When The Ozzfest And Warped Tours Collide

The metal fans outnumbered the punks but both musical camps tolerated each other.

SOMERSET, Wis. -- A moshing, skating punk party slammed head-on into a

bashing, blaring full-fledged metal slugfest when the groups of the Warped tour and the

Ozzfest combined forces for a joint show at Float Rite Park on Saturday.

At one end of the gigantic park were the Warped likes of Rancid, the Specials and the

Deftones; at the other, sinister metal freaks Megadeth, Tool and the Ozzfest's bat-biting,

pseudo-Satanist namesake, Ozzy Osbourne.

And in between were some 60,000 fans, who mixed and mingled in the large field,

wandered through the maze of Warped's merchandising tents and generally tried to

tolerate each other and both musical genres.

The troops turned out in their respective uniforms. The Ozzfest's metalhead fans wore

fashionable black T-shirts emblazoned with the names of their heroes. The Warped's

punk legions wore T-shirts of their own, colorful numbers with the names of their

heroes scrawled on the front.

Based on a highly unofficial and unscientific T-shirt count, the metalheads comprised a

vast majority of the huge crowd.

"It's two pretty cool tours here," said Brandon Boyd, lead singer of Incubus, the only band

to play on both tour bills this year. "Instead of competing, they joined forces for the good

of the fans."

Warped got in the first musical licks of the day when Fluf opened the event, performing

on the tour's flatbed stage. A large group of fans parked themselves in the small space in

front of the mobile stage, anxious to hear live music after a long drive and a long line at

the doors.

While the punks were having their moment at the Warped end of the park, most of the

crowd was settling in at the Ozzfest end, waiting for the opening of their concert, which

included some of the best-known heavy-metal groups on the scene.

If metal has lost many of its superstars since its heyday in the late 1980s, new bands

such as Tool and Sevendust have more than filled in the gaps. And older musicians

such as Megadeth and Ozzy himself have altered their previously flashy ways to appeal

to a newer generation of metal fans who are as concerned with credibility as with

musical ability.

One of the day's highlights came when the two tours actually mixed together in amplified

splendor. Soulfly had run through a 40-minute set filled with intricate drum fills and

monstrous churning guitars, when the Deftones' Chino Moreno came out and sang a

duet with Soulfly's Max Cavalera. As the two finished the song, they embraced and

walked off the stage.

Ozomatli, the darlings of the Warped tour, then proceeded onto the stage, the entire

band equipped with bells, drums and other percussion instruments. Soulfly's Roy

Mayorga remained at his drumset to fill in the thunderous sound.

Moreno and the rest of the Deftones -- who bridged the gap between the two tours better

than any other group -- drew the largest crowd of the day at the Warped end of the park.

"We were offered Ozzfest," guitarist Stephen Carpenter said. "Ozzfest is just as much us

as Warped is."

The long day ended for the Warped tour at 8 p.m., just as Tool were beginning their

50-minute set on the Ozzfest stage. The group's lead singer, Maynard Keenan, came out

dressed in a suit and light-colored wig. Tool played a mix of songs from their three

albums, but their playing lacked intensity and energy. The crowd reacted similarly -- most

fans seemed content to sit back and listen. It was a stark contrast to the fevered moshing

that the Warped fans had engaged in all day.

By the time the Ozz himself finally came onstage to close the event, throngs of

concert-goers were already heading to their cars to beat the traffic jam. But as his intro

video -- full of pop-culture spoofs -- unfolded onscreen, enough Ozz-heads remained to

greet him with a field of flailing arms. Ozzy responded with his classic metal punch.

Before this meeting of musical tours began, no one was sure how -- or if -- it would work.

Instead of a marriage between the punks and metalheads, it was more a matter of the

latter group -- who comprised the vast majority of attendees -- mildly tolerating the

former.

Not that the Warped types seemed to mind. They're content to play to their own crowd

and keep going around the country in their own style. As the Deftones' Carpenter said,

"It's a party."