Review: ROB HALFORD Saves The Day At OZZFEST In Camden

Patrick Berkery of Philadelphia's The Inquirer reviewed the Ozzfest 2004 traveling festival when it hit Camden, NJ on Thursday (August 26). An excerpt from his review follows:

"BLACK SABBATH drummer Bill Ward had just delivered the buzz-kill news to the 25,000 members of Ozzfest Nation, some of whom had been at the annual metal-thon all day — enduring such atrocities as LACUNA COIL's bad EVANESCENCE impersonation and the comically ghoulish goth-thrash of DIMMU BORGIR:

"Ozzy Osbourne had bronchitis and would not be fronting SABBATH this evening.

"Ward extended Ozzy's regrets, explained how Halford, the band's 'old mate' from Birmingham, England, would be filling in, and profanely proclaimed several times how SABBATH would play as hard as possible. The swelling chorus of boos, obscene gestures, and flying plastic cups indicated the crowd wasn't having it. Probably because the phrase 'refunds can be obtained at point of purchase' was absent from Ward's spiel.

"But minutes later, the voice of reason arrived via Halford: piercing, steely, and aiming to save the day. The first words: 'Generals gathered in their masses...' Halford — whose reunited PRIEST preceded SABBATH with a galvanizing set — was leading the Sabs on their 1971 warmonger indictment, 'War Pigs'. It was frighteningly pertinent and potent, thanks to Halford's sadistic delivery.

"As SABBATH droned and trudged behind him through the fiendish acid-rock of 'Fairies Wear Boots', the ecologically conscious proto-grunge of 'Into the Void', and the straight-from-the-bowels-of-Hades dirge 'Black Sabbath', Halford (who, in Ozzy fashion, stayed close to the TelePrompTer) proved a more than suitable understudy.

"Unlike with Ozzy, however, his voice rarely wavered in pitch. Most songs were played in a lower tuning to accommodate Osbourne's diminished vocal range, but Halford could have easily handled them in the original key.

"If you closed your eyes, it was SABBATH on its best night in the mid-'70s." Read more.

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