Cal Jam 17

October 7th, 2017: It was a warm day in San Bernardino, California. The sun was radiating down on the long lines of eager people waited to enter the Glen Helen Amphitheater for the Cal Jam 2017 Festival.

Pinky Pinky and StarCrawler kicked off the day, but my day began with the last two songs from Circa Waves’ set. As much as I wanted to see all three bands, I didn’t let missing their sets faze me because I knew I had a day full of music ahead.

The Main Stage at Cal Jam 17. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

After Circa Waves’ performance, my group and I explored the rest of the festival grounds.

In the area with the two additional stages, food trucks, food stands, and free carnival rides outlined the field. There was also a Vans Skate Ramp, a record store, and the Foo Fighters’ Rock n Roll Museum.

The Sun Stage and the Mountain Stage at Cal Jam 17. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

We then returned to the main stage, to see The Struts.

When lead singer Luke Spiller walked on stage, it was evident he was about to steal the show. His presence just “screams” rockstar – his sparkly outfit, the black eyeshadow encircling his eyes, and his rough yet powerful voice.

The bands instrumental skills, their stage presence, and their energy captivated the crowd from start to finish. Spiller interacted with the crowd – getting them to follow his movements almost completely in sync. watching the “wave-like” motion was mesmerizing.

After The Struts, Royal Blood took the stage. I had heard mention of them on the radio before, but I didn’t know what to expect. When you hear their songs you think there’s more than two people in the band, but that’s exactly what it is.

Royal Blood is made up of Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher. It’s refreshing and impressive to see a duo for a change. They proved that they have a knack for what they do by rocking out on stage.

Once their set was done, we walked over to the Foo Fighters’ Rock n Roll Museum were they had an abundance of Foo Fighters memorabilia. From music video props and the bands instruments to their awards and even Dave Grohl’s leg cast!


Banner from the “Run” music video at the Foo Fighters Rock n Roll Museum. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag
Show laminates at the Foo Fighters Rock n Roll Museum. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

After scoping the place out for a bit, we went for some pizza and lemonade while we waited for Cage the Elephant to take the stage.

Every time lead singer Matt Shultz steps on stage he is overflowing with energy. He jumps, he dances like mad, and just really gets the crowd going.  Every one of their shows is unforgettable and this performance was no different.


Matt Shultz from Cage the Elephant. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

Cage the Elephant began their set with Mary Jane’s Last Dance as a tribute to the late Tom Petty. They continued their hour long set witha mix of songs from all their albums. They sang hits like Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked, Shake Me Down, and Trouble. They  even sang Punchin’ Bag which is one of my favorite songs and ended the night with the unexpected Teeth.

Once their set ended, I headed out to the Capital One Lounge where they were set to make an appearance. When they arrived, people crowded around them trying to get photos. Before I could reach the front of the crowd, security said it was time for them to go.

Cage the Elephant at the Capital One Lounge. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

I knew that it was now or never. I made my way towards Matt who was closest to me. The experience itself was so surreal that I vaguely remember what I said to him. Something along the lines of how much I appreciate what they do. We took a photo, I gave him a sticker, and made my way towards Nick. I was able to express more words of appreciation to him and got a photo with him as well.

Though it was a short exchange, I’ll cherish that moment with my favorite band forever.

We then left the lounge to catch a few songs from Queens of the Stone Age’s set which was trippy to say the least. They had light poles surrounding them on stage that would strobe white light. The screens on opposite sides of the stage would flicker images of the band in different lights.

At one point during their performance, they took a sign from the crowd that had “Vegas Strong” on the front and the names of the victims from the terrorist attack on the back. It was a bit overwhelming to see this display since this incident occured less than a week before in our own backyard. We had been feeling somewhat uneasy througout the day, but we weren’t going to let that feeling effect our experience.

At 9:45pm Dave Grohl took center stage with a guitar in hand. He thanked the crowd for attending the show and then began an acoustic rendition of Times Like These. He was then joined on stage by the rest of the band to finish the song.

Foo Fighters at Cal Jam 17. Gaby D. for Astr0Mag

For 2 hours, the night continued with high energy.

They brought special guests on stage including:

  • Alison Mosshart from The Kills and Dave Koz on saxophone for sing La Dee Da,
  • Greg Kurstin on the keyboard for Sunday Rain,
  • Rick Astley for Never Going To Give You Up,
  • Joe Perry from Aerosmith for Draw The Line, and
  • Liam Gallagher for a cover of The Beatles’ Come Together.

The stage set up was different from what we had see before. The screen at the far back of the stage would move throughout their performance. Sometimes it would be in place, at times at an angle over the band, and sometimes even directly over them.

Lights illuminating the stage during Foo Fighters performance. Gaby D. for Astr0mag

Foo Fighters are definitely a band everyone must see live. Even if you feel like you don’t know enough about them to appreciate their performance, I assure you, you do and you’ll rock your heart out. Foo Fighters are legendary and will definitely go down in history with the greats.


At one point near the end of the show Dave ran into the crowd and shredded on his guitar. Then some time after, he asked the light techs to turn off all the lights on stage and had the crowd turn on their phone flashlights. The view was breathtaking. The fact that everyone could came together and were able to illuminate the entire stage was insane.


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