Chinese Theater, Hollywood
Better than…driving all the way to Vegas
“I'm David Guetta, bitch.”
Each time the French DJ dropped this line, the crowd went nuts – recognizing it as a playful variation of the familiar chorus in LMFAO's hit, “I'm in Miami, Bitch.” But in a way, the repetitive vocal outtake perfectly describes the world of David Guetta in 2011. Because at 44 years old, the veteran producer is finally on top of the game – and he doesn't care what you think.
On Saturday Guetta brought his international stardom to Los Angeles, playing at a special event to celebrate his recent recognition as the “world's number one DJ” by DJ Magazine. The show also marked the first installment of the new “DJ Legends” series, held at the historical Chinese 6 theaters at Hollywood and Highland.
While it was unusual to have a music icon perform at the Chinese, Guetta received the full star treatment typically reserved just for Hollywood actors. He became the first DJ to do a hand-printing at the storied theater, his concrete imprint to be featured along the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The private ceremony came off as a PR move, and was dominated by camera flashes and the shouting of reporters vying to get the DJ's attention. But Guetta – who was curiously dressed in a knee-length wool smock over designer leather pants – seemed to be enjoying himself. His real time to shine would happen soon upstairs, in the Chinese theater's multiplex lobby.
DJ Legends is an interesting experiment for the Chinese Theater, but one that has real potential. The two story lobby was quite successfully transformed into the full Vegas nightclub experience – complete with LED light riggings, VIP tables with bottle service, elevated platforms with scantily-clad dancers, and roided-out bouncers just trying to keep a lid on all the mischief. It also helped to have Guetta's own “funkworks soundsystem,” which sounded great considering it was in a room not really designed for acoustics.
After a pump up set from Chris Garcia, Guetta emerged behind the imposing DJ platform to much fanfare by the crowd below. He immediately jumped into “Sweat,” a track he co-produced with Snoop Dogg. Afterwards, his set generally oscillated between instrumental house electro beats he's produced (including the premiere of a new number he made with Afrojack) and the more recent collaborations he's done (like “Without You” and “Where Them Girls At”) with pop vocalists like Usher, Flo Rida, and Niki Minaj.
Having played club events since he was 17, Guetta definitely knows how to get a crowd going – enthusiastically pumping his fist in the air along to some of his tracks' more well-known melodies. “It's just nice to play to a smaller crowd tonight,” he remarked at one point. Apparently a small crowd for Guetta these days is a 400 person nightclub. It's been a long journey for the French producer, but now that he's at the top, David Guetta is just soaking it all in.
Personal Bias: David Guetta can command a crowd. But when it comes to his recent records, I gotta say he has totally sold out.
The Crowd: Jersey Shore hits Hollywood. The guys: dudes wearing sunglasses, sports jackets with tank-tops, and half a bottle's worth of hair gel. The ladies: the average heel height was easily three inches.
Notebook Dump: Upon hearing of my reporting for LA Weekly, Guetta's lighting technician told me that he read Shea Serrano's lambasting of “Without You” in “Why This Song Sucks” and found it hilarious. Apparently the Guetta camp has a sense of humor.