Corey Taylor of Slipknot – Photo x Teri Connel

The first annual Chicago Open Air Festival was held over this past weekend and

it held up its advertised hype.

Thousands of fans packed Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL for a weekend full of entertainment from some of rock and metal’s heaviest hitters.

Chevelle – Photo x Teri Connel

Day one, Friday July 15, kicked things off with Through Fire and Butcher Babies opening the side stage and pumping the crowd up for Trivium who opened the Main Stage. The two stages then alternated back and forth until Meshuggah closed down the second stage for the night by rocking the large crowd and prepping them for what was yet to come. But, before the second stage as closed down, we must give a mention to Drowning Pool‘s set and the anticipated performance of their hit ‘Bodies’.  As expected the band was joined by America’s Got Talent contestant, 82 year old John Hetlinger, who belted out lyrics of the song with the band. He could also be seen throwing up the devil horns and the middle finger to the crowd which riled up the crowd even more. Chevelle was the opening headliner for day one, main stage.  They kicked off their set with well known hits, mixing in some old and new material as well.

The most anticipated act for the day and night was yet to come. Rammstein brought one of the biggest festival crowds we have seen all weekend.  Their set, a well known spectacle, had band members entering the stage by descending from the ceiling, a tap dance routine, and many many pyrotechnics including the lead singer, Till Lindemann, shooting fireworks from his own body. They played into the late night capturing and holding everyone’s attention until its end.

Disturbed – Photo x Teri Connel

Saturday had the crowds lined up early begging for more of the same rock action they had been witness to the day before.  Day two had both stages rocking into the night with bands Beartooth, Miss May I, Carcass, and Gojira, to name a few, rocking the side stage all day long. Main stage hosted Saint Asonia, Pop Evil, Alter Bridge, Breaking Benjamin and Nothing More, to also name a few.  Korn brought out their well known hits for their set. They also debuted their brand new song for the Chicago Open Air crowd. ‘Rotting in Vain‘ is a new single by the band which you can expect a studio version very soon.  Disturbed was the closing headliner for day two. They played to their hometown crowd with both old and new Disturbed music. The cheers from the crowd adding to the actual performance turned into one of the loudest acts of the weekend.

Fans were awoken early Sunday morning with worry as a large Thunderstorm cell was passing over just hours before the day was set to commence. Luckily the cell moved quite quickly and passed before the event. The stage crews and Toyota Park employees needed a little extra time to prep the stages and clean up after the heavy rains and high winds.  This set the even back about a half hour or so but no one seemed to mind as there was a large crowd already gathered at the Second Stage for Gemini Syndrome.  The event was able to make up their time when Asking Alexandria wasn’t able to attend the event as they were having immigration issues and were forced to cancel.  Japan’s own Babymetal were present to bring s new light to the metal world with their always enthusiastic performance. Comedian turned rock star, Jim Breuer, was on hand to open up at the Main Stage with his originals. Later into the evening brought Marilyn Manson, who tossed bags into the crowd covering the fans in multicoloured powder. Killswitch Engage shut down Chicago Open Air’s side stage for the weekend. They brought heavy bass and always entertaining antics of guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz.

Slipknot – Photo x Teri Connel

Heading back to the main stage for the final headliners of the weekend; Opening headliner Five Finger Death Punch did what they do best and got the bodies moving. Crowd surfers and mosh pits could be seen in every inch of the standing room only floor. This set the tone for Slipknot to close down the place.  They brought their usual hardcore show all whilst Corey Taylor donned his neck brace while he recovers from spinal surgery. This didn’t stop him from bringing everything he had. Fans from ground floor to the top floor were seen singing headbanging all with fists and devil horns in the air.

As we left the venue at the end of the weekend fans were heard hoping for the return of Chicago Open Air in 2017.

The numbers are still pending but I think this festival was a great success and we look forward to what comes next year!

Review + Photos x Teri Connel

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