A hot sunny afternoon in Del Mar California greeted a sold-out crowd for the final day of KAABOO 2019. Concert goers took advantage of the copious beverages available and lounged in the air-conditioned art and comedy buildings before braving the searing early afternoon sun. Music fans swarmed the Trestles stage early on despite the hot temperatures to hear the legendary Toots and The Maytals play their traditional Reggae sound. According to various musical historians, the name Reggae first appeared in print to describe the 1968 rocksteady hit "Do the Reggay" by The Maytals. A Reggae historian named Steve Barrow credits Clancy Eccles with altering the Jamaican patois word streggae, which roughly translates to loose woman, into Reggae. Led by the always energetic 77-year-old singer and guitarist Toots Hibberts the band schooled the crowd with their rich traditional sound. The band tore through some of their biggest hits in their short but sweet set. Hibbert dominated the stage, delivering lines like a preacher on such songs as “Do the Reggay,” “Funky Kingston,” “Monkey Man” and “Bam Bam.”
Over on the Grandview stage on the far end of the dance music genre from traditional Reggae, EDM pop stars Cash Cash had a young crowd dancing in the hot sun. The American electronic music group from Roseland, New Jersey consists of three DJs, brothers Jean Paul and Alex Makhlouf, and Samuel Frisch. Back on the Trestles stage another utterly different genre of music by Texas folk-rockers Edie Brickell and The New Bohemians. Brickell and her band played a nostalgic set including songs from their 1988 hit album Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars.
The Revivalists took the Grandview stage as the waning summer sun bathed the band in a bright orange glow. Charismatic lead singer David Shaw led the New Orleans band in a jaw-dropping set that saw Shaw and other members of the group dive into the jubilant crowd repeatedly. The animated band danced their way through guitar-driven riffs with double drummers keeping a thunderous beat. The Reviavlists maybe be one of the best live bands to join the festival circuit in the last few years. The band turned the KAABOO set into a special occasion when they were joined by comedian Bob Saget for a surprise cover of “My Generation” by The Who. Saget who was part of the extensive comedy line up at the festival, sang the rambunctious song in a duet with Shaw, marking the first time the band has added the song to their setlist. Another surprise came towards the end of the set when the band was joined by keyboardist Patrick Glynn from the neo-soul band Con Brio. Sadly most of the crowd had missed the short 30-minute opening set by the San Francisco sensations Con Brio. But Glynn brought a touch of their soulful sound to the Revivalist's rendition of the tune “Got Love.” The band ended their triumphant set in front of a vast crowd screaming their mass approval to a mash-up of 2Pac’s “California Love” with their song “Wish I Knew You.”
Los Angeles veteran Americana rocker Sheryl Crow played the massive Sunset Cliffs stage, fittingly at sunset in front of a massive crowd of adoring fans. The seasoned performer has been touring on the heels of her latest album “Threads” which she claims will be her last. But with 11 studio albums to her credit, the prolific songwriter had no shortage of material to offer up to her ecstatic fans at KAABOO. As the beaming singer launched into a crowd favorite “All I Wanna Do,” Crow gave a shout out to LA eliciting a roar from many in the audience. The singer pranced across the massive catwalk repeatedly, engaging the crowd and even grabbing a fan's phone to take a selfie from the stage for the mesmerized fan.
As evening fell upon the festival music fans had to choose as to which closing set they would watch on the two giant main stages far apart from each other. Grammy Award-winners Mumford & Sons closed the Sunset Cliffs stage with an incredible performance. The British folk-rockers played a set full of their chart-topping hits to a giant audience. They even did a surprising reimagined cover of Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt.” But the most magical moment of the festival came when the British New Wave rockers Duran Duran made a rare appearance to help close KAABOO. The show was one of only five destinations on a short summer tour and was full of crowd-pleasing hits. A carefully choreographed multimedia show accompanied each song bringing the band closer to the gigantic crowd that swarmed around them. The iconic group played a full 2-hour set that was pure pop excitement from beginning to end. Charismatic lead singer Simon LeBon preached about the importance of one love and one world, repeating a diatribe he established for the mini-tour. “I don’t care if you love Trump or hate Trump. I don’t care if you are for Brexit or against it.” “We need something to unite us. And music does that brings us together.” The set ended triumphantly with a three-song encore.
The biggest surprise on the final day of KAABOO, however, did not come on the stage. The surprise announcement was made Sunday afternoon in the media tent advising that the festival is moving to Downtown San Diego come 2020, being renamed KAABOO San Diego. The new venue will be the San Diego Padres Petco Park baseball stadium. The move follows the signing of a multi-year agreement by the producers of KAABOO and the San Diego Padres. Many fans of the Del Mar location will lament the move, but it seems the festival has outgrown its current location. No doubt KAABOO San Diego will be a more grandiose undertaking. The new version of the festival will be held in downtown San Diego in and around Petco Park, September 18-20, 2020.