Photos by Alive Coverage.
KAABOO is unlike any other festival of its kind, the un-festival designed by music lovers for music lovers is spreading its wings this year. KAABOO has been making bold moves with their expansion of their brand into new markets, starting with the Grand Caymans in February this year with great success. Texans got a taste of KAABOO’s latest efforts at their first show at the enormous Cowboy’s Stadium. Check out our feature from last year’s KAABOO in Del Mar. This is seriously a huge venue with some challenges on how to approach a multi-stage multi-day event. KAABOO Texas included 49 music artists and bands, 15 comedians, celebrity chefs, and countless visual artists on display for this Texas sized festival of the senses. KAABOO brought all the heavy hitting talent to kick it off proper, considering this is the first year at this venue, KAABOO succeeded in providing once in a lifetime performances and experiences for thousands. Here are some of the highlights of our experience at KAABOO Texas.
The skies were the only thing gloomy on day one.
Ludacris was the only hip-hop artist on the line-up and he brought his exuberance and heat to the stage. Every generation of the audience was seen dancing and bumping to his hits. Songs like “All I do is win” “Rollout (My Business)”, “Stand Up”, “Move Bitch” and our favorite “What’s Your Fantasy?” Ludacris had a great audience of fans that were singing along or filling in blanks throughout the entire set.
Like a Rock Star
Gavin Rossdale of Bush is still crushing it. Bush played all their hits from the 90’s with “Glycerine”, “Machine Head” and “Everything Zen.” His energy was as if twenty years hadn’t passed and at one point came down off the stage and into the crowd and walked through singing while the audience crowded around him with their phones in the air. The band and Gavin sounded great and the set reminded us of why Bush still has a place in our playlists.
I love Rock and Roll
Joan Jett and the Blackhearts performed on the smallest stage outdoors but they played big! Joan has been selective performing at various festivals in recent years. This was a great opportunity to see a legendary bad ass perform for a new generation of rockers. Her voice is strong as ever and the Blackhearts were tight with their performance as well. Hits like “I Love Rock and Roll”, “Cherry Bomb”, “Bad Reputation” and “Crimson & Clover” had the audience dancing and singing along.
Go on Miss Lauren
In true Lauren Hill style, the singer was at least 45 minutes late in her appearance on stage. Outside of her late arrival, she always woos her audience with her talent and hits. Songs like “Everything is Everything”, “Ex-Factor” and her incredible versions of cover songs “Can’t take my eyes off you” and “Killing Me Softly” gave us goosebumps. We had to bail on Lauren during the end of her performance so we could have an opportunity to see Alanis Morissette.
Alanis Morissette is a super mom singer!
Alanis celebrated Mother’s Day weekend in full mother mode as she is pregnant with her third child. Her performance was incredible and her energy was high, especially for as pregnant as she is (our guess is she’s only a few months away or less from her due date.) Alanis was absolutely glowing and her voice was better than a recording. She bounced and skipped around the stage singing her hits like “You Learn”, “Hand in My Pocket”, “Ironic” and more. The crowd that gathered to see Alanis was right there with her singing back in unison on nearly every song. Alanis was definitely one of the best performances of the day.
Easy like not falling
One of the more anticipated artists to perform at KAABOO Texas had to be the legendary Lionel Richie. His performance was set for the large outdoor stage once the sun was down the party started. Lionel played hit after hit with both his time with the Commodores as well as his solo career. Everybody would have been “Dancing on the Ceiling” had the show been inside the stadium. At one point during his performance a small amount of mist started to come down briefly but then went away. It may have been enough moisture however to cause Lionel to slip and fall during his performance of “Easy” which he then later explained to the audience that he was just talking the day before about how he has never once in his career fallen or slipped on stage! Oh, the irony! Next time Lionel knock on wood before you say never. He was a good sport through it and continued to please the crowd with his timeless classics. The band was also extremely tight and sounded amazing.
The Killers show Tom Petty love
The Killers performed closed out the night indoors, as the storm outside began to descend into the region. Luckily it wasn’t an issue and the band performed flawlessly their hits like “Mr. Brightside”, “When You Were Young” and a special cover performance of the late great Tom Petty’s “American Girl” was also a nice touch to the set. That would wrap up day one and leave us excited about day two.
Only happy when it is sunny in Texas
Day two and the storm had passed through during the night. Garbage once again performed at KAABOO, this time for the Texas audience. The band that once dominated the airwaves in the late 90’s and early 2000’s has not lost their sound or their attitude. Shirley Manson is still the fire of the band and isn’t afraid to show it. Her sultry voice and mysterious words never fail to create a mood. They played many of their hits from their first and second albums. The set was as expected.
