2015 Voodoo Music + Arts Experience
New Orleans, LA
October 30-November 1, 2015
Each year the city of New Orleans
melds its mythology, mysticism, religious practices and musical history with the traditions of Halloween when it hosts The Voodoo Music + Arts Experience. The three-day festival, formerly known as The Voodoo Music Experience, given the moniker of the Ritual by some folks, and most-often referred to as Voodoo or Voodoo Fest, is held in New Orleans' City Park. During the past sixteen years, the Ritual has hosted over 2,000 performers and approximately a million fans. The festival is always scheduled on the weekend closest to Halloween. Many times, Voodoo Fest actually encompasses the holiday. That was true for this year's festival as it was scheduled for Friday, October 30th through Sunday, November 1st. That was not to be as Mother Nature had a different agenda. A tornado watch encompassing New Orleans as well as surrounding areas of southeast Louisiana was announced Saturday morning. Though the tornado never touched down, the weather "occurrence" lasted through the afternoon. The rains which started with sporadic drizzles and light storms early on Saturday, ramped up with a late afternoon thunderstorm of almost epic proportions, forcing many festival-goers to seek shelter and miss some of the headliners while others who braved the elements became mud-people as City Park morphed into something of a swamp. Sunday was a complete and total wash-out. The heavy rainstorm lingered overnight and during the morning, forcing the festival's organizer, Live Nation, to cancel the entire day's festivities due to very unsafe conditions.
Because of its diverse artist roster (the musical line-up features performers from almost every genre of music imaginable: jazz, blues, rock, funk, fusion, prog-rock, jamband, hip-hop, pop, EDM, worldbeat and heavy metal), Voodoo is clearly the best yearly concert experience in New Orleans. While the festival's motto is "Worship the Music," it is more than just a musical celebration. It also features world class food, art and many interactive opportunities scattered throughout the City Park festival grounds.
The festival features numerous stages. The largest, the Altar, is the main stage. The Carnival Stage hosts a mélange of older and upcoming acts that fit into numerous different genres. The Le Plur Stage is home to most of the EDM acts, while the Flambeau Stage is home to many of the hot up-and-comers as well as established rock, pop, blues, country and jazz acts with large followings. Lastly, the Toyota Music Den is a small tent that is home to acoustic and intimate performances by acts who have played full sets on one of the main stages earlier in the day. Each stage features fantastic performances that leave the audience deliriously happy.
The announced lineup was stellar. Voodoo 2015 headliners included: Florence & The Machine, Modest Mouse, Flow Tribe, Terence Blanchard featuring the E-Collective, Jason Isbell, The Joy Formidable, Metric, Jack Ü, Santigold, Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas, Ozzy Osbourne (featuring Tom Morello, Slash and Geezer Butler), Ryan Bingham, Clutch, Joywave, Peaches, The Suffers, Gerard Way, Yelawolf, Jane's Addiction, Dan Dyer, Clutch, Georgio Moroder, Steve Angello, Lettuce and The Struts. Unfortunately, deadmau5, Dumpstafunk, The Zac Brown Band, Third Eye Blind, Slighly Stoopid, The Cult, Eric Prydz, Chance The Rapper, Fishbone, The Ludlow Thieves and Quickie Mart, among others, were scheduled for Sunday and rained-out. Day 1: Friday, October 30th
Before the rain and the mud it was just Voodoo. Voodoo has always been part festival, part art exposition, part costume party, part amusement park (with fantastic rides) and part musical voyage. Festival goers engaged in retail therapy (purchasing band memorabilia, festival T-shirts, CDs, artwork, posters, and various wares from the vendors littered across the grounds), sampled local foods as well as other exotic culinary delights, rode the Ferris Wheel and other rides and toured the art installations. And then there was the music. It wasn't hard to find, but one had to wade through a plethora of crowd members dressed as pirates, ghosts, ghouls, skeletons, doctors, Playboy Bunnies, clowns, cats, strippers, gorillas, doctors, sexy nurses, priests, nuns (pregnant and otherwise), policemen and firemen, robots, zombies, cowboys, fairy princesses, cheerleaders, construction workers, hippies, butterflies, genies, witches, bums, rabbits, rabbis, cows, unicorns, and Indians (both Mardi Gras and American). Friday's musical performances were highlighted by... Flow Tribe:
Local heroes Flow Tribe were fittingly chosen as the first act to grace the festival's main stage. Appearing on the Altar Stage on Friday at precisely 2:25pm (a strange start time, but one chosen to allow festival-goers an opportunity to make their way across the grounds to see the act of their choice), the members of Flow Tribe were dressed as pimps wearing bright neon pastel colored suits. The band announced itself with a simple, "What's up Voodoo Fest? Are you all ready to party New Orleans?!!" The crowd cheered and the funk was flowing.
