Concert Preview: Chicago Open Air 2017 (Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Korn, Slayer, Rob Zombie and more - July 14-16 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview)

Concert Preview: Chicago Open Air 2017 (Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Korn, Slayer, Rob Zombie and more - July 14-16 at Toyota Park in Bridgeview)

Returning to Bridgeview for the second straight year, the Chicago Open Air festival is bigger than ever in 2017, featuring appearances by Ozzy Osbourne, KISS, Korn, Rob Zombie, Slayer, Megadeth and more July 14-16th at Toyota Park… 

In its inaugural year, the Open Air festival staked its claim as one of America’s premiere hard rock and metal festivals via the impressive coup of booking German industrial/metal act Rammstein’s only 2016 American appearance.

This year, as the festival returns to Bridgeview’s Toyota Park, Open Air is bigger than ever, adding a third day of live music.

The summer of 2017 has already been a strong one for metal in the Chicagoland area, with appearances by Iron Maiden, Ghost, Metallica and Avenged Sevenfold.

This year, Open Air builds on that putting together a diverse bill that spans classic rock, hard rock and several generations of metal with headlining performances that include three of thrash metal’s “Big Four.”

Another element that makes Open Air unique is its embrace of food and drink through a diverse array of “experiences.”

Refreshment offerings are frequently a concert disappointment. But as anyone who has stepped foot in either Kuma’s Corner or 3 Floyds can attest, the relationship between craft beer and metal is a real one. Open Air performers like Zakk Wylde, Slayer and Anthrax have even worked to develop their own craft beers.

And Chicago has one of the greatest craft scenes in the country right now. Open Air embraces that through offerings by local breweries like Goose Island, Half Acre, Lagunitas, Revolution and Two Brothers in addition to the inclusion of terrific midwest breweries like Surly (Minneapolis, MN) and 3 Floyds (Munster, IN).

Also noteworthy as part of the Open Air craft beer experience are offerings from Robinsons (Stockport, England) and Unibroue (Chambly, Quebec, Canada). Robinsons brews Trooper, an English bitter modeled after Iron Maiden and brewed from a recipe created by vocalist Bruce Dickinson (it’s been available at the band’s concerts and sold out last week in Tinley Park before Maiden even took the stage). Unibroue on the other hand, in partnership with Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine, brews À Tout Le Monde – a Beligan saison which takes its name from the Megadeth song.

Open Air also features experiences built around whiskey and wine while Kuma’s will be back to sling heavy metal themed burgers for the second straight year as part of a “gourmet man food” experience featuring everything from tamales and donuts to pizza and pork.

But the most impressive experience will be the live music and, with performances by more than forty artists over the course of three days, there’s plenty of it. Here’s a look at some of the weekend’s most exciting sets…
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FRIDAY
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Headliners: KISS, Rob Zombie, Megadeth
Who else? Anthrax, Meshuggah, Dillinger Escape Plan and more

Back-to-back performances by Rob Zombie and KISS should see an escalating display of blood and pyro close out the first day of Open Air 2017. Both always provide a visual spectacle, as Zombie proved last year at Riot Fest, emphasizing their larger than life characters on such a massive stage. Last year Zombie celebrated White Zombie’s Astro-Creep: 2000 album but there’s no indication he’ll be doing that this year. Regardless, guitarist John 5 always does an impeccable job of accentuating both the solo and band material in the live setting.

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SATURDAY
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Headliners: Korn, Godsmack, Seether
Who else? Clutch, Steel Panther, Mushroomhead and more

One of the more interesting bookings of the entire 2017 Open Air festival comes in the afternoon on Saturday and features rapper turned actor Ice-T. Body Count, circa 2017, resembles something of a family affair for Ice-T, whose son Little Ice now contributes backing vocals. The rap/metal hybrid is touring in support of their brand new album, March’s Bloodlust (one that features a guest appearance from fellow Open Air performer Dave Mustaine of Megadeth), and perform at 5:40PM on the Blackcraft stage.

For those getting there earlier in the day, longtime metal stalwarts Metal Church, from the vaunted 80s San Francisco thrash scene, perform at 2:30PM on the Monster Energy main stage, leading directly into Dragonforce at 3PM on the Blackcraft stage.

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SUNDAY
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Headliners: Ozzy Osbourne, Slayer, Stone Sour
Who else? Lamb of God, Amon Amarth, Behemoth and more

This year’s Open Air festival features a performance by three of thrash metal’s “Big Four.” On Sunday it’s Slayer at 7:20PM on the Blackcraft stage.

Stone Sour performs at 6:25PM on the Monster Energy main stage and, with any luck, frontman Corey Taylor will resume his current – more entertaining than it should be – beef with Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger. Fingers crossed.

But the weekend belongs to Ozzy Osbourne, performing his first solo set in the Chicagoland area since a 2010 appearance in Tinley Park. Joining him on guitar is longtime sideman Zakk Wylde, re-entering the fold regularly for the first time in nearly a decade. Following years of touring with Black Sabbath, Open Air should see Ozzy dust off classics from his solo career during the highly anticipated set. In fine form during a 2016 Sabbath appearance at United Center, Sunday’s ninety minute festival closing set at 8:25PM on the Monster Energy main stage is a can’t miss.
– Jim Ryan ( @RadioJimRyan )

(Details on Chicago Open Air 2017 below)

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Chicago Open Air 2017
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Friday, July 14 – Sunday, July 16, 2017

Toyota Park
7000 S. Harlem Ave.
Bridgeview, IL 60455

Performances begin at…
11:50AM on Friday
Noon on Saturday
11:15AM on Sunday

All ages
No re-entry

Click HERE to purchase tickets
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