Metallica, Slash, Dave Navarro and Others Honor Ozzy Osbourne at MusiCares
On Monday night (May 12), metal fans and philanthropists alike packed Los Angeles’ Club Nokia for the 10th annual MusiCares MAP Fund benefit concert. Proceeds from the event went toward MusiCares’ programs aimed at helping musicians struggling with addiction, and the entire night was filled with success stories from musicians who have overcome their struggles through the work of such programs.
The main honoree of the night was metal legend Ozzy Osbourne, whose struggles with substance abuse are well chronicled. Presenting the Stevie Ray Vaughan award was another recently-sober rocker, Joe Walsh from The Eagles. The night’s other honoree was Village studios owner Jeff Greenberg, who received the From the Heart award.
The show kicked off with a set from Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Beth Hart, who was joined onstage by Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Hart performed a soulful version of Ozzy Osbourne’s ‘Changes,’ a song which she says changed her life. Following Hart, blues guitarist Keb’ Mo’ played a brief set that highlighted both his songwriting and playing skills.
The most unique and unexpected set of the night, however, came from Metallica. While it was apparent that a good deal of the fans were primarily there to see the legendary metal band, few could have predicted the stripped-down acoustic set of covers they performed.
Despite teasing the crowd with a few bars of ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ the band opened with Rare Earth’s ‘I Just Want to Celebrate,’ which also kicked of a couple of acoustic sets back in 2007. They then played a mournful version of Deep Purple’s ‘When a Blind Man Cries,’ which marked the tune’s live debut after appearing on a tribute album two years ago.
Perhaps the most surprising inclusion in Metallica’s setlist was the Beatles’ ‘In My Life,’ which was also one of the highlights of the night. Metallica appeared loose and relaxed, and Hetfield’s vocals were as strong as ever. Kirk Hammett got his moment to shine on the closing number, an acoustic rendition of Ozzy’s ‘Diary of a Madman.’ Despite not playing any originals, Metallica’s set was a once-in-a-lifetime performance that likely will never be duplicated.
The high point of the evening — at least from an energy standpoint — was the Ozzman himself. Fronting a band that featured Jane’s Addiction axeman Dave Navarro on lead guitar, Ozzy managed to get the entire crowd on their feet for the first time that night. Opening with ‘I Don’t Know” from the classic ‘Blizzard of Ozz’ album, Osbourne commanded the crowd to stand up and clap — even tossing a bucket of water on the front few rows to command their attention.
The band then played ‘Suicide Solution’ from the same album, which the Prince of Darknes introduced as a song from his ‘f—ed up days,’ followed by a bone-crushing rendition of Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man.’ Perhaps the highlight of the night, though, was Navarro’s solo on ‘Crazy Train,’ where it was apparent he was channeling the late Randy Rhoads. And if that wasn’t enough, special guest Slash made an appearance for the closing number, the Sabbath classic ‘Paranoid.’
All in all, the MusiCares MAP Fund benefit marked a rare opportunity to see two of the most legendary metal acts of all time — Metallica and Ozzy — in an incredibly intimate setting, all while supporting a fantastic cause. As James Hetfield said from stage, “Music does care.”
An online auction related to the event has been launched by MusiCares. Fans can bid on items from Ozzy, Metallica, Slash and more at this location. Check out our exclusive photos from both the show and the red carpet below:
Exclusive MusiCares Benefit Photos: