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Ozzy Presides Over Metal Lovefest

It was heavy metal heaven Saturday at the sun-baked Blockbuster Bowl as an estimated 50,000-plus headbangers took in this year’s 12-hour-long edition of OzzFest, featuring a strong roster of young rock outfits and headlined by the granddaddy of metal bands, Black Sabbath.

The main stage, the largest of three, got rolling mid-afternoon with Taproot, Mudvayne and former Ozzy Ozbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde offering varied styles of heavy rock under a blinding sun that pushed temperatures to around 100 degrees.

Occupying the middle of the day was Crazy Town, whose members sent numerous shout-outs to the other bands on the bill; Disturbed, whose cover of Tears for Fears’ “Shout” was pretty lame; Linkin Park, which offered one of the most impressive sets of the day; and Papa Roach, whose new single “Dead Cell” was one of the event’s highlights.

Des Moines, Iowa’s nine-member Slipknot was up next, playing its first SoCal show in more than a year. The mysterious masked band caused near-pandemonium among the fans, some of whom lit bonfires on the lawn. Radio hit “Wait to Bleed” was included along with new tracks “Disasterpiece” and “Heretic Song” from the band’s upcoming Roadrunner album.

The always entertaining Marilyn Manson led his shock troops through a spectacle similar to their show last year at Universal. “This is for every dad who said you wouldn’t amount to anything,” Manson said by way of intro for “Disposable Teens.” He donned Catholic garb while the crowd shouted “Guns, God and Government,” and he worked a stage-crashing female fan into the band’s cover of Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams” by holding her down and simulating S&M acts on her.

Black Sabbath’s appearance – rumored to be their final local concert – was preceded by a video tribute to the veteran band, during which singer Ozzy Osbourne could be heard shouting into his microphone for the crowd to get “f

ing cray-zee!” even before he and the band were onstage.

What followed was an awesome, hour-plus set of classic Sabbath tracks including “Snowblind,” “Iron Man,” “Paranoid” and “Into the Void.” When Ozzy wasn’t shouting his hoarse vocals, he paced the stage with buckets of water and soaked the front few rows. He also went into his hilarious trademark frog-hop during “War Pigs,” a move that gets funnier as Ozzy gets older.

Water cannons sprayed the audience from above during opener “N.I.B.,” while fireworks and columns of flames marked the end of the show following “Children of the Grave.”

The Levi side stage featured newcomers Otep, Non-Point and American Head Charge. Drowning Pool and Union Underground had to cancel their second-stage shows.

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