barricade. This would've gone un-noticed but the cameraman that
took pictures for the two huge video screens captured the guy as he came over, his ass in lights for
all to see. As he stood next to the guard, he turned to the camera to show off his small package to
the masses. This was met with loud boos and jeers. Rob said: "I've seen a lot of things in the last
fifteen years, but never that!"
As the title fight continued, we find Ozzy beaten and battered by Rob's fantastic display of stage presence. How would Ozzy counter? That, my friends is what you are about to find out ...
Ozzy portrays various characters in videos which we all know he loves to do. This montage had him clothed in burlesque styled lingerie with a large poofy blonde wig as he sang and danced in the Moulin Rouge video with Pink, Lil' Kim, Mya and Christina Aguilera, whom he also dressed like. Ozzy also mocked Miss Cleo as he sat at his tarot card littered table taking calls from demented callers. "The cards don't lie," he imitated in his Jamaican British drawl. The number to call for a free reading was 1-800-666-HELL. He also decked himself out in orange Tommy gear as he posed as Madonna's limo driver, as well as pretending to be a rap singer that I wasn't familiar with. The stage lights came on but Ozzy was no where to be seen. His voice was heard from somewhere and we all know how he likes to tease us from backstage. The stage set itself was simple and to the point. Large video screens flanked the sides but what appeared next was very twisted. A huge crucifix with the word "Ozzy" adorned the back of the set. Hanging upon the cross was a pot-bellied Santa Claus, his red jacket opened revealing his round stomach. Flames shot up behind him as he hung their awaiting crucifixion by the Madman. Suddenly, heads started to turn toward the back of the sold out arena. High above the jammed packed sea of mullets was a sleigh filled with many colored presents and Ozzy himself, dressed in black, donning a Santa hat. The sleigh ride started down the track towards the front as a distorted version of "Jingle Bells" rang out overhead. Ozzy grabbed what looked like a rocket launcher on a tripod, and began firing at the audience and dropping buckets of confetti. The sleigh slowly made its way to the front of the stage where he exited. On the back of the sleigh was red lighted "666."
Opening with "I Don't Know," the merry madman honored us with a plethora of songs from his thirty year history. Ozzy wore his normal outfit, black pants and a long-sleeved black shirt with a shiny gold iron-on cross. He mooned the crowd on two occasions to raucous cheers. I managed to get three deep from the front for this set and I was very pleased with Ozzy's performance.
Zakk Wylde shined, his long hair and Grizzly Adams beard wet with sweat with, most likely, his own spit as he spat in the air on several occasions. He was true to form on older tunes such as "Mr. Crowley," "Suicide Solution," and Sabbath's "Paranoid," and newer tracks off of "Down to Earth," like "Gets Me Through," "Junkie," "No Easy Way Out," and "That I Never Had." Other standouts came in the way of "No More Tears," "I Don't Wanna Change the World," and "Road to Nowhere," although the bass and feedback was overly loud on all these tracks from the "No More Tears" album.
Zakk showed his patriotism during a Hendrix inspired solo. Zakk took riffs from Eddie Van Halen solos and he played behind his back, with his teeth and did a cool rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner." Immediately following this fifteen minute solo, the Ozzman took the time to say "God Bless America. We need to find this Bin Laden fucker and nuke him!" The crowd went insane with cheers as he riled them up for more songs that were yet to come. This show was only his second since breaking his leg in the shower back at the end of October. After four weeks of rest, he was at the top of his game, at least until the end. Even though he was told to wear a leg brace, I didn't notice one. Ozzy still jumped up and down a lot and ran up the ramps on each side of the stage. Near the end, he began to limp and you could see the pain on his face. But Ozzy is a showman and cares enough about his fans to not let them down. After ending his set, the crowd chanted "OZZY, OZZY, OZZY!" for several minutes without letting up. Ozzy obliged with "Crazy Train" and "Mama I'm Coming Home." At the end, his bandmates were there to hold him up as his knees seemed to give way during their final bow. The Godfather had done it again. Missing in action were his popular songs from "Bark at the Moon" and "Ultimate Sin." Keeping with the fight analogy, Ozzy reminded me of Rocky Balboa. He took the brutal punishment and still came out the winner. I have one word to describe Ozzy's performance tonight" COURAGEOUS. As we left the arena, I overheard one fan from out of state saying that Ozzy cut his set short by three songs. As I read the back of his Ozzy concert shirt which depicted his "Retirement sucks tour," I contemplated the inevitable: Would this possibly be the last time I ever see Ozzy again?" Lets hope NOT!
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Copyright © 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:16 -0400.