Hell & Heaven Fest – Mexico City: Day Two: May 5, 2018

Cinco de Mayo is not much of a big deal down there, but Ozzy sure as hell is.

We arrived for the second day much earlier than the first, because the music started sooner and the lineup was stronger.  Also, the weather was downright perfect: sunny and warm, but not too hot at all.  First up on the main stage was Saxon, who didn’t blow my mind but kept me entertained for their 40 or so minutes.  When the next band, a Canadian outfit calling themselves Deadly Apples, started playing I immediately wished for more Saxon.  This was some kind of whiny-emo that didn’t fit with the rest of the bill and was not what the crowd was looking for.

Thankfully, the rest of the day would prove to be full of excellent music.  Gojira was my favorite of the bands I had not heard before, and their set was downright vicious.  The entire crowd was moving along with them and having a blast, although when Marilyn Manson’s roadies started setting up towards the end quite a few people got distracted by that.  The main stage is actually two stages side by side, and it was obvious that a shit-ton of people (myself freaking included) were there to see the legendary shock-rocker himself.  Once the giant guns were brought out the countdown to Manson taking the stage was officially on.

IMG_3670

Marilyn Manson is one of the most polarizing artists of my generation – by design.  Brian set out to piss people off and get as much publicity as he could, and he was able to achieve both goals with his blend of aggressive and anti-religious lyrics, ridiculous costumes and stage antics, and general don’t-give-a-fuck-ness.  Lost in all of that (in my opinion), is a lot of genuinely good music.  This was the main reason I was here, and I weaseled my way up to the front of the section to get as close as I could.  To my dismay, the more expensive reserved VIP section was huge – and only about 1/3 full.  Which meant that in front of the fence stopping me from getting to the stage was a large open area with several hundred people about 30 yards closer than me.  Note to self: next time get the fancy tickets, those guys had it made.

IMG_3704

From the get-go, there was trouble.  Marilyn’s vocals were hushed, and at times so quiet that they couldn’t be heard at all.  He was on stage screaming and wailing, and we could barely hear him.  He motioned to his mic and was glaring at his roadies/crew/anyone who would pay attention throughout, but it didn’t get much better.  About four songs in, he was so clearly angry that I thought he was going to hit someone or just walk off the stage.  The sound did eventually improve a bit but never was as loud as it should have been, which was a big disappointment.  The crowd still had a blast, singing along and enjoying his four (yes, 4!) costume changes and career-spanning setlist – but this could have been so much better.  The sad fact is that the only act I saw all weekend with subpar sound was my guy that I traveled over 2,000 miles to see.

Setlist:

Irresponsible Hate Anthem

Revelation 12

Deep Six

The New Shit

Disposable Teens

Mobscene

Kill 4 Me

Dope Show

Sweet Dreams

Tattooed in Reverse

The Fight Song

The Beautiful People

Spotify playlist link:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/5dVHmXiUnzrRRYwLn8UpoC?si=4cRXZrJUSYehs6N3ayZgsw

After the set I fell back and started to try to find my friends (who had not ventured up front with me – yes, Mom, I was ALONE IN MEXICO!!!).  They, of course, were not where we agreed to meet so I went and grabbed some food and figured I would run into them.  I mean, there were about 30,000 people there but only about 20 of them were white – we sort of stood out.

After an excellent carnitas bowl and yet more Corona (festival sponsors, don’t you know), I moseyed over to the Megadeth performance, still solo.  That word is Spanish for alone.  Dave Mustaine still knows how to get the job done, and they were great.  You ever wonder if he regrets leaving Metallica?  Well, financially that may have cost him millions of dollars, but he seems to be having a pretty damn good time – and rocked harder than anyone else during day two.

Next up was easily the most fun part of the festival: the glory that is Kyle Gass and Jack Black, aka Tenacious D.  Their shtick has not worn thin on me (or the few thousand others who ventured off to the side stage to see them) and although they have clearly done these antics and jokes hundreds of times, it was still hilarious and their excitement and joy seemed very genuine.  And, of course, they also rocked our asses off with their acoustic guitar power chord madness.  The Mexican crowd was even treated to an apology for Donald Trump, which was fitting – and funny.

IMG_3734

Setlist:

Kielbasa

Kickapoo

Low Hangin’ Fruit

Senorita

Dude (I Totally Miss You)

POD

The Metal

Dio

Deth Starr

Throw Down

The Road

Roadie

Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)

Tribute

Double Team

Fuck Her Gently

Spotify playlist link:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/5uMyAKgq8dW0jgSyzoLbu1?si=g_AEU2qCTvuDq5eElfazbA

Now reunited with my gringo amigos at the main stage, we were ready for the legends, the headliners, the rock!  First up, Judas Priest.  Admittedly I have never been too much of a Priest fan, and these guys were even older than I expected them to be, but they were second to last on the main stage for a reason: they still rock.  It took some time to get used to the fact that these guys that looked like they should be retired and eating at Dennys were in fact kicking our asses.  Good stuff, but nothing compared to the magic that was Ozzy Osbourne, live and in the (wrinkly) flesh.  Cheap shot, I know.

When the Ozzman cometh out on to the stage, the crowd went absolutely apeshit.  I was nervous – how was he going to sound?  What was he going to play?  Did he even know where he was?  Well: surprisingly strong, all the hits, and maybe not what town he was in, but he knew he was in front of a crowd and knew what to do.  In all honesty, he shocked me with how solid his voice was, and how he didn’t skip a beat throughout the 90-minute set.  Oh, and his band sounded amazing.  This was very worth seeing, and I am really happy that I got to see him before he barks at the moon for the last time.

IMG_3757

Side note: In an attempt to get the crowd to be even louder than they already were, he shouted “I can’t fucking hear you!!” at us – about twenty times during the night.  Eventually, I leaned over and told my buddy that his hearing aids were clearly on the fritz.  Hey-o!  Also, I thoroughly enjoyed that he introduced nearly all of the songs, as if we didn’t know classics like “War Pigs” and “Crazy Train”.  Good stuff.

Setlist:

Bark at the Moon

Mr. Crowley

I Don’t Know

Fairies Wear Boots

Suicide Solution

Road to Nowhere

War Pigs/Luke’s Wall

Shot in the Dark

I Don’t Want to Change the World

Crazy Train

Mama, I’m Coming Home

Paranoid

Spotify playlist link:

https://open.spotify.com/user/1217400912/playlist/4li93JX95WtzyVk6l534vg?si=UHopdyBOR2u0ciC_NzRd2w