The six piece band offered a high-energy musical gumbo of funk, jazz, reggae, rock, Latin, hip-hop and blues to an adoring audience. For the locals in the crowd it was party time with many audience members not only bopping and dancing to the grooves, but singing along with K.C. O'Rorke (vocals, trumpet), Chad Penot (bass, vocals), John Michael Early (harmonica, vocals, keyboard, washboard), Bryan Santos (guitar, timbales), Mario Palmisano (guitar) and Russel Olschner (drums). As its groove-based funky beats wafted across the festival grounds, Flow Tribe made new fans and friends as the faithful were joined by other revelers who quickly joined in the celebration.
The eclectic set was punctuated by funky versions of "Hungry For You," "Good Time Girl," "Walk Like An Animal" as well as fan favorites from the band's Painkiller
(Independent, 2014), Alligator White
(Independent, 2014) and At Capacity
(Independent, 2013) releases. The Joy Formidable:
This Welsh band delivered a set of pure energy and clearly knows how to have fun. Appearing on the main stage (in this case the Altar stage) fairly early on the first day of a festival is usually a difficult slotespecially if the performer isn't a local act. In many cases, lots of folks haven't arrived yet. Those who have are milling about trying to get food or find friends.
None of that deterred the Joy Formidable. The trio demanded to be noticed by reeling off searing guitar solos augmented with heavy bass and thumping drums. The band played to its strengths. They rocked hard, loud and fast, foucusing on many of its more rowdy songs and the strategy worked. The crowd took notice and were slowly but surely drawn to watch Rhiannon "Ritzy" Bryan (lead vocals, guitar), bassist Rhydian Dafydd and drummer Matthew James Thomas kick some ass.
The set was highlighted by "The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade," "This Ladder is Ours," "Maw Maw Song," "Whirring" (with its explosive chorus and alternative arena rock sound) and the new tune "Passerby" which Bryan announced was "something that is not actually on the fucking album, but it's good for a laugh." The song owes a lot of its DNA to The Queens Of The Stone Age influence and is sure to be a hit if it makes the cut for the band's next CD.
Watch this band. If it gets the right breaks and has a little luck, the Joy Formidable will be huge. Jessica Hernandez & The Deltas:
Appearing on the Carnival stage in the late afternoon, Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas played a rocking set of soul and R&B that had its audience dancing and bopping to the beat.
Hernandez and her band brought their A-gameoffering a high-energy set of fun Detroit-influenced soul-pop highlighted by the cover of Barry Mann's "Who Put The Bomp," "Sorry I Stole Your Man" and "Cry Cry Cry." Hernandez offered the funniest line of the day when she slyly introduced "Cry Cry Cry" with, "Do you mind if we play a slow one? After all, nothing's spookier than a love song." Gerard Way and The Hormones:
Former My Chemical Romance frontman, Gerard Way's set was devoted almost entirely to his 2014 solo CD Hesitant Alien
(Reprise Records). It was the last performance of his 2015 tour. Opening with "The Bureau," Way and his band sounded great. He was a bit weary and it showed, but he also took the time to interact with the fans closest to the stage.
