San Diego, California. Filled with authentic Mexican food, quality craft beers and beautiful weather year-round, it is no wonder why the city is home to the inaugural KAABOO Music Festival.
This year will mark its fourth year, with past performers including The Killers, No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Aerosmith and Grouplove. What is unique with KAABOO’s lineups is that they cater to both the newer and older generations. With this year, it is no different including Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry, Robert Plant and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The festival is taking place on the Del Mar Fairgrounds, home to the Del Mar Fair.
Going into the KAABOO Festival felt very similar to going into the Del Mar Fair itself, but more mature. A well diverse crowd, unique shops that included beautiful art pieces, henna tattoos and even a cigar shop displaying some of the finest cigars. A variety of delicious food choices were also available that accommodated to any diet, and of course, the ever-popular Chipotle, who gave an option of a burrito or burrito bowl for a solid price at $8.
For those that wanted cocktails and/or beer, there was a plethora of both throughout the festival, with bar stands appearing at almost every corner. What is also a perk at KAABOO is that people with cocktails and/or beer were allowed to walk with them casually around the festival as opposed to other festivals like Coachella, where people have to sit or stand in a certain area to drink their IPA or vodka soda.
The first day included stellar performances from Halsey, Gucci Mane, Blondie, Post Malone and the Foo Fighters. Halsey put on an energetic set for the crowd while wearing a patterned plaid crop top and black jeans that included rainbow and snake patches. The singer performed a variety of songs for which she sounded just like the records themselves. Songs that were included were from her albums Hopeless Fountain Kingdom and Badlands including “Gasoline,” “Strangers,” “Hurricane,” “Colors” and “Castle,” which was featured in the film Snow White and the Huntsman: The Winter’s War.
“Are you guys ready to fucking party!?” The singer asked the crowd before playing “Castle.” She was also accompanied by a dancer, also trying to hype the crowd and dedicated her song “Colors” to the LGBT community. She then told the crowd that this performance will be her “last show in America for a very, very, very long time.” The reason being that she can have time to write her next album. She then surprised the crowd with rapper G-Eazy, performing their duet “Him & I,” making her last show in America one to remember.
Shortly after her set, the iconic rock band Blondie performed an awesome set, including their hits “The Tide Is High,” “One Way Or Another,” “Heart of Glass” and their game-changing “Rapture.” While there were some issues hearing the band from afar, the crowd was still having a good time. Debbie Harry, the lead singer dressed in a pink top and black leggings, was having a rocking good time with the band, with the crowd engaging with the band, making it that much more of an epic set from the band.
Slowly transitioning to the owner of Posty Co., Post Malone put on a nothing but awesome performance blazing through his hits “rockstar,” “Psycho” and “Congratulations.” He also performed some deep cuts from his albums including “No Option” and “Deja Vu.”
To conclude the night was an incredible set from the rock band that is the Foo Fighters. The band’s set was the highlight of the night; the band can never go wrong when performing. “We are going to play until the power is out of this place,” Dave Grohl said.
While performing, the crowd got to experience how truly talented the band is. After performing their hit “These Days,” the band started playing “My Hero” acoustically before transitioning into the classic rock sound that the song showcases. Drummer Taylor Hawkins then provided the crowd with a stellar drum solo, with him and his drum set slowly rising on a platform that was about 50 feet in the air. What was awesome is that as they were playing, a train was passing behind the stage which Grohl pointed out “It’s been a long time since a train has passed behind one of our shows.”
He then introduced each band member following a performance of a classic rock song after each introduction. While introducing keyboard player Rami Jafee, Jafee played John Lennon’s classic “Imagine” then followed by guitarist Pat Smear, who covered the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” with the band. It then circled back to drummer Taylor Hawkins, who switched duties with Grohl and performed the iconic song “Under Pressure” by “Vanilla Ice, originally by Queen” Hawkins stated to the crowd. Grohl then dedicated their next song to Gucci Mane, which was “Monkey Wrench,” then ending their set with their “The Best Of You,” with the crowd chanting every word and reacting to the band in a way that cannot be described. Hands down, the Foo Fighters put on a show-stopping performance, making the first day of KAABOO one to remember.
Photo Credit: Boston Lynn Schulz