Last week we put over 15 hours between us and our home to check one thing off our bucket lists, seeing Ozzy ‘Bark at the Moon’ during the total solar eclipse that captivated our nation. Though millions around the country got to experience one natural phenomenon, us, and few thousand others got to experience two. At 68 years of age and with a body that’s survived more than most at 100 years, I fully believe that the ‘Prince of Darkness’ was put on this planet, and has been kept around for all this time, simply for this moment. It might also be possible that the Black Sabbath god died a long time ago, just nobody told him. Either way, the execution of this ‘gimmicky’ performance went off without a hitch. Just minutes before the moon passed directly in front of the sun, the godfather of heavy metal took to the stage with an almost incomprehensible ‘Are you ready!? Let’s go!’, and the most memorable and epic concert that I have ever experienced began.
With recently reunited and legendary guitarist Zakk Wylde in tow, Ozzy and his band slayed through the classic ‘Bark at the Moon’. At 1:20 PM, about two minutes into the song that was seemingly wrote for this occasion, the moon passed in front of the sun and daylight turned to darkness, remaining that way for just over two and a half minutes. The sky then lit back up, and the sun was fully back into view by the time the song was over. In over 104 degree weather, the madman then continued to play for about another hour and 15 minutes powering through both almost all the Ozzy hits and a few Sabbath gems including an outstanding rendition of ‘War Pigs’, wearing long dark clothing for what seemed like about half the performance, before he left the stage for a little break during some solos. Zakk ripped it up with a solo, leaving the stage and playing right in the middle of the crowd for a few minutes, and then drummer Tommy Clufetos took over with a drum solo that was fully charged at the beginning, but seemed milked by the end. I figure ol Ozzy probably needed more of a break, which I can’t blame him for, and Tommy was probably told to play till the prince was ready to come back out.
He then returned to the stage, shirtless this time and played the remainder of the show. Despite using the crowd to sing the majority of the choruses in several songs, including ‘Crazy Train’, in which the singer I don’t think ever actually sang the words ‘Crazy Train’, the performance to me was flawless. I was just so happy to finally be seeing Ozzy Osbourne, Something I’d dreamed of since Jr. High, and at his age and condition, be put on the best possible show that he could’ve and played longer I think than he originally planned seeing as he said ‘One more song!’ like three separate times.
Though Ozzy and the eclipse was the main event, and had probably three times the amount of people in attendance, that performance only capped off a weekend full of great music and performances, from bands like Failure Anthem, Five Finger Death Punch, Black Stone Cherry, Theory of a Deadman and a lot more that I plan on writing on in separate pieces. All in all Moonstock was definitely worth the trip, which was eventful to say the least. For being the first in what is said to become an annual event, I feel that it was the best that it possibly could have been, and hopefully they’ll use this years experience and feedback to work out the bugs for an even better fest next year.-Johnny K