Way, who was dressed in a black pants, black jacket, black shirt and a bright red tie talked about his love for New Orleans. He stated, "I was here four years ago with My Chemical Romance. I've been looking forward to this show for so long..."
Highlights included: "Zero Zero," "Drugstore Perfume," "Brother" "Maya The Psychic" (a song about mental Illness), "Juarez" and "Millions." Though he didn't play a single My Chemical Romance song, even though fans near the stage repeatedly peppered him with requests, he did offer a cover of Jesus and Mary Chain's "Snakedriver." It was a nice cover that was done well, but it only served to leave the audience wanting something that they didn't get. Metric:
Metric delivered a catchy synth-pop set that was both high-energy and gimmicky. Always ones to become part of the spirit of an event, band members appeared wearing animal head masks while frontwoman Emily Haines was dressed as a very flashy and chic peacock.
Highlights of Metric's hits-filled set included "Lie Lie Lie," "Help I'm Alive" the opening track from Fantasies
(Metric Music International/Mom + Pop Music, 2009), "Youth Without Youth" from 2012's Synthetica
CD (Metric Music International/Mom + Pop), the high-energy "Cascades," "Gold Guns Girls," "Celebrate" and "Breathing Underwater." "Satellite Mind" was unfortunately marred when Haines seemed to fall victim to her monitors and the sound system as she sounded slightly off-key during this song. This glitch, however, didn't deter from the overall high-quality of the set.
Even after almost 20 years, Metric seems to never tire of what it does. The band's fans seem to feel the same way. Metric's performance left the fans wanting more, but in the best possible way. Ruby Amanfu:
Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls cancelled at the last minute, as a number of band members had contracted cases of food poisoning. The Nashville-based Amanfu seized the opportunity and took his slightly later slot. It was a brilliant choice for Amanfu to be seen by more fans, but it led to confusion among the crowd that was milling about the Flambeau Stage waiting for her originally scheduled performance. No announcement was made when Amanfu didn't appear on the Flambeau Stage at 4pm. No announcement was made when she appeared on the same stage at 5:30pm in Turner's slot. Had there been an announcement, any announcement, voodoo-goers could have and would have adjusted their plans.
Those lucky enough to catch her performance received a pre-Halloween treat. Her smoldering R&B set featured tales of bad love affairs and heartbreak and was highlighted by a sultry cover of Kanye West's "Streetlights" from her 2015 CD Standing Still
(Thirty Tigers/Rival & Co Records), "Love Out Loud" and "Bluff. She also treated fans to two additional out-of-the-ordinary covers: Memphis Minnie's "When My Man Comes Home" and "I Wonder" originally released by Detroit singer-songwriter Rodriguez (the man who was topic of the award-winning Searching For Sugarman
documentary film). Ryan Bingham:
Country-rocker Ryan Bingham showed that there was a lot of rock in the new country. His electric performance was punctuated by his opening comment of, "Do you feel like clapping your hands and stomping your feet a little bit...let's get down to it." And get down to it he did, opening with "Dollar A Day" and "Top Shelf Drug," Bingham immediately showed off his considerable chops. As the set progressed Bingham moved to an acoustic guitar and then traded-in the acoustic for a mandolin as the performance provided a glimpse into the real future of country music. Because music isn't a static thing, but rather a flowing, breathing and growing form of expression, it was nice to hear modern country featuring a touch of psychedelia intermingled within traditional instrumentation and song structure. This is an exciting artist who will only grow in stature. Jason Isbell:
On Friday, the festival was owned by Jason Isbell's Flambeau stage performance. With each member of the band dressed in one way or another as Batman and Batman logos projected on the back of the stage, one might have thought that Isbell was playing in Gotham rather than New Orleans.
