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Kaskade Enjoys Emotional Homecoming at Lollapalooza 2015

Kaskade
C Flanigan/FilmMagic

Kaskade performs during the 2015 Lollapalooza Music Festival at Grant Park on July 31, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.

Kaskade's closing set at Lollapalooza on Friday (July 31) held special meaning for the Northbrook native.

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The Grammy-nominated artist - born Ryan Raddon - played the festival in 2009, 2010, and 2012, and remembers a time when the now-enormous Perry's stage was "just a table" prior to the American EDM boom. 

Feeling nostalgic, he took to social media earlier in the week to share his excitement for the big homecoming gig.

There was a palpable energy at Perry's stage ahead of Raddon's set. I spotted his wife Naomi backstage with child in tow, and later bumped into his smiling manager Stephanie LaFera in the crowd. With his mother apparently in attendance as well, the event felt a bit like a family affair.

Kaskade kicked his set into high gear with new single, "Disarm You," and a flurry of fan favorites like "Atmosphere," "Room for Happiness," and "Lessons of Love" while flames danced along the front of the Perry's stage.

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Diehard fans in the front row clutched giant cutouts of Kaskade's head. Given the massive crowds he's been drawing at festivals like Coachella and EDC Las Vegas, I asked them if they feel he's currently having a moment.

"If Paul McCartney was this good, we'd be there!" one exclaimed.

"We're having a f***ing moment!" hollered another.

Kaskade took the mic towards the end of his set to deliver an emotional speech to his hometown crowd.

"Alright Chicago, I don't know how many of you know I grew up here," he said. "It's the ultimate home field advantage. I grew up here in Northbrook and used to take the train into the city to hear a whole lot of house music. I started in my mom's basement and here I am in front of you guys at Lollapalooza."

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The filtered chords of recent release, "We Don't Stop," rose to support his heartfelt speech.

"I wrote this song about you, about us, the freaks, the geeks, the people who didn't fit in," he continued. "All these years later, we're right here. We don't stop Chicago -- this one's for you!"

Jumping in time with the song's sing-along chorus, Raddon savored the synth-driven drop before mixing into "Eyes" as the stage's giant screens changed to color-shifting irises. 

"You guys want one more?" he asked to an obvious crowd response. "This is for the city that inspired me and started me on my career, you guys."

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Widespread cheers greeted the classic chord progression from "I Remember," his seminal collaboration with deadmau5, as added bass wobbles revealed it to be West London producer Caspa's remix.

When Kaskade finally departed the booth to thank his audience at the front of the stage, he met with a fitting ovation to cap off a memorable night in the city that made him.

#TBT to @Lollapalooza 2012. Starting to get that feeling again...

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Diehard #Kaskade fans in the front row at #Lolla

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@kaskade #Lollapalooza

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