Guitarist Kerry King of metal band Slayer was one of the hardcore Shure devotees giving life to this year’s Ozzfest, with gear provided by the Niles, Ill.-based manufacturer. Reuniting the talents of Ozzy Osbourne (vocals, pictured), Tony Iommi (guitar), Terence "Geezer" Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums), Black Sabbath entrusted lead vocals to a wireless U24D/Beta 58 system, while its trademark guitar and bass attack was shouldered by ULX wireless.
With frontman Rob Halford back in the lineup for the first time in 12 years using his own U24D/Beta 58 wireless rig for vocals, as well as PSM 700 personal monitors, Judas Priest (featuring Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing on guitars, bassist Ian Hill and drummer Scott Travis) constructed a Shure-dominated stage including KSM32s on guitar cabinets, a Beta 52A at kick and on bass cabinets, KSM44s on overheads, KSM137s on ride cymbal and SM57s on snare.
Anything but kind to his mic, Osbourne regularly abuses his Beta 58-equipped handheld transmitter with everything from water torture to violent manhandlings. "Ozzy keeps a bucket of water onstage that he uses to soak himself down with when he gets hot," notes Black Sabbath front-of-house engineer Greg Price. "He has, at times, dropped his mic straight into that bucket, fished it out, shaken it off and the show went on without notice. The Beta 58 gives us the sound of Ozzy's natural voice without fail. Like any other, on this tour we don't have time to fiddle with things, and Shure lets us reproduce consistent results night after night. You can't say that about all products."
Judas Priest's Halford has become a solid proponent of personal monitoring based upon results obtained with his Shure PSM 700 system. "I've found that the in-ear experience gives me more confidence and control," he acknowledges. "It's great to exercise power over your own mix, and as a singer, you don't tend to over-perform. With traditional monitors, sometimes if they aren't giving you what you need, you'll push yourself to a place you shouldn't go to increase the volume. Ultimately, that always becomes a failed exercise, and I found that the only way out is with personal monitors. I will not go anywhere without them now."