With a grab-the-listener-by-the-ears set that opened with "Palmetto Rose" and included "24 Frames," "Stockholm," "Speed Trap Town," "Cover Me Up," "The Life You Choose" and "Something More Than Free" as well as two Drive By Truckers songs ("Decoration Day" and "Never Gonna Change"), Isbell had the crowd eating out of his hands. While switching back and forth from electric to acoustic guitar, Isbell mixed songs from his most recent album Something More Than Free
(Southeastern Records, 2015) with nuggets and hits from his extensive catalog.
Clearly having fun, Isbell prior to playing "Flying Over Water," referred to himself as "the opposite of Morrissey" after noting that he smelled meat, and that in his contract is says that "if I can't smell meat I won't perform!" He also introduced each member of his band (who he called The Alabama Bat Boys) all of whom were wearing caped crusader costumes and t-shirts as "Batman." Modest Mouse:
If Jason Isbell wasn't considered by some to be the "owner" of Friday's festival, then the distinction had to be given to Modest Mouse. The eccentric and "oh-so-out-there" band from Washington state appeared on The Altar stage at 7:45pm as night began to truly fall. The smoked-filled, blue-lighted stage augmented by a loud buzzing immediately got the attention of even the most exhausted Voodoo attendee, but it was the music that kept them enraptured and engaged.
With rain in the forecast for the next two days, Isaac Brock, ever the prankster had a sly smirk on his face and a devilish gleam in his eyes when he addressed the crowd with, "It's nice to be here. I wish it was raining on youbecause I'm a dick." Thankfully Brock didn't get his wish...at least on Friday.
The band's set was a high octane hit followed by hit performance that satisfied even the most hardcore Modest Mouse fan. Nothing was left out. Brock and his cohorts jammed, grooved and rocked out from the opening notes of "The World at Large" through to "Float On," "Missed the Boat," "Lampshades On Fire" from its most current release2015'sStrangers To Ourselves
(Epic Records), "King Rat," "The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box," "Bury Me With It," "Dashboard," and more.
And the audience loved the loose, eccentric, engaging and extremely fun performance, staying at the main stage and dancing themselves into exhaustion. The performance was so strong it left many wondering why Modest Mouse was not chosen headline Friday's festivities. Though they were the penultimate act, a performance such as this would have been appropriate and served quite well had they been chosen to close out the evening. Jack Ü:
Jack Ü was formed in 2013. The American DJ duo, a side group and collaborative project for both Diplo and Skrillex closed the first evening's Le Plur Stage with a bang. With pumpkins and skeletons dancing on the screen projected behind them the set included remixes of Michael Jackson's "Thriller," Beyoncé's "7/11," Rihanna's "Bitch Better Have My Money," the theme from The Lion King
and Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." That's eclectic.
The two DJs got their fans on their feet to dance; they implored the audience to "scream, obviously" and asked for help from the crowd to "raise the dead." Towards the end of the performance, Diplo was sprawled on the stage. Skrillex announced that he thought that the audience "killed Diplo with voodoo." He got the crowd to clap telling the audience that if they did it just right they could resurrect Diplo. Following Skrillex' lead the clapping built speed until Diplo, wearing a black and orange Jack Ü blanket jumped to his feet. The crowd lost its collective mind. Skrillex then said, "Thank you for saving Diplo!"
At the end of the show, Skrillex, who had announced that he had spray painted and created the blanket especially for the Voodoo performance, said that he wanted to give the blanket to a lucky audience member. Diplo thought that it was a fine idea and said, "Give it to the guy in the camo hat. He was so sad all night long. Cheer that guy up!" They did and when last seen, the fan was beaming. Florence + The Machine:
As she did during her last Voodoo Experience performance in 2010 Florence Welch spent the evening dancing her way through her first night closing set. Though the set leaned heavily on her most recent release, 2015's How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
(Island Records), Welch kept the crowd on the edge of their blankets in the grass field in front of the stage as she belted old and new fan favorites.
Welch arrived on stage in full Halloween regaliadressed for the occasion and brandishing frightening, grisly and horrifying make-up. Eventually the spirit of the warm New Orleans evening got the better of her and she stripped down to her skivvies and ran barefoot into the crowd.
