Ozzfest ’97 featuring Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, Pantera, Marilyn Manson, Type-O-Negative, Machine Head, Fear Factory, Powerman 5000, and Coal Chamber at Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ, June 15, 1997
This quote from the New York Times sums up this legendary show:
This made the very premise of the concert one of rebellion, infusing it with the notion that rock-and-roll is more powerful than the state.
Backstory: I’ll never forget waking up super early on a Saturday morning to stand in line at the Ticketmaster window only to find out that this performance was CANCELED! What? Huh? NOOOOOO! It turned out that the state of New Jersey would not allow Manson to play this gig, so Ozzy sued the state in Federal court. New Jersey had no leg to stand on and the tickets finally went on sale a few weeks later. Whew. Then, after that silly fiasco, my parents asked me not to go because they heard a bunch of awful rumors about Manson killing 666 goats on stage or something like that. Well, my parents ended up losing that argument to this “rebellious” 17 year old.
As for the highlights of the actual show:
Fear Factory got the party started on the main stage early afternoon. I was a crazy Fear Factory head in these days. They put on a great performance, consisting mostly of songs off Demanufacture. “Replica” and “Demanufacture” were the best songs of the set.
Type-O-Negative ruled the main stage with solid performances off of October Rust, as well as classics such as “Christian Women” and “Black #1.” At the conclusion of the show, Peter Steele ripped out all his bass strings. He’s really strong.
Marilyn Manson went on during the daylight and still performed really well with his usual wild live antics like Bible-ripping and wearing practically nothing. Despite what the NY Times review says, the stadium was shaking during “The Beautiful People.”
Machine Head played on the second stage in support of The More Things Change. During Machine Heads final song, the power was pulled so Pantera’s set could begin.
Pantera was the sickest band to play and the highlight of rebellion with hundreds of people spilling on to the floor, and body-tackles administered by Giants Stadium staff to some of these people. Hey, Phil Anselmo invited them to come on down. Phil later thanked everybody for this support during a performance at Roseland Ballroom the following year (another classic show). Pantera sounded amazing by the way, with a setlist of classics and supporting The Great Southern Trendkill.
Ozzy Osbourne’s set was pretty good. It wasn’t very long since he had to play with Sabbath later. He seemed to be conserving his energy for most of the set. Joe Holmes was still on lead guitar duty at this point.
Black Sabbath was awesome and sounded way better than Ozzy’s solo set. Ozzy was also a little crazier too. I haven’t seen Ozzy perform this well since. There were laser light shows for tunes such as “Children of the Grave” and “Iron Man.” I left this show with a big smile and a $30 Black Sabbath tee-shirt.
If anyone has a bootleg from this show, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.