Review: Ozzfest 2003: Indianapolis, Indiana

Ozzfest 2003
July 31
Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
Indianapolis, Indiana

So this was my first trip to Ozzfest. While there are several complaints I have about it, I did have a good time. We pulled into the venue around 11:00. We parked the car, surprisingly without being charged, then made what seemed like a mile hike to the gate. While walking to the gates, we could hear Depswa playing on the second stage. I’ve never listened to them before, but what I heard sounded pretty good. Once at the gate I was informed that I wasn’t allowed to take in my cameras. Even though I had just bought the two disposable cameras specifically for the event, I tossed them in the trash. Not that big of a deal, though I still wasn’t happy about it. Afterall, it does say on the tickets No Cameras. Most concert tickets I get say that but still allow them. But what did I see just several minutes later while wandering the grounds? A damn booth selling disposable cameras. So let me get this straight. You first buy the overpriced tickets to see the show, then you can’t take your own camera into the venue but are forced to buy one from them? Not right at all. Long story short, I didn’t come home with any pictures from Ozzfest. Only my memories.

The first band we wanted to see, which was Hotwire, didn’t go on until 1:00 so we had a couple hours to check things out. I wanted to buy an Ozzfest tour T-shirt so we looked for the merchandise booth. We found it, but much to my displeasure, the price was more than I expected. Call me cheap, but I don’t think a T-shirt should cost more than $20.00, and that’s pushing it. But what do I see on the price tag? Thirty-five fucking dollars! For a damn T-shirt! So not only did I go home without pictures of the show, but no T-shirt either. Not because I didn’t have the money, because I had plenty. I took $100 with me for anything that I might need. But I refuse to pay that much for a T-shirt. We walked around to some of the other booths that they had set up. They had a game where you could pay $5 to kick a soccer ball at a guys head. I didn’t play, but it sure was funny to watch. They had other games like throwing darts at balloons, and shooting the stars out of a paper target with a pellet gun. With each game, win or lose, you got a “free” Ozzfest sampler. Not exactly free considering you just paid $5 to play the game. They also had a tattoo and piercing booth set up, which was tempting if only to say that I got a tat at Ozzfest, but I passed. I found a clothing tent that was selling trucker hats with different designs on them for only $10. I opted for the skull and crossbones design. We made our way through the other booths and decided to head on over to the second stage. When we got to the stage it was about 12:30 and Motograter was finishing up their set. I just caught the tail end, so I can’t say how they were. We made our way closer to the stage, until we were about six or seven rows back.

Memento was up next. I had never heard of these guys, but they sounded pretty good and put on a cool show. The lead singer was wearing only a pair of boxer briefs and a knee long T-shirt. He let a kid come onto the stage with him and climb up on his shoulders. He performed about half of a song with the kid on his shoulders rocking out. Before one of their songs, they stopped to talk for a minute and mentioned Dave Williams of Drowning Pool. They said that last year at this stop on the tour, Dave Williams played his last show. Then they dedicated the song to him. I don’t remember the name of the song, but it was pretty good. While waiting for the next band to set up, I saw David Draiman of Disturbed on the other side of the guard rail. He was only about 10 feet from me and several people were already calling for him. He came over and signed some autographs, but unfortunately for me, everyone else had the same idea and began swarming him. He then went on down the railing in front of the stage and was just signing for whoever was right up front. I wasn’t going to be able to push through the crowd, so I said fuck it.

Next up was the band I was waiting for, Hotwire. I had downloaded a few songs from these guys recently, and was really looking forward to their Ozzfest performance. I don’t remember their exact set list, or the order they went in. In fact, the only song I recognized was Not Today. A lot of the crowd didn’t seem into these guys at first, maybe they had never heard of them. It didn’t take long for the pits to break out and everyone go wild. I later purchased their album from the FYE booth for $10. It’s an excellent album and I highly recommend checking them out. If you like the band Vaux, you will like Hotwire. During their set, I got hit in the groin pretty hard, so I decided to take a break and go get some water.

