Go Live: KAABOO Brings Yet Another Successful Year

By: Amy Wolff

Photo by aLIVE Coverage.

KAABOO Del Mar hosted it’s third annual festival experience last month. Held at the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar, California, the festival took place over the course of three days kicking off September 15th through September 17th, 2017. The festival brought forth some of the biggest and most influential names in music including headliners rock icons Red Hot Chili Peppers, pop singer/songwriter P!nk, and legendary rock ‘n’ roll Hall-of-Famers Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

Kicking off the festivities on Friday was DJ Diesel, or as many more commonly know himShaquille O’Neal on the Synchrony Financial Grandview Stage. Quite a contrasting experience to see the slam-dunking disc jockey in an entirely new element, but the crowd couldn’t get enough of it. Highlights from Friday included pop artist Kesha, who brought an environment of creativity, solidity, and unity to those in attendance for her performance. “Don’t let anyone ever own you,” she encouraged mid-way through her performance. She had the audience captivated with fan favorites and even newer works including Rainbow-featured debut single “Praying,” Animal‘s “Take It Off,” and Cannibal‘s “We R Who We R.” “Do you guys have it in you for one more? Are you ready to go fking crazy?!” she enticed the crowd as she broke out into an encore of “TiK ToK.”

Saturday proved to be an entirely different animal of its own, delivering a handful of artist conflicts. It seemed that no matter how you organized your schedule, there was an artist to be seen and heard. Every festival comes with sacrifices, and KAABOO was no different. Alternative-rock trio LANY drew in a mid-sized crowd at the Mercedes-Benz Sunset Cliffs Stage mid-afternoon. Their set was comprised of the majority of the works off their debut album including “Good Girls,” “Super Far,” “ILYSB,” and “Flowers on the Floor.” “We’re not the biggest band in the world, but we will be,” frontman Paul Klein proclaimed. Slightly brashbut profound.

Perhaps one of the most unexpected sets of the day was industrial-rock based band Garbage, who brought an explosive set to the Sunset Cliffs stage and provided the utmost fan interaction. “Thank you for coming and hanging out with a band like us. There’s so much pop music on the radio nowadays, so it just gives me hope especially as a woman who doesn’t sing pop music,” front woman Shirley Manson stated. The crowd appeared to be a blend of all generations (and some hardcore Garbage enthusiasts), which just goes to show the open-mindedness of the demographic that KAABOO brings in each year.

As the sun started to set, thousands flocked to the Sunset Cliffs stage to catch hip-hop/gangsta rap mogul Ice Cube. He paid homage to his past, with most of his set consisting of banter and hits from early career group N.W.A. such as opener “Straight Outta Compton,” “Fk tha Police,” as well as solo works “No Vaseline” and “Check Yo’ Self.” “The police backstage are tryin’ to tell us what we can’t play. I said, the police backstage are tryin’ to tell us what we can’t say,” he included as part of his playful banter. Ice Cube closed out with 1992 The Predator hit “It Was a Good Day,” which received thunderous applause.

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DJ Diesel performs during the first day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 15, 2017.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the first day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 15, 2017.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the first day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 15, 2017.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the first day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 15, 2017.

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Red Hot Chili Peppers perform during the first day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 15, 2017.

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LANY perform during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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LANY perform during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Garbage perform during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Garbage perform during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Garbage perform during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Ice Cube performs during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Ice Cube performs during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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P!nk performs during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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P!nk performs during the second day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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T-Pain performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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T-Pain performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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T-Pain performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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T-Pain performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Andy Grammer performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 16, 2017.

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Jason Derulo performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Jason Derulo performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Jason Derulo performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Jason Derulo performs during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

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Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers perform during the final day of KAABOO Del Mar on September 17, 2017.

Closing out Saturday night was pop sensation P!nk, who opened her set with Missundaztood smash “Get the Party Started,” as she traversed through the exuberant crowd and onto the catwalk of the main stage. Clad in a heavy-denim look and accompanied by an ensemble of dynamic dancers, the pop phenomenon proceeded into a 20-song setlist containing songs from all across her discography including “Trouble,” “Raise Your Glass,” “What About Us,” “Sober,” and a cover of No Doubt’s “Just a Girl.” It wouldn’t truly be a P!nk performance without her stunning visuals and vigorous acrobatics, and she delivered that and more as she catapulted above the audience in a diamond-shaped motion for her encore closer of “So What.” It’s safe to say to she over-delivered on that aspect, as one attendee was overheard saying, “That was it. That was my ticket right there.” A force to be reckoned with, P!nk had set the bar for KAABOO.

Sundays have always tended to be much more relaxed than the rest of the weekend, but I have to sayKAABOO Del Mar was the exception to that. Though there were much less acts than the previous two days, that didn’t stop the remaining artists from keeping the party going. Tallahassee-based rapper T-Pain brought the heat to Sunday, drawing in one of the biggest crowds of the weekend to the Synchrony Financial Grandview Stage. T-Pain, known for mid 00’s smooth-sounding chart-toppers such as “I’m in Love With a Stripper” and “Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin’)”, decided to take it up a notch with a DJ-like set that featured higher-tempo versions of “Cyclone,” “All I Do Is Win,” and “Booty Wurk.”

Other key highlights of Sunday included R&B/Soul artist Jason Derulo, who brought an intensely high-energy set filled with notable works such as “Talk Dirty,” “Want to Want Me,” “Wiggle,” and “Whatcha Say.” Derulo even brought up a special fan for an intimate performance of “It Girl,” providing a more personalized touch for his performance.

After Derulo’s performance, every attendee raced to the Sunset Cliffs stage to catch the closing set for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. As you can imagine, it was immensely packed to the brimfrom the attendees in the general admission area leading all the way up to those in the VIP and Hang Ten lounges. “Tonight, we’re gonna drop the needle like a one-sided record and see where it lands,” Petty exclaimed as he and his band proceeded to play a setlist composed of several classics such as “Rockin’ Around With You,” “It’s Good to Be King,” “American Girl,” “Free Fallin’,” and “Wildflowers.” What a perfect way to close out yet another spectacular year at KAABOO Del Mar.

KAABOO Del Mar returns to the Del Mar Fairgrounds on September 14th-16th, 2018. Early bird passes, including Hang Loose and Hang Ten, can purchased via KAABOO’s official website at www.kaaboodelmar.com. Thank you to Mason Jar Media and KAABOO Del Mar for having us out, and we can’t wait for next year!

Photos and review by Curtis Vadnais.

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