Ozzy doesn't show, Iron Maiden Blusters
Jack Shepler
August 25, 2005
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Black Label Society and Mudvayne were amongst performers on the 2005 Ozzfest tour, which stopped in Indianapolis on July 31. (RMR/Jack Shepler)

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (RMR) Indianapolis wasn't the first city to lack Ozzy and Black Sabbath during the city's annual Ozzfest stop. Due to illness, he also missed the Columbus show, but did make it to his appearance in Chicago a few days before Indy. Many fans were upset by this. Deer Creek Employees (officially, "Verizon Wireless Music Center" employees) stood outside with a large sign that said Ozzy would not be showing, and that once you enter the venue, no refunds would be allowed.

Many people were upset, and some did in fact get a refund.

In place of Ozzy as the headliners was British rock band Iron Maiden, who hasn't toured the U.S. in quite some time. The Indianapolis show would be one of the many nights that added to the Osbourne-Maiden controversy.

When Bruce Dickerson, frontman for Iron Maiden, asked the audience how many of them had seen them before, not many responded, and he didn't like it. "Well after today you'll be able to say, 'I've seen Iron fucking Maiden!'" As if self-concious of how well known they are in the U.S., he constantly reminded the crowd that they've been around for over 25 years and are very well known in the UK. But it went further than pretentious remarks about how great his band is.

Waving the English flag around and making sure that everyone understood his allegiance to England, he made comments about how fucked up things are in the U.S. He remarked on Ozzfest using big corporate venues and made several direct stabs at Ozzy Osbourne. One instance in particular was referring to Ozzy's use of a teleprompter while singing - Bruce has been singing the same songs for years and he doesn't need a Teleprompter to tell him his own words.

According to reports from other tour stops, Bruce said "I don't need a reality show to give me credibility." Ouch. Dose of reality: Black Sabbath existed long before that reality show, and so did Ozzfest.

During the August 20th show in San Bernadino, drama erupted. Fans chanted (and according to Maiden's manager, a recorded tape of) "Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy". Maiden continued bad talking Ozzy. Sharon pulled the plug.

Maiden's manager released an open letter on the Internet just 3 days later, responding to Sharon's letter (which was apparently written 2 days later?), despite the opening line "Iron Maiden ... don't wish to waste time giving Sharon Osbourne's statement the dignity of a reply."

Rather than explain what was said, I'll use the power of the Internet to show you their letters:

I will give credit where it's due though. Maiden performed a solid, energetic set. Bruce ran around the stage throughout the entire set and still belted out his lyrics without losing a breath. The band's performance made very clear that they deserve recognition for their years, but maybe they should turn it down a notch. After all, if they're Iron Fucking Maiden, they shouldn't have to remind us.

Shadows Fall was my favorite act of the day, performing their brand of hardcore and thrash. Brian Fair makes an excellent front-man and.. his hair! Have you seen his hair? It's amazing. Rob Zombie performed as headliner of the second stage. Mudvayne was quite intriguing — lead singer Chad Gray was dressed in what appeared to be a furry costume and had 'blood' dripping down his face. Very energetic performance.

After several no-shows for Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, Ozzy announced that this would be the last year he performs on Ozzfest.

Ozzfest will go on... but without Ozzy, it just won't be the same.

Rob Zombie

Black Label Society

In Flames

Shadows Fall


All photos by Jack Shepler.