First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre’s 2013 concert season
By Jessi Virtusio Gig of the Weekemail@example.com Twitter: @JessiVirtusio May 9, 2013 7:18AM
Tim McGraw | AP file photo
FYI ON FMBA
For what you need to know about First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre in Tinley Park, check out FYI on FMBA at blogs.southtownstar.com/fmba.
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Updated: August 29, 2013 12:19PM
The 2013 summer concert season is a live music fan’s dream.
A ton of great gigs are on the way, and many of them will be at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, 19100 S. Ridgeland Ave., Tinley Park.
“It’s a busy summer and there’s just a lot of great artists on the road and great shows coming through,” said Jon Reens, senior director of marketing/Midwest for Live Nation, which operates FMBA.
“They run the gamut on style and they run the gamut on format. It’s an extremely wide-ranging summer season.”
The outdoor venue is boasting the most amount of country concerts — seven — that it’s had on the US99.5 Country Megaticket, which kicks off with Brad Paisley (May 11).
“Brad puts on a phenomenal show, and he’s opening the building for us this year,” Reens said.
“I just think having that kind of high-energy event to kick off the season just really starts it on a high note.”
With 24 dates booked thus far, FMBA will see genres from the party music of Pitbull and Ke$ha (June 9) and the rock of Rush (June 28) to pop boy band One Direction (July 13-14, which was booked more than a year ago) and singer-songwriter John Mayer (Aug. 9).
“The touring season is extremely robust this season,” said Reens, who is handling marketing for the country shows at FMBA.
“The acts that are out there have a great following and put on phenomenal shows. I really feel that country has become a lot more mainstream than it was 10 years ago or so.”
Popular festivals like Vans Warped Tour ’13 with Reel Big Fish and Chicago acts including William Beckett and Goldhouse (July 20) and Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival with Rob Zombie and Five Finger Death Punch (July 27) will be back.
Other packages include Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival with Alice in Chains and Jane’s Addiction (Aug. 22) and Lil Wayne’s America’s Most Wanted Music Festival with Tip “T.I.” Harris and 2 Chainz (Aug. 10).
Reens said the venue lends itself to the festival atmosphere.
“We’ve got a lot of space and our operations group does a great job of really utilizing that space,” he said.
“We’ve got the two plazas. We’ve got this massive lawn, this really big seating area under the roof and the parking lot that we use for the second stages.
“Having that kind of space out there really allows for us to manipulate the venue to accommodate any sort of touring, and the building itself is easily accessible from all of the major expressways.”
Although some may be daunted by traffic congestion on concert days, Reens said, “It’s important to keep in mind that there’s four entrance gates. There is backside entrance. A lot of times you get people coming off Harlem (Avenue) to Oak Park (Avenue), but you don’t have people coming off Vollmer (Road).
“If you live in Indiana or you’re coming from Flossmoor, that back entrance is so convenient.”
Reens said safety is also at the top of the list.
“Our security staff and operational staff are the utmost professionals, and it’s all about the consumer experience,” he said. “Part of that experience is safety.
“When you to a Warped Tour or you go to some of these younger-skewing shows, there’s a lot of kids that get dropped off by their parents and picked up if a parent doesn’t want to attend the show.
“But they know as soon as the kids get in those gates, they are safe.”
For parents who want to accompany their youngsters but don’t want to ruin the social experience for their children, Reens said the VIP Club could be an option.
“You can sit and relax where you’re not in the hustle and bustle,” he said.
“We’ve got suites. We have the ability to have more of a grown-up experience, for lack of a better term, and kids have that social opportunity to group together.”
Reens also touted the amenities at FMBA. “We have more upscale food and beverage options than you would get at your standard amphitheater, so you can go and not have to worry about not having a good meal or being able to grab a drink with friends,” he said.
“There’s parking for oversized vehicles if you choose limos. We have bus parking. A lot of people get down there with chartered bus rentals so those are always a great way to go and the bus will be on-site.”
Along with country acts like Tim McGraw (May 24), Luke Bryan (June 15), Blake Shelton (Aug. 3) and Miranda Lambert (Sept. 7), Reens said he’s looking forward to several shows.
“Black Sabbath (Aug. 16) is coming. That’s going to be phenomenal,” Reens said of the reunited heavy metal band featuring Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler.
“I’m a huge Depeche Mode (Aug. 24) fan from high school (and excited) to be able to see them live.”
For those on tight budgets, Kid Rock’s “$20 Best Night Ever” U.S. Summer Tour (Aug. 30) may be the ticket, as it’s designed to have low ticket prices and value food packages.
“I think it’s great,” Reens said of Kid Rock’s tour.
“It’s opening his show to a wider audience, and I think that he’s been quoted fairly heavily and has put up things on his social media and on his website explaining why he’s doing this.
“He’s giving back to his fans. You can’t fault somebody for that.”
Other shows booked at FMBA include Q87 Piqniq (June 29), Toby Keith (June 30), Train (July 21), Wiz Khalifa (July 30), Big Time Rush and Victoria Justice (Aug. 4), Rascal Flatts (Aug. 17), and Honda Civic Tour featuring Maroon 5 (Aug. 25).
“There’s just a lot of great acts out there, and it’s going to be a really busy season,” Reens said. “You’ve got stuff for everyone.”
With so many destination concerts slated, it could be a boon for the Southland especially Tinley Park.
“We provide a number of seasonal jobs for the local community,” Reens said. “A lot of people come down early because they want to be the first ones in.
“The number of restaurants that are right there on Harlem (Avenue), those places get very crowded on show days.
“There’s an influx of people, which makes it an influx of money, which allows for the village to have the ability to really show itself off to visitors.”