David Guetta: Monolith

The superstar DJ performs a special set from the desert of AlUla, backed by a mysterious 18m by 6m structure that takes its inspiration from Stanley Kubrick’s seminal sci-fi masterpiece…

While it became clear during the COVID-19 pandemic that nothing can truly replicate the buzz of live, in-person experiences, the success and subsequent proliferation of livestreamed music events that occurred during the period proved that there remains a place for these types of productions even now the live events industry is thankfully back up to full strength. One artist who fully embraced the format is David Guetta, with the DJ producing several special sets that were premiered on YouTube, performing from spectacular settings such as the Louvre Abu Dhabi and the helipad on Dubai’s Burj Al Arab. “Of course, we always prefer shows with a crowd,” began Guetta’s long-time creative collaborator, Show Director, Romain Pissenem of High Scream. “However, if COVID showed us anything it was just how good these productions can be.”

For his latest project, Guetta and his teams at What A DJ, Home Studio, TM&S and Warner Music joined forces with RCU, Film AlUla and MDLBEAST to bring his iconic Monolith to the stunning surroundings of AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Described by the DJ as “one of the most extraordinary heritage sites in the world”, AlUla is an ancient desert oasis and home to a wealth of natural and man-made wonders, including the UNESO World Heritage site of Hegra and the one-of-a-kind mirrored multipurpose venue and architectural icon, Maraya.

“I didn’t know much about the area before this project, but it is amazing; it was the perfect location for this concept,” Pissenem stated. “The production was more of a movie than a livestreamed DJ set. It was so cinematic and not only a great way to show off this part of the world, but also an incredible way to present and launch David’s upcoming Monolith stadium shows.”

Tracing back to the roots of the Monolith concept, Pissenem explained that the prospect of transporting the structure to a far-flung location such as AlUla was always a possibility. “We always had in mind that we could take the object and put it somewhere in an amazing location in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “It plays into this narrative of the mystery of the Monolith. Where did this thing come from? You don’t know if it came from space or emerged from the ground.”

Photos: High Scream