Florence + The Machine's set was highlighted by the opening tune "What the Water Gave Me," "Ship To Wreck" from How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful
, "Dog Days Are Over" and the encores "Drumming Song" and a compelling powerful, fervent version of "What Kind of Man." The show ended with the very theatrical Welch crawling her way across the stage. Day 2: Saturday, October 31st
Despite the call for heavy rain as well as tornado forecasts for parts of the region, the festival made it through the early morning with only a few drizzles and small periods of precipitation. Shortly after noon the real rains began. Before the real downpour, short rainstorms came and went and came back again, keeping the foreboding and ominous skies dark and cloudy. Saturday's musical performances were highlighted by... The Struts:
This band's acoustic performance in the Toyota Music Den (not to be confused with its Carnival Stage set) was nothing short of astonishing. The acoustic performance in the tent offered fans an up-close and personal chance to say that they "saw them way back when." As the rain poured down on the small tent, the band offered an amazing version of "Put Your Money On Me" from the Have You Heard
EP (Interscope/Polydor, 2015) and a great cover of Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger." The Suffers:
On Saturday, at Voodoo, as the day's first performers to grace The Alter stage, the neo-retro band led by its amazing vocalist Kam Franklin, resembled almost anything other than a group that could have recently opened for Lionel Ritchie. Nothing against Lionel Ritchie, but this performance was something more than smooth soul. Sure it was smooth, but it also had edge. The 10 musicians all dressed as Andrew W.K., wearing long black wigs, stage-blood stained faces and white blood stained t-shirts. The band's high-energy set combined keyboards, congas, horns and guitars and showcased songs from the 2015 Make Some Room
EP (Rhyme And Reason Records) and its upcoming full-length debut album. Joywave:
Amid flash flood and tornado warnings, Joywave (guitarist Joseph Morinelli, drummer Paul Brenner, bassist Sean Donnelly, keyboardist Benjamin Bailey and vocalist Daniel Armbruster) rocked the Carnival Stage. Thankfully, the Rochester, NY indie rockers touring behind its first album How Do You Feel Now?
(Cultco Music/Hollywood Records, 2015) played just prior to the heavy rain and delivered the kind of strong set that all young bands hope for. It delivered a fantastic set of melodic, wistful pop rock that had the crowd's full attentionno small feat considering the storm warnings as well as the soft drizzle that continually fell from the sky. Armbruster even managed to get the dripping audience to chuckle when he announced, "We're totally getting soaked, just like all of you." Highlights of the set included "Somebody New" which caused audience members to crowd closer to the stage, "Destruction" and "Tongues." Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective:
Terence Blanchard and the E-Collective managed to get in some of their set before the skies darkened and the monsoon-like rains came. Gracing the Flambeau stage, they delivered a ferocious and powerful set of adventurous, innovative musica funkified fusion of R&B, jazz and bluesy grooves. Blanchard and his band (bassist Donald Ramsey, guitarist David Mooney, Fabian Almazan on piano and drummer Oscar Seaton) brought alive a set that centered mainly on his most recent release Breathless
(Blue Note, 2015).
It was during the new piece, "Dear Jimi" (a tribute to the late guitarist) that the day's long awaited, and feared, heavy rains flooded down upon City Park. Blanchard and his band played as if the weather had never changed, undaunted by the fierce storm. The audience was so enthralled that they remained in place as the band roared through its set, transfixed by their showmanship and passion. The only concession made to the weather was when Blanchard and the roadies moved his synthesizer and covered his laptop and moved Mooney's rig away from the front edge of the stage.
