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Ozzfest meets Knotfest came to Southern California on September 24th and 25th, 2016 in San Bernardino.
 
Bands featured on this year’s festival were Suicidal Tendencies, Disturbed, Anthrax, Slayer, Megadeth, Slipknot, Black Sabbath and many others. METAL SHOP ROCKS was able to attend Saturday’s Ozzfest that included Sabbath and Megadeth.
 
Walking into the San Manuel Amphitheater, the heat was relentless and with the wind picking up, dust storms were everywhere. Once inside, I was able to catch a few of the opening bands like Zakk Wylde and Opeth, eagerly awaiting Megadeth.
 
Megadeth opened up with ‘Hangar 18’ and then blasted through a set that included ‘Holy Wars’, ‘Tornado of Souls’, ‘In My Darkest Hour’ and ‘Dystopia’. The fans were going crazy and the pits were insane as Dave Mustaine and company kicked ass on a one hour show.
 
Megadeth Ozzfest 9-24-16
Megadeth Ozzfest 9-24-16
Megadeth Ozzfest 9-24-16
 
When headliners Black Sabbath took the stage, I didn’t know what to expect. I have seen them in the past and their shows have been a little slow, or dare I say, boring? But this time around, it was completely different. I don’t know if it’s the fact it is their final tour or that they know it is their final tour, but it appears they wanted to give their best performance for the fans and go out on a high note.
 
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
 
Sabbath performed ‘War Pigs’, ‘Iron Man’, ‘Snowblind’ and ‘N.I.B’. Even though Ozzy Osbourne announced he had a cold and would sneeze on stage, he still sounded very good, along with the rest of the band… it was a kick-ass performance!
 
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
 
Thank you Black Sabbath (Ozzy, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Bill Ward). Thank you all for the great music you have provided over the years. If it wasn’t for you guys, heavy metal music may not be where it is today… we will miss you. -Ralph
 
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
Black Sabbath Ozzfest 9-24-16
 
Black Sabbath photos courtesy of photogrpher Ross Halfin
 

 
Count me as an 80’s metal fan that wasn’t overly excited about a Guns N’ Roses reunion tour when it was announced on April 1st of this year (it could have been a joke anyway, right?). Sure, we heard Axl and Slash were talking and supposedly had buried the hatchet, but I had images of a fat Axl and a reluctant Slash getting along just long enough for a major money haul.
 
The latter may still be true and if it wasn’t for my 17 year old son really wanting to see his new favorite band, I am not sure I would have gone. But after seeing the mostly original GnR lineup (Axl, Slash, Duff) perform in Seattle on Friday, August 12, 2016, I can say I came away impressed with the peformance and I am glad I went.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
As expected, there was wait at the t-shirt line, but it went fairly fast compared to other shows we have attended this year. While waiting, we could hear ‘The Pink Slips’, an up and coming synth-pop/punk band, fronted by 18 year old GRAVE (aka, Grace McKagan; daughter of Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan) playing their opening set. As we made it to our seats, they were followed by one of my personal favorite non-80’s metal bands, Seattle’s own, Alice In Chains, who played a fantastic set, but started so early (7:20pm), most fans had not arrived yet, and as a result, their performance lacked some of the energy you would expect from an AIC show.
 
The stage was turned for the headliners and anticipation started to set in for real on a warm evening in the Emerald City (about 83 degrees at showtime) when the giant video display began showing various GnR logos as twilight set in.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
The reunited Guns N’ Roses looked and sounded great… Axl was fit, Slash is one helluva guitar player and Duff pandered to the Seattle crowd by wearing a Seahawks shirt. They opened with ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone’, before performing ‘Chinese Democracy’ and then whipping the crowd into a frenzy with ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
It was a great energetic opening and then the setlist got a little erratic with ‘Double Talkin’ Jive’, ‘Estranged’, ‘Live and Let Die’, and ‘Rocket Queen’. All great songs, but so slow after those first four. Okay I’m being a little picky 🙂 ‘You Could Be Mine’ got the crowd going again, followed by a cover of the Misfits ‘Attitude’. Then came ‘This I Love’, ‘Civil War (with “Voodoo Child” outro)’, Coma, and a long but killer guitar solo from Slash playing the ‘Love Theme from the Godfather’ before launching into ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
The Guns N’ Roses catalog is loaded with some of my favorites of all time, but I was also reminded how many ballads they released. They performed ‘November Rain’ that included a piano intro and exit of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ back to back with ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
They finished the main set with ‘Nightrain’, before returning for encores that included ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Paradise City’, complete with great fireworks show that could only be done at an outdoors arena.
 
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
Guns N' Roses Seattle 8-12-16
 
The Guns N’ Roses North American ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour ends August 22nd in San Diego, California after two nights at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. METAL SHOP’s Ralph Cartel attended the 8/18 show, where he noted “the last time I saw the original Guns N’ Roses was back in 1988 when they opened up for the Rolling Stones at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. I vaguely remember Axl Rose talking shit… saying that if some members of the band didn’t stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone, that the band would break up.”
 
Axl, Slash and Duff last played together with the original band on the ‘Use Your Illusion tour’ that ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 17, 1993. There was no public affection between the three of them at the Seattle show, in fact, there was not much banter at all. Axl is still aloof, but his voice is in fine shape and seeing these great musicians together one more time made for a great memory.
 

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