Concert Review: DJ Diesel a.k.a. Shaquille O’Neal at ‘Lollapalooza’

Photo taken by Dan Garcia/On Milwaukee of Shaquille O’Neal at Lollapalooza in Chicago, IL on August 4, 2019

Welcome to Lakers Outsiders’ first (and probably last) concert review. As this is a Los Angeles Lakers centered website, you’re probably wondering why on earth we’d be doing a concert review. I’m happy to tell you that this is in fact a Lakers-centric concert review, as I’ll be talking about my time at Lollapolooza in Chicago, IL, seeing the Lakers all-time great Shaquille O’Neal while he performed under his moniker, DJ Diesel.

There are two things I need to explain before I start my review to set the scene:
1. Lollapalooza is a 4-day music festival held in Chicago, IL. Shaq’s show happened on the last day of the festival which featured some very hot temperatures, which means everyone that had attended the festival during the entire weekend was exhausted. Shaq was performing on one of Lolla’s many stages, named “Perry’s.” This stage showcases all of the Electronic Dance Music (EDM) artists, which brings me to my next point.
2. Shaq may play some hip-hop songs during his sets, but he is 100% an EDM DJ/artist. His music consists of very “wompy”, dubstep type music which usually involves very loud, robotic-sounding bass blasting into your face. Oh, also, I will be referring to our king, Shaq, as DJ Diesel for the rest of this review, as that is his name in this world.

I arrived to the large dusty field where “Perry’s” was located, decked out in my purple Shaquille O’Neal jersey, ready to party. DJ Diesel’s show started at 5:15 p.m., set to go on for an hour. At this point of the day, I had drank about three to four beers of a famous blue beer brand that you might see in a lot of NFL commercials (no free ads here on Lakers Outsiders). I was very excited, a little tipsy, and very sweaty as the heat index was a humid 100 degrees.

As I looked around I noticed plenty of O’Neal and LeBron James jerseys. The Lakers love was in the building, as I received a lot of compliments on my own jersey. The show started with Kanye West’s ‘Jesus Walks’ and, as you’d expect, a man impersonating Jesus Christ comes out with DJ Diesel shortly following.

Yes, I’m joking. No one in their right mind would have ever expected a man impersonating Jesus Christ to start off a DJ Diesel show*. But that’s just the man, the myth, the legend DJ Diesel himself: an unpredictable and hilarious dude.

*Side note: I’m very curious as to who this Jesus Christ impersonator is and whether or not he is paid to tour with DJ Diesel just to walk out on stage as Jesus for about 45 seconds. If this is the case, and if he quits his job, I will be using this article for the secondary purpose of applying for that position.

The 7’1” DJ is fresh off an appearance at the most popular EDM festival in the world, Belgium’s ‘Tomorrowland’, followed up almost back-to-back with this appearance at ‘Lollapalooza’. He may not be as successful of a DJ as a basketball player, but he’s performing shows that most EDM DJs would kill for.

The initial ‘Jesus Walks’ then transitioned into the loud, bass-heavy EDM music that DJ Diesel is famous for playing. The show included many visuals of Shaquille O’Neal dunking on fools during his time in the NBA, as well as video of David Stern announcing O’Neal’s arrival to the NBA on draft night, when the Orlando Magic drafted him number one overall in 1992.

Throughout the show, DJ Diesel was prompting the crowd to “break the rails, goddamnit”. He was referring to the rails that block the front of the crowd from the stage, which I’m sure the security team was thrilled about. Other than that, DJ Diesel was yelling at the crowd to open up some mosh pits, again, followed by “goddamnit”. Even while inevitably exhausted, the crowd answered, providing many scrums like the one seen below. At one amazing point, I turned around and saw what looked to be a 60-year-old man in the middle of a mosh pit. The rest of the pit was so happy to see the man in there that they hoisted him onto their shoulders like he was Shaquille O’Neal winning an NBA championship.

Overall, it was a crazy show with the crowd eating up everything DJ Diesel was saying during and in between songs. In fact, he was doing a lot of talking, causing myself to doubt how much DJ’ing the big man was actually doing. Personally, I’m a big fan of EDM music but my preference is somewhat chill, melodic EDM music. This is the opposite of that. You better be ready to be knocked around by a bunch of sweaty 16-year-olds when you go to his shows, as there were most pits on every side of me at the show.

For Lakers Outsiders’ first and most likely final concert review, I’ll go ahead and give DJ Diesel’s Lollapalooza show seven inquiries of “Can you dig it?” out of ten. It was a great way to spend a late Sunday afternoon and, although I was very tired at work the following morning, it was worth it to see Shaq throw down some beats in person.

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