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MERRY MAYHEM TOUR with
OZZY OSBOURNE, ROB ZOMBIE, MUDVAYNE

Continental Airlines Arena; East Rutherford, NJ; 12/23/01

Reviewed by Alicia Downs

The year was coming to a close and I could think of no better way to end it than to see the godfather of all that is metal, Ozzy Osbourne.  December 23 marked the final night of the Merry Mayhem tour with Ozzy and all his antics in full effect.

Unfortunately rumor had it that there was a problem with one of the trucks carrying equipment and some of Ozzy’s stage items - including a theatre sized television screen - were unable to make it to the venue in time for the show. Nonetheless, there was still pyro, an imitation Ozzy, shooting snow machines, and just all around holiday fun for the whole family.

Soil kicked off the event but due to circumstances beyond my control I was unable to catch their set.  I have seen them live before and they are a decent band worthy of the opening slot on this tour.  For those interested, they will be heading out with Static-X after the New Year.

Mudvayne took the stage next and I was front and center for this.  Mudvayne is genuinely a circus type entertainment act.  Amusement comes easily watching them even if you are not particularly fond of the music.  Take for example tonight’s get up which consisted of bloodied baseball uniforms and bloody bats in addition to their usual make up and hair "designs."  Tonight marked the last night for Mudvayne in more then just the Merry Mayhem tour. After four years of working their asses off, it was the last night that they would be touring in support of their album "L.D. 50."  After this tour they are heading to their respective homes where they will be working on material for their as-yet untitled follow-up album. 

Rob Zombie took the stage next. Zombie is a star in his own right and justly so.  He created his own "style" of music, easily identified as his, and never fails to provide a set that is stimulating and complimentary for his own blend of "devil music."  Zombie played a good variety of jams from his White Zombie days through the solo "Hellbilly Deluxe" album and newest release "Sinister Urge."  As expected he played singles "Living Dead Girl," "Feel So Numb," and "Dragula."  His stage show was filled with demon skulls, pyrotechnics, and tripped out lighting.  Zombie has not lost a thing over the years and he still puts on one of the best stage shows around. 

Final entertainment for the night came from none other than the man himself, Ozzy Osbourne.  Osbourne, as every Rough Edge reader well knows, is a legend.  And I say in all seriousness that Merry Mayhem was a family holiday affair; a good portion of the audience consisted of parents with their children.  The excitement levels were equal amongst all parts.  The set began with a homemade Ozzy video.  Amongst his frolics he punned Miss Cleo tarot card commercials and Madonna’s "Music" video.  Osbourne’s sense of humor makes it all the easier to accept why he has hung around this industry so long. 

While laughing your ass off a sudden burst of snow machines went off and snow was flying all about the arena. Standing right in front of these monsters I was covered in the stuff.  A car lifted off from the sound stage that blew more snow about with an Ozzy lookalike manning the car from hell.  The curtain went up to reveal a crucifix-esque statue ... but there was no Jesus Christ on the cross.  There was a Santa figure with his coat open revealing a beer gut while the figure held onto a bottle of liquor.  In place of the traditional "INRI" on the cross was nothing less then "OZZY".  The Crucifix centered on pyrotechnics that lit it up in flames.  Standing front row, the heat from the flames shooting up all over the stage was intense.

Ozzy took the stage and played a variety of songs from throughout the years including the classics "Mama I’m Coming Home," "Crazy Train," "Paranoid," and newer jam "Gets me Through."  Zakk Wylde had one hell of a solo crescendo, as he very well should.  He played the "Star Spangled Banner" in addition to just an overall jam where he showed off his talent playing behind his back and with his teeth.  

The show ended with Ozzy inviting the Fire Fighters from the 9/11 tragedy up on stage.  The audience went ballistic cheering and the Fire Fighters presented Ozzy with a cross made from pieces left over from Tower II, Ozzy immediately showed his respect kissing the cross and holding it out to audience.

The night concluded with a literal blast of fireworks and flames shooting from the stage while the crowd roared.  Holidays, in design, should be spent with the people and things that you enjoy.  For a metal fan, there was no better way to fulfill that then with Ozzy Osbourne.  The man is worthy of all the respect that he gets.  There was not a disappointed fan in the house.


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