The first day of KAABOO Del Mar 2017 had plenty of musical options, but few more entertaining than the five-hour block that started in the late afternoon on the Grandview Stage.
First up was DJ Diesel - aka NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal. Those who ever watched him shoot a free throw knew he probably wouldn’t go into coaching after his career, but there are likely very few who thought he’d trade the NBA for EDM.
Dressed in a Lakers T-shirt and playing under a giant backdrop that read “Shaq Fu Radio,” the four-time champion and three-time Finals MVP ran through an eclectic set - all while fans dressed in purple and gold danced on stage.
O’Neal served up a decent mixture of trap, hip-hop, R&B and more. He even threw in what he referred to as his “white-boy classics” that included a triple play of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’, Bon Jovi’s You Give Love A Bad Name, and AC/DC’s You Shook Me All Night Long.
After getting the audience to join him in a chant of “LA-KERS!,” the seven-footer told them, “When you hear that drop, I want you to go crazy, KAABOO.”
And for the most part, they did.
Next up was Kesha. Taking the stage nearly 15 minutes past her scheduled 6:10 start time, the singer, wearing what looked to be Charro suit with multi-colored fringe, kicked things off with her 2010 hit, We R Who We R.
Unfortunately, the rest of her set was uneven at best, as she ran through a few of her hits, songs from her new August-released album, Rainbow, and a cover of Lesley Gore’s 1963 anthem You Don’t Own Me.
Further hampering the set was a noticeable muddied sound from the stage and a sloppy and uneven performance from the singer - which ranged from powerfully championing LGBTQ rights to awkwardly stripping for the cameras - all under her “F**K THE WORLD” banner from the singer’s last tour of the same name.
Thankfully, David Guetta was next. And the multi-platinum-selling, two-time-Grammy-winning French DJ and producer delivered one of the best sets of the night. Bathed in strobes, lasers, pyrotechnics and in-your-face graphics, Guetta ripped through a set worthy of any of the top EDM festivals across the globe.
Towering over the crowd on a gigantic stage with an LCD screen, the 49-year-old EDM veteran gave a virtual DJ clinic as he cranked through everything from Halsey, Kendrick Lamar and The Chainsmokers to Kernkraft 400, J Balvin and Nancy Sinatra’s cover of Cher’s hit “Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down).”
He routinely got the fans involved with singalongs to former KAABOO headliners No Doubt’s Don’t Speak and the megahit by Oasis, Wonderwall. But he never rested on one beat or style for too long and kept the energy up through his allotted 90 minutes.
Guetta told the crowd at one point, “KAABOO, we’re going to go hard!” And as anyone who was there can attest, he wasn’t lying.