It's crazy out here in these streets...
Steve Aoki, the highest grossing dance musician in North America from his tours alone, likes to ramp up the energy levels at his live performances. Matter of fact, you should stream his new album as you read this to get the full experience.
He likes to take his shows to the next level... Literally. Now, I've seen some crazy stuff at live shows. I've seen the singer from The Flaming Lips roll all over the top of the crowd in a giant hamster ball. Some shenanigans are fun for everyone. But sometimes accidents occur... especially when you crank the idiocy knob up to 11.
Reportedly, during a 2012 show at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, Aoki did the typical. He flung an inflatable raft out onto the sea of eager arms willing to hold up the artist as he stage dived with the intention of crowd surfing.
Except this time, Aoki climbed 20 feet up a speaker stack.
A routine night at one of these shows might include throwing a cake onto the crowd, spraying them with champagne, firing t-shirts out of pressurized air cannons, and altogether everyone having a good time. But Brittany Hickman reports a different experience on that fateful evening in 2012. Ms. Hickman went on record stating:
"The doctor comes in and he says ‘don’t move.’ The medics come over and start to put a neck brace on me. And I remember thinking, what's going on. And the doctor said you broke your neck,” Hickman said. “If I would have thrown my arms above my head or reached for something, I could have paralyzed myself.”
Hickman had found herself trapped under the center of the inflatable raft as ravenous fans all squeezed in to join the fun of holding up the crowd-surfing Aoki. But no amount of hands are going to keep that raft from dipping down under the weight of an adult male leaping from 20 feet high.
"I would never want anyone to get hurt at any of my shows and feel badly that someone has."
Aoki, a fully grown man, lept from the speaker stack, landing on the center of the soft foundation of the blow-up raft. However, the air shifted about upon landing, placing the force of his weight upon the top of Hickman's head. She crumpled beneath the mass of bodies until she was removed by security. After determining she was only disoriented, they released her back into the venue and crowd.
It was only the next day, while still in pain, that her friends reminded her of the events that transpired and she contacted a medical professional.
Hickman's trial is scheduled for August 28, 2015 against Aoki and additionally the Hard Rock Hotel. I don't know what the charges are, but if they're smart the defendants will do the right thing, and settle out of court while agreeing to pay for all of the damages and some more for the trouble. It's a shame that something like this happened, and all anyone can do is try to make it right.
You can visit Aoki's official website here.