With a lineup that included Kiss, Rob Zombie, Megadeth, Ozzy Osbourne, Korn and the mythical group Anthrax, this year’s Chicago Open Air brought together the biggest names in hard rock and heavy metal. On its first edition, which was celebrated last year, it was the only 2016 event that hosted a live show of Rammstein in the US, and following a triumphant first round, it was ready for a second chance. Taking place in Toyota Park, and offering gourmet food as well as craft beer, the festival’s second edition started on Friday 14 July and ended on Sunday 16 July, leaving the audience satisfied.
Once of the most celebrated concerts of the event was that of Anthrax, which took place on Friday and was welcomed by the crowd with great excitement. Formed in 1981 in New York by bassist Dan Lilker and guitarist Scott Ian, Anthrax was at the heart of the thrash scene during the 80s and included as one of the Big Four along with Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica (the first two also played at Open Air this year). Having sold close to 10 million records since the 90s, the band released a live album in 2017. Defined by Rolling Stone magazine as one the few bands that reshaped heavy metal in the 80s, the audience was eager to see Anthrax on stage one more time as it delivered an impeccable show. After saying “Thank you for having us back!”, Scott Ian started playing one of their most famous tunes, “Caught in a Mosh.” Born in 1963, this famous rhythm guitarist is the only founding member of Anthrax who has stayed in the band to this day and is also in charge of all the album lyrics. He has been involved in several other projects following his success with the metal group, including hosting a TV show, writing special issues for DC comics and even taking part in WSOP events, showing that one can succeed in more than one passion and be good at it. And so, living up to the expectations, multifaceted Scott Ian and Joey Belladonna delivered a great 45-minute concert.
Less than hour later, Megadeth took the stage, although perhaps their overall performance was not as memorable as that of Anthrax. In any case, fans of one of the Big Four seemed satisfied listening to tunes like “Sweating Bullets” or the classic “Hangar 18”. The day closed with Rob Zombie and KISS, the latter being as fun as it always is. Included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, KISS is as emblematic as a band can be, and its members have often appeared in films — most recently in the blockbuster American comedy Why Him? — and been featured in other aspects of popular culture.
Godsmack’s Sully Erna, Robbie Merrill, Tony Rombola and Shannon Larkin played before a massive audience (perhaps the largest one of the festival at that point), and Korn closed the night on Saturday, making its second appearance at this festival, although now as the central band on the main stage. They delivered an energetic and fresh concert, paying tribute to nu metal, yet daring to introduce other rhythms. Slayer and Ozzy Osbourne — who has also been involved in other enterprises like the famous MTV reality show The Osbournes — played their parts on Sunday, at the end of the successful, and in many ways nostalgic, weekend of Open Air Chicago. We should expect to see a third edition of this festival next year, now that it has secured itself a place among the main events taking place in Chicago during the summer.