Steve Aoki at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium by Brandon BiggsSteve Aoki (photo: Brandon Biggs)

Photos and words by Ashleigh Biggs

Last Friday night, I found myself standing in the foyer of The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. I didn’t need to peer through the large sets of doors to know exactly what I was getting into — I could hear it. I could feel the energy. Thousands of voices filled the building, talking in unison but each voice saying something completely and utterly different. Excited screams of “Whoo!” and chants of “STEVE A-O-KI” bounced off the walls. I smiled, took a deep breath, and walked through the doors and into a sea of beautiful people.

Champagne, confetti, and cannons: When combined, these things make for an unforgettable night. Steve Aoki comes to the Bay Area to celebrate Dim Mak’s 20th Anniversary and does not disappoint. A Steve Aoki concert is unlike any other. For his sold out show at Bill Graham Auditorium, Aoki brought all of his essentials: A killer stage presence, an extraordinary production, and then some. All of these elements made the night a phenomenal experience for each and every person in attendance.

If you know anything about Steve Aoki, you might recall that he and cake have a history. It wasn’t until I watched a documentary about him — I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead, which you can find on Netflix — that I realized getting caked at a Steve Aoki concert was a thing. In fact, it is a very big deal. As I walked through the doors and onto the floor of the auditorium, I was instantly in awe. There are hundreds of fans waving neon signs, many of which bore various versions of “Cake Me” and cardboard cutouts of various emoji characters. Several cake junkies had even gone as far as designing a wearable cardboard target, in which one’s face, when placed through the cut-out hole, becomes the ultimate bullseye.

Once the music started, it never stopped. And neither did the dancing, for that matter. Steve Aoki has a natural ability to blend songs together without skipping a beat, literally. Fan favorite “Delirious” had the entire building, from the floor to the balcony, jumping up and down with fists pumping the air. Personal space is practically nonexistent at a Steve Aoki concert, but no one seemed to mind.

Steve Aoki knows how to cater his musical style to fit everyone’s personal taste. His live show currently features remixes of popular alternative songs including Blink-182’s “Bored To Death” and My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade.” I have always found this to be a magical experience: experiencing two worlds that are thought to be unrelated, colliding into one another. In this case, Steve Aoki plus Blink-182 equals one absolutely stunning musical masterpiece.

Ultimately, Steve Aoki sets the bar for the rest of the DJs in the world. He is one of the most interactive performers currently in the game with an undeniably impressive production featuring fireballs, cryo cannons, and massive LED panels full of visuals.