Rick Springfield may not be an artist that most millennials will recognize, but the KAABOO Texas audience was a great mix of ages, races and musical tastes. Much of Rick’s audience inside the stadium was old enough to appreciate Rick and his hits like “Jessie’s Girl” and “Human Touch” from the 80’s. Seeing Rick Springfield perform was a treat and he isn’t a typical festival artist in our experience. His performance was solid, perhaps not exactly like a record, but overall he put as much energy as he could into every song.
Collective Soul hasn’t stopped, they continue to produce new albums today. This year marks their 25-year anniversary of their career. Their catalog of hits is what they brought to the KAABOO indoor stage with outstanding musicianship. The Roland brothers from Georgia and their band, Collective Soul have been enriching our lives with songs like “December”, “The world I know” and “Shine.” These guys are well versed and on point with their audience and what they expect from these veterans of the 90’s. They have a new album that was just released called BLOOD that is available now.
Flo Rida brings everyone together young and old to shake their “apple bottom jeans.”
We witnessed a very diverse audience for Flo Rida which was a bit unexpected, but appreciated. Just goes to show that you’re never too old to boogie (witness our Instagram posts.) Flo Rida served up mad energy and had at one point at least two dozen women audience members dancing and singing on stage with him performing the “Apple Bottom Jeans” song. It was highly entertaining to watch all the different women give their butt shaking impressions with pride! Cheers ladies, shake your thang!
Black Eyed Peas was certainly a surprise that there was no Fergie!
As fans of the group we were excited to see the Peas all back together, sadly Fergie is no longer part of the group. Instead it was the existing members of the band: Will.I.am, apl.de.ap, and Taboo. The new female singer Jessica Reynoso is now Fergie’s replacement. Jessica is the one of the finalists for the TV show “The Voice Philippines.” Unfortunately, our team was not that impressed by the performance, the backing band was limited and it just wasn’t the same.
Kid Rock ROCKED!
The lion share of the audience over the weekend for headliners had to go to Kid Rock. His performance was full of energy and charisma. Kid played all his hits including “Cowboy”, “American Badass” and “All Summer Long” with a full band behind him. The set was lit and would be the last of day two.
Day three left some gas in the tank for the last miles of KAABOO Texas.
Sadly, the DJ’s got shut out of a greater audience by default of their placement. KAABOO has notable luxury features, including the famous pool lounge called “Bask.” The only trouble with this concept in Texas was that the scheduled DJ’s (we thought were included in the line-up) were placed inside this exclusive upgrade area that had very limited audience. Even our press credentials were not accepted for us to enter so therefore we couldn’t really report on how awesome or unawesome this feature really was. We specifically attempted to enter the area for reporting throughout the weekend with no entry.
On Sunday Mix Master Mike of the Beastie Boys was on the Rowdy Stage inside the Bask area. Luckily for us, our team member Pete knows Mike personally and was able to get his attention and we were then granted entry. His set was great, unfortunately not many people got to witness his wicked turntable skills. Many folks missed out on many world class DJ’s and the area was not very well attended due to this restricted access. The pool was cool, but the weather wasn’t really pool ideal. We feel that the pool could have been the added charge feature, that way the artists and the ticket buyers could enjoy the DJ’s. The area was sparse with people and it was a total shame that the DJ’s didn’t get the attention they deserved. Mix Master Mike will also be performing his set at KAABOO in Del Mar this year in September. We are hoping he and other DJ’s will have their own all access dedicated area just as they have had in Del Mar in the past. Mix Master Mike is also the traveling DJ for Cypress Hill and will be performing throughout the country at various festivals.
Pitbull, The B-52’s, Counting Crows all had incredible sets that created memories and left much of the audience feeling nostalgic from every decade of hits from all three.
Sting completed the experience
It was an eclectic mix on the last day that ended with Sting performing all his greatest hits. Sting’s set was hit after hit closing out the night with a total of fifteen songs. Every song he performed was either from his solo career or from his time with The Police. The night ended spectacularly and left the audience excited to see how KAABOO Texas will take shape in the years to come.
In conclusion of the first KAABOO Texas, we were impressed with the line-up of world class talent, which all performed well. The incredible visual artwork was mind blowing. The arrangement of the stages and the artist choices for each stage was a little awkward. Some artists would have had a larger audience if they had been on a more intimate stage setting. The layout consisted of one large stage inside the stadium and another large stage outside the stadium. There was also a smaller stage that needed greater attention to the location placement along with the overlooked Palate area that was to showcase the culinary talents of the celebrity chefs.
Overall, the three days at KAABOO Texas gave a good experience for our team. The first show in a new market is not easy, we feel there is plenty of growth to come for KAABOO in the future in Texas. KAABOO has arranged to be at the AT&T Cowboys stadium for the next ten years, so it’s certainly going to evolve in the years to come and should only grow in size to fill this awesomely large space. Next up for KAABOO is the original location in Del Mar, California in September. You can see additional details and buy tickets by clicking here.
Gallery Photos by Pete Marrero