After waiting in line for 15 minutes to pay $3.50 for a cup of water, we sat down and watched the guy get a soccer ball kicked at his head some more. We drank our water then headed back to the second stage. A bit too late as I was wanting to watch Killswitch Engage’s set. I’ve never listened to them before, but always heard good things about them. We saw them play their last song, which was My Last Serenade and they sounded pretty good. Up next after them was Shadows Fall. I had only heard one song from them before, and that was only because my brother played it for me. This is an excellent fucking band and they put on a badass show. Since I’m not familiar with their songs though, I don’t remember the set list. We then watched Nothingface, another band I wasn’t familiar with. I had heard of them but never listened to them. They were awesome though, and the crowd seemed pretty into them. After they played, it was time for a restroom break. After taking a leak, we headed back to the second stage to wait for Cradle of Filth to play. I’ve heard these guys before and I didn’t like them. My brother wanted to check them out though, so along we went. When we got back Voivod was playing. This was about the time of day I was wishing I had some ear plugs to block out the music. I didn’t like them at all. Apparently other people didn’t either cuz someone threw something at the singer. I couldn’t tell what it was though. After the set, Jason Newstead got on the microphone and said “Whoever threw something at insert lead singers name here can eat a dick”. Whatever, ass. Cradle of Filth was up next and a rush of people from the back of the crowd occurred. Seems that a lot of people were wanting to check them out. Not sure if it was for the music or because of what they’ve heard of their stage show. They were all wearing tight leather suits in the 90 degree weather. We weren’t into them at all though, so we headed to our seats for the main stage.

We had decent seats. We were quite a bit back from the stage, but we were right in the middle so we had a good view of the complete stage. We could see the bands just fine, so no complaints here.

First up was Chevelle. The seats were still kind of empty at this point. I don’t think too many people cared to see them. They’re not quite as heavy as the other bands on the main stage. I imagine that Chevelle is to Ozzfest as Simple Plan is to Warped Tour. I like Chevelle though, and they actually seamed harder live than what they do on their album. These guys played great, but weren’t very active around the stage. Their background was just a curtain and the large screen with their name on it. I don’t remember actual orders, but I know they played The Red, Send The Pain Below, Until You’re Reformed, and Comfortable Liar. They played a few others, but those are the ones I recognized. After they played, we headed back for some more water. We didn’t want to wait in line though, so we settled for just a quick drink from the fountain. This will prove to be not so smart for me later on in the evening. More on that later though.

Up next was Disturbed. We missed the first few minutes of their set, so I don’t remember what they opened up with. Their background was a red curtain and the logo from their Believe album. Simple, but it looked pretty cool. The songs they played were Prayer, Remember, Down With The Sickness, Fear, Stupify, and Liberate. I know there was more, but I don’t remember them all. They played excellent, the crowd seemed pretty into them, and they were pretty active on the stage. David did a good job of covering the stage and getting the crowd hyped up.

After Disturbed was Marilyn Manson. I’m not much into his music, but he’s got several songs that I do enjoy. My brother was really looking forward to him though. He put on a very entertaining show, to say the least. He used a lot of props, namely two strippers though they had fake ass’s and breasts. They each danced on their own platform behind him. Manson pulled one of them to the ground and pulled off her panties, which made for a good show while she continued to dance and open her legs for everyone to see. I was a ways back, so I couldn’t tell if she had anything else on underneath, but it sure didn’t look like it. He started out with mostly newer songs, like mObscene, This Is The New Shit, Disposable Teens, Rock Is Dead, The Dope Show, and Golden Age of Grotesque. He then said, “I know that you guys were ready for the new shit, but now are you ready for the old shit”. He then went into Sweet Dreams, Beautiful People, and The Fight Song. The crowd seemed to be more into his older stuff, but he kept us entertained the whole time.

Korn was up next, and it seemed that’s what most people were waiting for as the seats completely filled up at this point. Their background was a huge screen that played weird videos that went along with each song. While I do own two of their albums, Life Is Peachy and Untouchable, I’m not a huge Korn fan. I enjoyed their set though. I know they opened up with Blind. They also played Got The Life, A.D.I.D.A.S., Here To Say, Freak On A Leash, Faget and Shoots and Ladders. Jonathan also brought out the bagpipes, which was a huge hit with the crowd. The highlight of their set for me was when they broke out into a cover of One by Metallica. Badass. They also performed their new song from the Tomb Raider soundtrack, Did My Time. It’s a pretty good song. They didn’t talk to the fans very much. Maybe they cut out the talking and bullshit so they can play more songs, or maybe they don’t care. I’m no ones judge, so I couldn’t really say.

