Shaquille O’Neal debuts at Bonnaroo music festival as DJ Diesel

Shaquille O'Neal commanding The Other Stage at Bonnaroo early Saturday morning.

MANCHESTER, Tenn. − “Are we having a good time, Bonnaroo?” Diesel, also known as NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal, yelled at the crowd shortly after starting his 2:30 a.m. set Saturday at Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.

Playing a mixture of EDM beats with samples of hip hop, house music and even rock mixed in, Shaq − who played as performances around Centeroo wound down − seemed to draw waves of totems (one-of-a-kind signposts often carried by Bonnaroo faithful) to The Other stage, where he delivered a never-ending blur of blinding lights perfectly synched to his ground-shaking EDM set.

The 51-year-old basketball legend first immersed himself in the EDM world around 2014 and has collaborated with DJ Nitti Gritti, who joined Shaq onstage for “Moshpit,” a track released in 2021 that’s garnered more than 3 million streams on Spotify. In the past year, Diesel performed at Electric Daisy Carnival, Lost Lands, Red Rocks and more, and is planning to release a new EP, which will be his first collection in decades.

Shaq spent most of his time on stage playfully threatening the audience − “I’m coming out there!” − and encouraging chaos.

“I don’t see no mosh pits in the back,” he said at one point.

He frequently asked if anyone wanted to join him onstage, which at first seemed like offhand banter, but people began to trickle onstage greeting the self-proclaimed “world’s biggest DJ.”

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