KAABOO Del Mar – Del Mar, CA – 9.14.18 – 9.16.18

KAABOO Del Mar 2018
Del Mar Fairgrounds + Racetracks
Words and Photos by Erika Garcia

The biggest music festival in southern California on its fourth edition, KAABOO Del Mar, for the first time SOLD OUT headlining no other than Foo Fighters, Imagine Dragons, Robert Plant and the Sensational Space Shifters, and Katy Perry, Halsey and Post Malone.

The three-day event took place on the Del Mar Racetracks for the ultimate music experience. Featuring well-known comedians, gourmet chefs at PALATE and contemporary art installments.

DAY ONE

Starting off the day, we headed to the Rolling Stone Sunset Cliffs Stage to watch perform Jimmy Eat World. Opening with their song “Sure and Certain,” a single from their latest album Integrity Blues, set the tone for their set with their powerful guitar riffs and even stronger drum beats.

Their repertoire built from the songs of their various albums dating back to 1996, gave the audience the chance to go back in time to their early teenage days. From “For Me This Is Heaven” to “Pain” and “Big Casino”. It was even more surprising to stand in the crowd next to a couple right after “Hear You Me” ended and to see they had gotten engaged.

A few hours later, Halsey was getting up the stage head held high and fierceness in her eyes. She was the queen of her hopeless kingdom. Heading straight for her castle the twenty-three-year-old singer (soon to be twenty-four on September 29th) sang her heart out preaching to her fans.

The singer also expressed her gratitude with the crowd for her song with The Chainsmokers “Closer” getting a diamond certification meaning it’s been ten-times platinum. “Thank you for letting me soundtrack a little part of your life,” said Halsey before singing an acoustic version of the hit. Her set at KAABOO Del Mar marked the end of her tour around the US. “I gotta get back to write songs for my next album.”

Right before the end, the singer brought an invited guest for one song featuring G-Eazy. “If I said how much I love this person, I would need more time so I rather just…” Together they sang “Him & I” showing their love for each other.

On the other side of the festival, on the MGM Resorts Grandview Stage, Post Malone paid tribute to the late Mac Miller with “RIP Mac Miller” imprinted on his shirt. The Beerbongs & Bentleys rockstar opened up with his song “Too Young” followed by “Better Now” and “No Option.”

Closing off the night, at Sunset Cliffs, Foo Fighters’ David Grohl is screaming to their song “All My Life.” Taylor Hawkings beating the drums so hard it looked they might break, Pat Smear with a smile on his face, Nate Mendel and Chris Shiflet looking straight at the crowd.

Their setlist, consisting of their greatest hits such as “Pretender,” “My Hero,” and “Best of You.” For the introductions, the band played short snippets of classic rock anthems for each member. “Blitzkrieg Pop” for Smear, “Another Bites the Dust” for Mendel, “Love of My Life” for Shiflet and a mashup of “Imagine” meets “Jump” of Van Halen.

“David is gonna play the drums for ya,” says Hawkings, adding “bet you didn’t know that when you bought the ticket.” Roles switched, and Hawkings sang Queen’s “Under Pressure” on the mic with Nirvana’s world-known drummer who sang Bowie’s parts of the piece.

The first day of the festival was almost over, but not before Foo Fighters said their goodbyes with their song “Everlong.”

DAY TWO

We started out with one of our Artist To Watch: Creature Canyon. Right at the Virgin Produced Tourmaline Stage, the San Diego locals were the first band to play of the day, welcoming in a garden-like area all concertgoers. Austin Steel, the band’s frontman alongside Ryan Amyot and Kyle Victoria delivered a vibrant performance in which included their latest releases “Did you Want That” and “Hot Streak.”

At Sunset Cliffs, another of our Artist To Watch: FITNESS are feeling the weight press down. The LA-duo, Kenny Carkeet and Max Collins (formerly AWOLNATION and Eve 6, respectively) are here to make a wake-up call. The hardest band to google in between fitness exercises and wristbands rocked the stage off doing what they know best, doing what they want.

The biggest find we encountered in KAABOO Del Mar was a band that came all the way from Oakland, CA known as SWMRS (pronounced ‘swimmers’). Had heard of them, but never actually listened to them and became the set we most enjoyed of the day.

Their music reminiscent to The Clash and every punk root imaginable, portrayed the rawest and most adventurous dynamic ever seen since Warped Tour and these musicians knew it. The crowd was so into the band that for the first time, we saw a ‘wall of death’ at KAABOO.

After the refreshing set of SWMRS holding the torch of rock and roll and also from San Diego, CA, Stone Temple Pilots, opened up with their song, “Crackerman.” Stopping by for their North American Tour with their new lead singer, Jeff Gutt, played a repertoire filled with their iconic songs such as “Interstate Love Song,” “Plush” and “Vasoline.”

On the other end of the festival, on Grandview Stage, with a ‘shock to the system,’ another legend it taking the stage, Billy Idol.

Ending the second day of the festival, Imagine Dragons is closing off the night with a ‘thundering’ set opening with their song “Radioactive” right off the bat. Their entrance, built with suspense had the crowd on their toes for what they had next.

Dan Reynolds, lead singer, and lgbt+ community advocator held two pride flags during their song “It’s Time” given to him by fans close to the barricade. Taking the chance, the singer also got into the pit and ran from side to side greeting and smiling to the crowd.

Raynolds, Wayne Sermon, Ben McKee, and Daniel Platzman delivered a heart-warming and invigorating performance including a cover of “Every Breath You Take” from The Police. It was until they got to their song “Demons,” the most emotional part of the night; Reynolds once again held a flag, but this time it had a different meaning ‘Destigmatize mental health.’

Feeling ‘on the top of the world’ the band said their goodbyes with their song “Believer.”

DAY THREE

Elise Trouw, one of our Artist To Watch was the first act to play on the closing day of KAABOO. Right on Sunset Cliffs Stage, the nineteen-year-old multi-instrumentalist from Newport Beach, CA showed her looping skills making a name of herself.

For the last time, we stopped by Grandview Stage for All-American Rejects. Opening with their song “Swing, Swing” in which the ever-youthful band traveled us back to the 00’s.

Rooting a spot at Sundet Cliffs, another legend rocked our socks out. The famous Guns N’ Roses guitarist, Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators.

Next ‘The King of Everything,’ Wiz Khalifa took up the stage.

The fourth edition of KAABOO Del Mar and for the first time SOLD OUT festival came to an end with the performance of Katy Perry. “Thanks for waiting for me!” said the singer, adding “You know, when I go to the festival, I want to hear all the hits.”

Consisting of five acts and five different outfits, the singer brought an out-of-space experience filled with all of her hits dating back to her first album One of the Boys.