311: KAABOO Festival @ Del Mar Fairgrounds – 09/20/2015

Full Coverage of KAABOO Festival Day 1 can be viewed here.

Full coverage of KAABOO Festival Day 2 can be viewed here.

The Kaaboo Festival wrapped up its inaugural run and 3rd day on Sunday September 20th with a slightly subdued vibe in comparison to its previous two nights. Gone were acts playing up until 2am in the morning, replaced by The Killers headlining the Sunset Cliffs main stage with no opposing acts and with a strict 10pm curfew.

Acts such as O.A.R., Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Grace Potter, Brandi Carlile, Michael Franti & Spearhead definitely brought a relaxed feeling to the day—especially with the marathon days of music the previous two days presented.

LA natives Dawes drew an early spot on the Zuma Stage and San Diego’s own Switchfoot rocked out with pro surfer and Encinitas resident Rob Machado joining the band on guitar for two tracks. Lead singer Jon Foreman shared his enthusiasm about playing this hometown show with the crowd, even taking the time to connect with them running up and down the expansive runway that separated the general admission from VIP standing areas.

Pat Monahan and his bandmates from Train closed out the Zuma Stage, putting on a show that was clearly appreciated by both young and old fans. The band responsible for hits such as “Meet Virginia”, “Hey Soul Sister” and “Drops Of Jupiter” know how to connect with a crowd, Monahan continuously prowled the stage, working each side and playing to his screaming fans who knew each and every word to his thoughtful songs.

311 planned their set list smartly, kicking off their show off with trusted crowd-friendly hits. Diving into a few B-sides and deep tracks in the middle (surrounded by a few smash hits), the band’s 20 song set was a solid festival offering. Opening up with “Beautiful Disaster”, lead singer Nick Hexum and his bandmates launched into a nearly 90 minute set of classics including “Amber”, “All Mixed Up” and a cover of The Cure hit “Lovesong”. Celebrating their 25th year as an act, the band took time to thank the Del Mar crowd before finishing up with two of their greatest tracks “Down” and “Creatures (For A While)”.

Train: KAABOO Festival @ Del Mar Fairgrounds – 09/20/2015

Playing only their second announced show of 2015, Las Vegas headliners The Killers closed out KAABOO 2015 with a solid performance that showed a little sign of rust but brought with it the power that the band created over the years. Lead singer Brandon Flowers, complete with a gold sequined jacket, smiled and grinned his way through his 90 minute set. Opener “Mr. Brightside” quickly transitioned into “Spaceman” before the Sin City native took a breath. Flowers, who currently is promoting his solo project The Desired Effect (with a local SoCal show this Saturday at The Wiltern), maintained his superior stage presence throughout the 17 song set—embracing the giant crowd that had formed at the Sunset Cliffs stage, especially considering they were the final act.

Flowers made it seem that the band was almost reluctant to play “Jenny Was a Friend Of Mine”, the lead track off their freshman album Hot Fuss. Later, they mixed in a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic “Bad Moon Rising”. As curfew approached, they finished up their main set with “Read My Mind” and “All These Things I’ve Done”. A quick encore brought “This Is Your Life” and finally “When You Were Young”. (Reviewer Note: Due to band restrictions, no photography was allowed of The Killers set)

Throughout the entire weekend, I must personally say that the event never felt overly crowded. Madison Companies (the organizers of KAABOO) from the start set out to create an upscale festival, this was definitely achieved. The vast grounds located within the Del Mar venue assured that individuals had not only room to roam, relax, indulge but also escape the heat in air conditioned venues and restaurants.

Within hours of the festival playing its final tune, festival organizers via social media sent out a save the date for next year… September 16-18, 2016. With the success of this first year festival, with word of mouth and positive feedback one can only imagine the powerhouse that it could become next year and for the foreseeable future.

Grace Potter

Michael Franti & Spearhead