Had it not rained, Blanchard and the E-Collective's set would have been considered absolutely legendary. It was stellar but because of the weather, it will be remembered only as being very good. Many, however, will always remember the day for the messy, wet and severe conditions which bassist Ramsey later described as being "kinda sloppy out there..." Peaches:
Canadian artist Peaches' set also coincided with the heaviest rainfall of the whole weekend, though on a different stage. She appeared simultaneously with the torrent of rain and even though her usual risqué, in-your-face stage persona was on display, the smaller crowd in front of the stage was more subdued. With backup singers dressed in vagina costumes, Peaches brought her A game in New Orleans, trying to engage and entice the crowd with numbers like "Dick in the Air" from this year's release RUB. "I've been singing this for 3 minutes and I don't see one dick in the air," she chided the audience. "Those are hands. I know the difference." If the weather had cooperated, her set would have been legendary. Santigold:
Before the festival began, Santigold, in true benevolent fashion, performed at the LaPlace Elementary School to celebrate the gift of a VH1 Save the Music Grant, which will put music education back in the classrooms for students for the first time since Hurricane Katrina. Before her set began on Saturday night, she empathized with the crowd, "You're wet, you're tired and you're probably hungry. I'm going to try a new song, then I'm gonna give you guys donuts." Making good on her promise, two of her dancers passed out dozens of Dunkin Donuts to the fans crowding the railing.
In addition to the free donuts, her set was highlighted by "You'll Find a Way," "LES Artistes," "Creator" and "Disparate Youth." Georgio Moroder:
Georgio Moroder made his bones producing Donna Summer, Irene Cara, Berlin, and more in the late '70s and early '80s. In addition, he produced the best-selling soundtrack albums for Scarface
, Midnight Express
, The Neverending Story
, Cat People
and Top Gun
In the early evening on Saturday, amid the rain and muck, the 75-year-old pioneering DJ had the millennial mud-people dancing to songs that were released before many of them were even born. In fact some of them may have been conceived to a soundtrack of the retro-hits that Moroder spun.
Moroder had the audience vibing to Donna Summer's "Love to Love You Baby" "MacArthur Park," "Hot Stuff," Bad Girls" and "I Feel Love," Limal's "Neverending Story," "Call Me" and other dance-pop hits that he influenced or was a major contributor in its creation.
Moroder, unfortunately, is not a live DJ. As such, the dance music pioneer's set moved from song to song rather than delivering a smooth mix that sounded like one long track with various movements. Instead, he mixed like an '80s club DJ while creating a trip down memory lane for the more mature set and giving the younger fans in the crowd an excellent history lesson with an introduction to his hit-making genius. Jane's Addiction:
Taking the main stage before Ozzy and friends, Jane's Addiction created magic. Vocalist Perry Farrell, guitarist Dave Navarro, drummer Stephen Perkins and bassist Chris Chaney (back after founding bassist Eric Avery's second departure in 2010), took those who braved the weather on a ride that they won't soon forget.
Farrell was clearly in a playful mood. He talked about the band's early days playing at Tipitina's, an iconic New Orleans concert hall. "Is Professor Longhair still around?," he asked the crowd, with a knowing grin, full well knowing the answer. He continued, "Is his spirit still around?" and the audience erupted. He also made a sly reference to the downpour as well as the well documented issues from his past. With a laugh and a grin on his face he stated, "People said, 'Don't go out tonight, see higher ground," so I started getting high..."
The band's high energy set included highlights like "Stop!" (a fitting choice for an opening number because of the rain), "Ain't No Right" from 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual
(Warner Brothers), "Mountain Song," "Up The Beach" (played during the rain), "Been Caught Stealing," "Ocean Size" (during which the rain stopped) and the shocking theatrical spectacle of the main set-ending "Whores" during which two women suspended by hooks in their flesh, flew above and around the stage. The one and only encore was a tour de force version of "Jane Says" complete with steel drum accents. Public Image LTD:
Public Image LTD was, unfortunately, scheduled on the Carnival stage almost directly opposite Jane's Addiction. They were also scheduled to begin slightly after Farrell and company began. And the rain did not hold off for them, either. With all of these obstacles, one would chalk up PIL's set to a waste, but nothing could be further from the truth.