After Korn was done, they started setting up for the man I had been waiting for all day long, Ozzy. They were just about done setting up when his voice came over the speakers. He started getting the crowd hyped up before we could even see him, which I thought was pretty cool. Then he and the rest of the band came out on stage and the crowd went wild. He stuck to all older songs, and didn’t play anything from his latest album. Unusual for most bands, but it seems that most people would rather hear the older stuff from Ozzy. He opened up with War Pigs, which is a great fucking song. Other songs he performed included Mr. Crowley, I Don’t Know, Iron Man, I Don’t Want To Change The World, Goodbye To Romance, Crazy Train, and Road To Nowhere. About midway through the set, Ozzy and the rest of the band left the stage and Zakk stayed out by himself. Guitar solo time. This shit was badass, and seemed to last forever. He played regular, behind his head, and even with his teeth! Then he played the star spangled banner, which was pretty cool. He finished up and Ozzy came back out with the rest of the band. This was the best set of the day, in my opinion. Ozzy worked the crowd excellently. He did his usual thing of throwing buckets of water on the crowd, spraying them with water guns, and there were sprinklers above the first several rows that sprayed water many times throughout the set. It was like, as soon as they thought those people were drying off a bit, they let them have it again. I’m sure with the heat it felt pretty good though, and it was the only time I wished I had closer seats. After one of the songs, Ozzy stopped to talk about his tour manager of 25 years, who recently passed away. He said that if he seemed a little down tonight, it’s because he recently lost his tour manager to throat cancer. He said that he had a broken heart. On a lighter note, he announced that his wife Sharon was now one hundred percent cancer free, which drew a huge cheer from the crowd. He also took the time out to introduce everyone else in his band, which I thought was cool. When it seemed that he was done performing, he said good night and headed back stage. The crowd was having none of it though, and they began chanting one more song. Of course, Ozzy on the microphone from backstage directing the crowd in said chant helped out too. They all came back out and he did Mama, I’m Coming Home. After that, Ozzy again directed the crowd in a chant for one more song. He then did Paranoid and wrapped up the set. He said before everyone leaves, “If you’ve got any drugs or alcohol, please give some to me”. He then told us all to drive safely and thanked us for coming out.

Overall, with only a few minor complaints, I thought Ozzfest was a good show. I probably won’t go again next year though. I saw who I went for, which was Ozzy, and that was enough for me. If I had to compare Ozzfest with Warped Tour, I would say that I had more fun at Warped and you definitely get more for your money. Less than $30 a ticket for about the same amount of bands, maybe more. You can take in cameras of your own, as well as one sealed water bottle which prevents having to pay outrageous prices on water. Also, whether it’s a CD sampler or stickers, every booth at Warped Tour gives out free shit. Maybe I expect too much, maybe I just like to complain. But I think if I pay for the ticket to see the show, I should at least be able to bring in a camera of my own and take pictures. I got a Warped Tour T-shirt when I went and only paid like $18 for it, maybe a little more. Ozzfest T-shirts were $35, I don’t see how they can justify that. Oh yeah, I mentioned earlier about the water situation, and just grabbing quick drinks from the water fountain. Not a good idea. You can’t really avoid paying the high prices for water when you’re at an all day show like this. I know it sucks, but it beats what I went through later that evening and the next day. After we got home that evening, I went to bed. I woke up a few hours later feeling shaky and sick to my stomach. I also couldn’t urinate, and my side was hurting. It seemed like I was losing some feeling in my legs as well. I called my Mother and asked her what she thought, and when finding out I only drank one cup of water all eleven hours that I was in the 90 degree heat, she suggested that I was probably dehydrated. Duh! Why didn’t I think of that? So I downed several cups of water and two bottles of Gatorade, then I felt better. I went back to sleep, only to wake up every hour or so having to take a piss because of all of the fluids I drank. Later that afternoon when I got up, I seemed fine. I took a shower and began helping my girlfriend move. I started feeling sick again, side cramps, feeling shaky, and I couldn’t urinate and was constipated. I ended up going to the emergency room for fear that it was something more than dehydration. I remembered getting hit in the groin at the concert, so that stuck out in my mind. I had no idea what was going on. Turns out I was just still dehydrated, thankfully. It sucked pretty bad spending five hours in the emergency room. So take my advice, whether you have to pay $4 or $5 for a cup of water, or occupy the drinking fountain for ten minutes, drink a lot of water when you’re at an all day show like this. If not, you’ll have all sorts of problems.

One reply on “Review: Ozzfest 2003: Indianapolis, Indiana”

Hey man e-mail me. I realised after reading your article that I was at the same show! Im from cincinnati but I always go to Noblesville Indiana at the verizon wireless ampithater…. you described everythin correctly and all haha. sweet dude…i got pics of that whole entire show if ya want any e-mail me. I was on front row by the way so the pics are good.

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