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Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary (Blu-ray)
Warner Music Group / 2005 / 150 Minutes / Unrated
Street Date: May 06, 2008
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Reviewed by High-Def Digest Staff
Friday, May 09, 2008
At the risk of offending Ozzy Osbourne fans, I can't help but find him faintly ridiculous. Okay, totally ridiculous. The king of bat-head-biting, reality TV domesticity, and drunken, shambling on-stage performances, this guy is about as "scary" and "subversive" these days as Grandpa Munster. Still, I have to hand it to Ozzy (or, rather, his wife Sharon, who is the real mastermind behind the operation), he knows how to put on a headbangin' metal festival, and he sure has lots of friends.
Celebrating a decade of decadence (and plain ol' Spinal Tap loudness), 'Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary' offers a fairly-decent cross-section of that season's tour, which mixed headliners like Ozzy and his reformed Black Sabbath, Anthrax, Velvet Revolver, and Rob Zombie, with a selection of up-and-comers, including Trivium, The Haunted, and Jada Pinkett Smith's band Wicked Wisdom. Some of the acts may be less well-known but all are ready to mete it out. Stretched across one long, hot, sweaty, 103-degree day and night in Camden, New Jersey (though the Blu-ray was actually pieced together with performances from a stop at Donington Castle), it's a pretty intense if one-dimensional onslaught of hard rock.
The problem with these types of "greatest hits" live concert films is that they inevitably have to edit down a band's entire set to a song or two, and as such, it's a hit-or-miss affair. Though I'm not intimately familiar with any of these bands' entire discography, I do have to wonder why, say, tracks like Velvet Revolver's "Sucker Train Blues" or Rob Zombie's "More Human Than Human" were chosen rather than, in my opinion, better tracks. Only the trio of Black Sabbath tunes that close out the disc, "War Pigs," "Iron Man" and "Paranoid" read like the big hits parade one would expect.
Also likely to disappointment fans who saw the tour is the fact that a couple of major headliners, including Iron Maiden, Shadows Fall, and Mudvayne, are completely absent. Given Iron Maiden's now-legendary feud with the Osbourne clan (particularly the hilariously outspoken Sharon, who reportedly unplugged the band's set one night), I guess their omission is not surprising, but it does seem odd that some of the bigger bands on the 10th anniversary bill haven't been included -- the disc's 16 songs certainly could have been padded out, or at least seen the addition of some better extra tracks as a Blu-ray bonus.
For what it is, 'Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary' is a fine enough document of another crazy Ozzy and friends tour. Don't rush out to buy this one, even if you're a big Ozzfest fan, but there are enough good performances here to at least make it worth a rental.
The 16-track list is: 01. Anthrax "Caught In A Mosh / 02. Trivium "A Gunshot To The Head Of Trepidation" / 03. Soilwork "Blind Eye Halo" / 04. The Haunted "Bury Your Dead" / 05. Gizmachi "Voice Of Sanity" / 06. Alter Bridge "The End Is Here" / 07. Rob Zombie "More Human Than Human" / 08. Wicked Wisdom "You Can't Handle" / 09. It Dies Today "A Threnoby For Modern Romance" / 10. H.I.M. "Soul On Fire" / 11. A Dozen Furies "Awake And Lifeless" / 12. Rob Zombie "Dragula" / 13. Velvet Revolver "Sucker Train Blues" / 14. Black Sabbath "War Pigs" / 15. Black Sabbath "Iron Man" / 16. Black Sabbath "Paranoid"
Warner Music Group presents 'Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary' in a 1080i/VC-1 encode. It's a solid presentation, a little bit spotty, and nothing spectacular.
No surprise here -- 'Ozzfest' is loaded with fairly preposterous stage setups and goth-rock lighting, all of which tax the transfer's ability to accurately depict shadow detail and retain color stability, and this transfer isn't entirely up to the challenge. Generally, the image does look good, with strong hues and ample detail. Darker areas of the picture, however, often fall into fuzz, and depth flattens. There is also some posterization and a few pixel break-up problems on moments that mix fast-cut editing motion and high contrast. Sharpness is solid throughout, however, and I was certainly never displeased with how 'Ozzfest' looked, but it's just pretty average for a live music Blu-ray presentation.
In a pretty cheap move, WEA only gives us English Dolby Digital tracks in 5.1 Surround (640kbps) and 2.0 Stereo (192kbps). These sound the same as the previous standard DVD release, which means they ain't bad, but c'mon -- Blu-ray deserves better.
For boring Dolby Digital, the mixes are fine. Surrounds are not used for anything but crowd noise, and even there it's hardly involving. The source sounds pretty clean, with decent low bass and highs free of distortion or excessive brightness, but the whole affair is just so unremarkable. There's none of the transparent effect that so typifies high-res audio music presentations, and the mix never once pops out at you as anything with true impact or fidelity. This is tossed-off audio.
'Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary' includes the same disc-based bonus features found on the previous DVD release, though they aren't substantial. Also, the bonus CD of audio-only tracks that was included on the standard-def release is not provided here. All video-based extras on the Blu-ray are in 480i/MPEG-2 video only.
- Interviews (SD, 25 minutes) - Loose, and not-that-well shot, chats are included with the Osbourne clan (Ozzy, Sharon, and Jack), Zakk Wylde, members of Wicked Wisdom and most interesting, Slash. The latter's comments are fun, because it was before all the shit hit the fan recently with Velvet Revolver (who are now searching for a new lead singer), so at the time everything was hunky-dory.
- Bonus Tracks (SD) - Three tunes are provided as stand-alone supplements (i.e., not re-edited into the main show): "The End is Here" by Alter Bridge, "Pulse" by The Mad Capsule Markets, and "1986" by Bowling For Soup. None did all that much for me.
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'Ozzfest: 10th Anniversary' is a nice little souvenir for fans of the traveling rock festival, and it features some pretty good tunes by Rob Zombie, Wicked Wisdom, Velvet Revolver, and a reformed Black Sabbath. Unfortunately, that's all it is -- the show is far from complete, and a lot of top bands from that season's tour (most notably Iron Maiden) are absent. This Blu-ray ain't terrible, but it ain't great, either -- the video is fine, the audio is plain jane, and the supplements are just there. Hardly a must-have, but worth a rent for fans of Ozzfest.
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