When they did hit the stage, nearly 15 minutes late, while battling both the rain and the sound bleed from Jane's Addiction over on the main stage, John "Johnny Rotten" Lydon and his band (guitarist Lu Edmonds, drummer Bruce Smith and bassist Scott Firth) took the audience on a wild ride. The band effortlessly powered on and battled back with ease, their sound from their smaller stage washing over the competition. The very enthusiastic crowd was thrilled to see the 59-year-old Lydon who stalked the stage and stared down his audience while mentally daring them to not stay in the rain to listen to the band's set. It obviously worked as many of the audience members stood in place enrapt and motionless during the performance except during the moments between songs when they would chant the singer's name. Ozzy and Friends:
The crowd spanned the generationsmillennials to middle-aged to even older. After all, Ozzy's been at it for over 40 years. Unfortunately, due to the weather (it had been raining steadily for hours when Ozzy hit the stage), Osbourne's crowd was slightly smaller than that of Florence + The Machine on the previous dry evening.
Clad in an all black outfit with a maniacal grin on his face Ozzy kicked his performance off with "I Don't Know." Though his voice on the opening number was not as powerful as many would have hoped, he more than made up for it with his wild enthusiasm. His fourteen song plus two encore set covered all facets of his iconic career with Black Sabbath and solo. Tom Morello was Ozzy's first guest joining Osbourne for the solo classics "Mr. Crowley" and "Bark at The Moon." He was clearly in his glory.
Ozzy then performed "Suicide Solution," "Shot in The Dark" and "Rat Salad" before being joined by Slash and Morello. If Morello was giddy and in his glory (he even had a handwritten "Ozzy Rules Sign" taped to the back of his guitar), Slash was the picture of calm and cool in his signature top hat. The group then played killer versions of "Iron Man" and "N.I.B."
It was now time for Geezer Butler's entrance, as the audience by this time had been whipped into a wet and muddy but happy frenzy. Butler shined and added credibility to Black Sabbath's "Snowblind," "Behind The Wall of Sleep," "War Pigs" and "Faeries Wear Boots."
Ozzy then again took control telling the crowd to "have fun in the rain" while making sure to do the same. His enthusiasm was infectious as he transformed into a drenched Jesus belting out the lyrics to "Crazy Train" while holding a beer in one hand and his glowstick halo in the other.
The encores began with "Mama, I'm Coming Home" and ended with a jaw dropping version of "Paranoid" featuring Morello, Slash and Butler rockin' out while Osbourne was, well, Ozzy.
Though many might feel that he is slightly daft, in reality, Osbourne is a genius, a calculating genius. He doused the already soaked crowd with water from a fire hose and then thanked them for braving the "fucking dreadful weather." He got on his knees, bowed to the crowd and professed his love to his fans. The audience loved it and Osbourne had their undivided attention with each and every fan hoping that he'd return for the elusive "one more song." Sheer brilliance.
Though the event was reduced to a two day affair, there were plenty of highlights, musical and otherwise. The performances stellar, as always, and the crowd went the extra mile with their Halloween outfits (there were numerous sightings of Jimi Hendrix, President Obama, The Blues Brothers, Donald Trump, Super Mario, Papa Legba, Mr. Spock, Bill & Hillary, Scooby & Shaggy, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Wolfman, Gumby & Pokie, Captain Crunch, Sylvester & Tweety, KISS, Charlie Brown & Snoopy, Freddy Kruger, Duffman, The Cat In The Hat, Indiana Jones, C3PO, R2D2, The Statue of Liberty, The Flintstones, Hulk Hogan, Einstein, Buzz Lightyear, Spiderman, Uncle Sam, Supergirl & Superman, The Pope, Minions, McGruff The Crime Dog and many more) was clear evidence of the special atmosphere and power of both New Orleans and Voodoo, regardless of the weather. As always, some of the best outfits were worn by the performersand not just by Ozzy, whose Prince of Darkness costume is actually his everyday wardrobe.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon
[Additional article contributions by Christine Connallon