David Guetta has performed all over the world, captivating some of the largest and most rambunctious audiences that any musician is capable of pulling. It’s his comfort zone, the perch from which he’s established himself as perhaps the most well-known DJ on earth. The issue is that those sorts of performances can’t happen right now, as shows around the world are on an indefinite hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
That doesn’t mean Guetta has to stop performing, he just needs to find outside-the-box ways to do what he does best. So earlier this month, Guetta put on a show in Miami under radically different circumstances than usual — he set up poolside between a pair of buildings and performed for 90 minutes, with people taking to their balconies and computers to enjoy his show. And even he, a master showman, needed some time to get used to his new surroundings.
“I was super nervous because it’s the first time that I’m not performing in front of a crowd,” Guetta told Uproxx over the phone. “But actually, my idea was to do it in the middle of towers so that people could be on their balconies. And I also had screens, and people could interact with me on Zoom.”
Guetta’s goal wasn’t just to perform. He wanted to use music as a way to fundraise for those struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with his show in Miami, he was able to raise $750,000 for charity. For the first few weeks of quarantine, Guetta admitted that he spent a whole lot of time in thought. He’s used to life on the road, with airports and hotels as constant in his life as studios and packed venues.
This, in a bit of news that will excite fans, gave him the opportunity to make new music, saying “I’ve made more music than I don’t even know since how long. It’s just the fact that it’s the time and also the focus, there was nothing else, no social activities, no nothing. I realized how much it makes me happy to focus on music only.”
But even beyond music, Guetta took some time to think about his life, the platform he has, and how he wants to do more for those in need. As such, it took 10 days to throw together the Miami event. While on the makeshift stage, Guetta held up a David Beckham shirt. A football fan and a Parisian, Guetta’s nod to Beckham — a member of the ownership group of MLS expansion side Inter Miami CF — caught the former PSG player’s eye.
As a result, Beckham and Guetta spoke, and on Saturday, Guetta will team up with Major League Soccer and Heineken to put on a show in New York City to raise money for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Feeding America, the World Health Organization, and Fondation Hôpitaux de Paris — Hôpitaux de France. The 90-minute show will kick off at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, following the the city’s daily clap for frontline healthcare workers.
It will be broadcast on a host of mediums: Guetta’ Guetta’s Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, VK, and TikTok pages, along with MLS’ Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube channels and the league’s website. And like his Miami show, the NYC performance will feature the chance for fans to interact with Guetta via Zoom.
“The location that we’re doing this in New York is really crazy,” Guetta said. “So it’s going to be very special. But yeah, it’s a different approach, but now, I’m less nervous because I know I can really bring a vibe and atmosphere, and that’s what was scaring me. But now I’ve done it, so I know I can do it.”
Ready for tomorrow night! 🙌
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) May 29, 2020
The location is a surprise — Guetta says it’s in an attempt to keep people from gathering and violating social distancing recommendations. It’s hardly the only surprise Guetta has up his sleeve, as he’s promising to lead off his set with a tribute to his host city.
“I thought it was cool to be in such as special city,” Guetta said. “Since I was a kid, it’s a city that made me dream and I wanted to open the show with a homage to the city, so I prepared a special remakes that I’m going to use only for this occasion.”
New York City has been hit particularly hard by the virus, as it earned the unfortunate distinction of being the global epicenter of the pandemic for a spell. Normalcy, to whatever extent it is possible following a traumatic event that touched every corner of our planet, is some time away, a harsh, sobering reality for all of us as we count down the days until a vaccine is found.
In the meantime, we can all find little things that help us forget about the current situation and experience an element of joy. Music is a constant, even if performers who want to put on shows are forced to find unique ways to accomplish that goal. Sports, slowly but surely, are returning — soccer leagues in Europe in particular are making their way back onto the pitch, and stateside, leagues like MLS and NWSL are inching closer and closer to their returns. In Guetta’s eyes, getting to sit at the intersection of those two things, even for a night, has the potential to give people something that everyone needs right now.
“The connection is not so obvious between football and music,” Guetta said. “I come from Europe, and the soccer is really a religion where I come from. And I think that sports and music is what brings people together and the world is in so much need of unity right now. So this is perfect.”
David Guetta is a Warner Music artist. Uproxx is an independent subsidiary of Warner Music Group.