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MUSIC REVIEW

Ozzfest overcomes limp lineup, soggy night

Ozzy Osbourne, shown in 2007, saved the day at the Comcast Center. Ozzy Osbourne, shown in 2007, saved the day at the Comcast Center. (Fredrik Sandberg/Reuters/File)
By Scott McLennan
Globe Correspondent / August 25, 2010

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MANSFIELD — Is a superlative Ozzy Osbourne performance worth a subpar Ozzfest?

Hell, yeah.

The heavy-metal cavalcade founded by Osbourne in 1996 staged six US dates this summer, with the final stop yesterday at the Comcast Center. A lackluster lineup and horrible weather conspired to make it one of the less memorable Ozzfests. A steady rain forced three of the seven second-stage bands to cancel. Black Label Society, Drowning Pool, and Kataklysm all fell victim to the weather.

The Ozzfest second stage is historically where metal’s underground gems shine, and to that end, Goatwhore fulfilled the legacy with a nasty, confident run of thrash.

Ozzfest has traditionally showcased heavy-metal legends alongside rising metal stars. This year, though, instead of up-and-comers, the fest seemed stuck with simply hang-around B-level acts. Nonpoint and DevilDriver thrashed and bashed on the main stage, but did little to ignite interest beyond those who already consider themselves fans of those bands (though Nonpoint showed class for bringing Drowning Pool onstage to perform after its washout from the second stage).

Halford, led by Judas Priest singer Rob Halford, got Ozzfest back on course. The singer was animated and in fine voice as he led his searing outfit through material from his solo records, deep cuts from Judas Priest records, and his shortlived Fight project. The material ranged from gnarly thrash to majestic twin-guitar fury, with Halford masterfully orchestrating the whole endeavor.

Motley Crue was a bit of an odd fit, playing pop-metal in a setting typically given to harder music. The hits came off as familiar, but many other metal masters could have better used Crue’s slot.

The fest’s namesake saved the day from being remembered as Sogfest. Osbourne’s 90-minute set covered classics from his solo career (“Suicide Solution,’’ “Mr. Crowley’’), less familiar tracks (Black Sabbath’s “Into the Void’’ and his own “Fire in the Sky’’) and introduced his new guitar player, Gus G., who seemingly has inspired the 61-year-old Ozzy to reach for new heights. Getting soaked at Ozzfest to see that was worth it.

Scott McLennan can be reached at smclennan1010@gmail.com

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