Whatever I was expecting from seeing Kendrick Lamar and Steve Aoki on April 12, it was nothing — nothing — like I could have imagined. I don’t think that’s an unfair claim. I’ve been to enough concerts in my life to say, definitively, that Friday was one of the weirdest experiences I’ve had at a music performance.

Let me back up. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine told me that Kendrick Lamar was coming to Rochester Hills with Steve Aoki. We bought tickets for the lawn seats, and I was particularly excited to see one of my more recent favorite artists.

Fast-forward to the concert on Friday night, which listed a 7 p.m. start time. A three-direction quagmire of traffic (aided only by a concert worker — not a police officer) slowed our arrival, until we finally arrived around 7:20. An opener I had never heard of, one of those “up-and-coming local rappers,” was pumping out a few random songs as the lawn packed together.

A pretty normal experience, so far — at least, until Kendrick Lamar walked on stage without announcement or theatrics. The change from opener to Kendrick (who I’d assumed would be the main attraction, with Aoki as the opener) was so swift and unrecognizable that a couple girls behind us complained about his music, unaware. “When’s Kendrick getting on?” one asked, as Kendrick himself rapped into the microphone.

The air of confusion persisted for a few tracks, and the strange mix of energy from the crowd seemingly affected my favorite rapper, to the point of being unexcited. “Put your hands up!” Kendrick would exclaim a few times before songs — but between dropped words and shortened verses, he seemed both peeved and apathetic about his opening set. After 40 minutes, he walked off the stage without another word, apparently the end to his performance.

But don’t worry — the weirdness was only just beginning. After witnessing streams of people pouring unimpeded into the seats below, my friends and I decided to follow suit, eventually ending up 20 or so rows from the dance pit. And it was at this moment that I realized the severely clashing mixture of people in the crowd. Hardcore rap fans were clearly present, staying even though Aoki’s music seemed better suited for the kids clearly waiting to rave. The result was an almost-confused energy collecting under the roof — who was this concert even intended for in the first place?

Yet Steve Aoki clearly took the cake as the strangest aspect of the show — and he did so literally. If anyone has managed to dance in the pit for an Aoki concert, they probably know the EDM mixster’s signature move: throwing a cake into the audience as his song drops on its own.

Admittedly, it’s actually kind of the crazy, funny showmanship that would make Aoki a great showman. When the second cake came, I at least still thought, “Hey, he’s doing a pastry encore. Pretty fun.” Until the third cake. And the fourth cake. In all, I counted 11 frosted cakes. At one point near the end, a stage assistant was literally bringing the circular desserts two at a time, with which Aoki would dance and gyrate down the length of the stage.

The recipe was the same every time: Point at an audience member in the pit. Wait for the drop to near. Launch cake into face of likely tweaked-out dancer. Jump and flail limbs to the beat, point skyward like one is dancing their soul out. Revel in post-cake-throwing ecstasy.

And that’s not to mention the inflatable boat which was surfed by crowd members over the audience. That’s one weak sorority girl away from a broken face and a lawsuit.

The most annoying part of the experience, however, had nothing to do with the show itself. As Aoki pumped his house music, a fan clearly left over from the Kendrick show slowly gravitated to my left. He was huge — 6 ft at least — and he was on a mess of drugs. Greenjacket, as I took to calling him, first appeared angry and flipped off Aoki (I assumed because he wanted Kendrick), only to start dancing wildly — and moving directly in front of my seat. In the same row.

I was honestly thankful for the end of the performance, and it was when Aoki left that the separation of crowd members was most obvious. “Kendrick! Kendrick!” shouted the lawn seats, before the pit started an “Aoki!” chant that eventually won out. Aoki returned to the stage for a last song, and then it was over.

Yet the strangeness of the evening had not ended. Returning to our car, a friend went to relieve himself in the woods on the edge of the parking lot, only to return a minute later. “There’s an empty car with its lights on over there,” he said, before telling us about hearing people shouting farther off in the distance.

What. The. Fuck.

A different friend and I left to alert security, only to witness a pack of six concert-goers return from the venue to that car, and drive away. Apparently the car hadn’t been empty after all, as a man opened the driver’s side door to talk with the others — and the yelling had stopped; probably just a few drunk fans walking home. But why would they walk through the forest? And why was this car parked away from the others?

I didn’t want any answers. We drove away from that place, with the feeling that we weren’t quite sure what had just occurred for the entire evening. But hey — at least I got to see some cake tossed around.

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