August 20, 2005
This was the show that had the entire Metal Community talking. What really happened that night? We will probably never really know the whole story. But I was there, in the pit as it happened, and I caught a first-hand glimpse of the madness.
As headliners Iron Maiden hit the stage that night, the band was bombarded with “technical difficulties” throughout their entire set. Dickinson’s microphone would turn off and on at random; the guitars and bass would drop out of the mix repeatedly without warning. Over and over, the band was pushed and tested to the point of angered frustration. Maiden’s fans had to sing aloud to fill in the soundless gaps. But it was at two and a half minutes into the second song, The Trooper, when one of the biggest controversies in Rock History was born on this final night of The Ozzfest 2005 Tour.
First, let’s rewind a bit, to just before Maiden hit the stage that night, just before the lights went down. As I stood inside the photo pit / security barrier that separates the fans from the stage, I noticed three oddballs enter the pit from the opposite end. You have to understand that not just anyone can come strolling into this barricade – a person must have the proper credentials to enter. Just by looking at these three freaks, I knew they did not belong in here, but somehow they all had the proper credentials. They were dressed like something out the funny papers –bad, oversized tie-die shirts, sandals, shaved heads, backpacks, shopping bags, etc. All three were wearing numerous Ozzy buttons and stickers on their clothing. To top it off, on their shaved heads, they wore handmade, paper headbands that read “OZZY RULES.”
As the crowd grew hungry for the evening’s headliners, the chant began – Maiden, Maiden, Maiden. Suddenly, these freaks in the pit pulled out a wireless microphone and started yelling, “Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy” in an attempt to drown out and overpower the Maiden fans. I couldn’t believe what was going on. Who were these guys? Just then a few of the Security Guards, must have had the same thought and told them they had to leave. The three freaks all shoved their All Access passes in their faces…they were not going anywhere.
As the lights went down and The Ides Of March rang out, I grabbed my spot up against the stage, camera in hand, ready to work. Suddenly, one of the freaks was up against me, shoving me from my right side in an attempt to move me out of the pit. There was no way I was leaving. I held my ground and shoved back. It became a war, both of us pushing and screaming in each other’s faces, telling the other to move or else. “Or else what?” I hollered back at him. “I’m not going anywhere asshole, deal with it,” He finally backed off.
As Maiden hit the stage with incredible energy, ripping into Murders In The Rue Morgue, the three freaks pulled out their wireless microphone and once again started chanting “Ozzy, Ozzy, Ozzy” as Maiden played. Luckily for Maiden, their microphone was not nearly as loud as Maiden’s stage volume and the “Ozzy” chants could only be heard locally, through the front monitors that stood in front of me and all of the fans in the front row.
Dickinson screamed, “The Trooopppeer.” Just then, the three freaks grabbed their backpacks and shopping bags and pressed themselves close to the stage. Again they started to shove and push me. Once again, I fought back and continued to pop my camera off. To put it mildly, it was getting crazy and chaotic in that pit and it was difficult for me to do my job…it was very difficult to maintain control. As if on cue, just as the stage lights dropped a bit during the guitar solos, the three freaks all reached into their bags and began flinging food at the band – eggs, milk, frozen peas, etc. I couldn’t make this stuff up…it was unbelievable.
Bruce Dickinson and Steve Harris really got hit hard, especially when they would approach the edge of the stage. At one point, the onslaught of convenience store goodies was so massive that egg yolk and milk dripped down onto me from Dickinson and Harris as they stood above me, doing their best to continue on with the show.
Why did this happen? Who knows? It could have been anything. I do know that just before they hit the stage, Maiden was told that they need to shorten their set from 60 minutes to 55 minutes…Dickinson would not budge and insisted that Iron Maiden was still going to play their entire one hour set, regardless. Also, at the end of the show, Sharon Osbourne came out on stage and explained to the crowd that Bruce Dickinson had been causing problems and showing little respect, if any, to Ozzy and crew for the entire tour. Obviously, there was some tension building on this tour and it imploded that evening.
There has been a lot of controversy over this show, a lot of talk and a whole bunch of different versions of what really happened. People have gone as far as saying that this event never even happened and that nothing was ever thrown at Iron Maiden when they were on stage.
Well rock fans, here is the proof – please see “Exhibit A.”
“Exhibit A” clearly shows Steve Harris sporting a few eggs as he plays his heart out. I don’t think anyone can argue with this photo…I did not doctor it or do any computer trickery to this image…this is what I shot and this photos speaks a million words.
“You may have noticed a few wise-asses decided that they would go down to the supermarket and buy a few fucking eggs and start throwing them at us down at the front…I guess that thought it would be funny. Well, my friends, this is an English fucking flag and these colors do not fucking run from you ass-wipes. Because we know that there’s a whole bunch of Iron Maiden fans out there that came to see this fucking band tonight. So all I would suggest that if you see someone throwing shit at this band, which incidentally, Nico is cleaning off his drum-kit at the moment so we can continue the concert. So if you see someone throwing shit at this band and they raise their arm, make sure that when it goes down it’s in two fucking pieces for me, will you?”
BRUCE DICKINSON : on-stage after being assaulted by food