Kaskade creates an unforgettable experience during his Echostage debut [Event Review]
It’s been a full year and a half since Glow had brought Kaskade to Washington, DC. Expectations were high; tickets sold out within hours of being released – a little over a month before the show was even set to take place. Herds of Kaskade disciples lined up outside Echostage, waiting ever so impatiently to escape the cold and have their ID’s checked. By the time midnight rolled around, fans could already hear their Chicago-bred hero’s set blaring from inside the venue. This is exactly why Glow, the promoter, warned concertgoers to arrive early.
Echostage, which opened to the public in September 2012, has earned the title of DC’s largest concert venue. With high-caliber sound, design, and advanced LED visual displays, the 30,000+ sq. ft. venue is now home to some of the biggest names in the industry, and appraised by Wolfgang Gartner as his “favorite new club in America.” I could tell merely by the endless lines outdoors that this wasn’t going to be just another night at Echostage. This was the night we’d all been anticipating for over a month, and the vivacity dispersed throughout the venue was, in a way, refreshing. Among the crowd were cutouts of Ryan’s face, a poster that read “We <3 Kaskade,” and an even more creative, light-up masterpiece inscribed with the words, “Kaskade Turn it Down 4 what!” For a solid three hours, the LA-based artist encouraged his listeners to forget their problems, their personal lives, and whatever else would detract from their experience. That night, it was all about Kaskade and the music.
In June 2012, Kaskade brought his biggest and boldest tour yet – the Freaks of Nature Tour – to Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena. We felt it impossible for anything to trump the tour that made over 40 stops across the US and Canada, until Atmosphere was officially released in September. With that album, Raddon’s entire career took a different path – one that instigated his “Big rooms, Small tour” expedition that hit Miami, New York, LA, and of course his hometown, Chicago. It was only two days ago that Raddon released his set live from LA’s The Shrine, via Tumblr, completely uncut and unedited. So much so that we could pinpoint the exact moments when fans screamed, cheered, and sang the lyrics to their favorite Kaskade records.
Listening to that set from beginning to end, just before his Echostage debut, put me in an unfathomable trance. There is no better feeling than hearing an unbelievable set and being able to say to yourself, “I’m going to see this artist perform live. Tonight. In just a few more hours.” As one of the most highly respected DJ’s/Producers out there, Kaskade has yet to disappoint. There’s something about him that never fails to put a smile on fans’ faces, and something even more mysterious and graceful about his music that allows them to forget reality.
However, following all this tour talk, it’s possible that expectations may have been a bit too high. In all fairness, Raddon’s show at Echostage was not part of an official tour, and this was not the type of performance where he was expected to deliver records, remixes, or mashups that were exclusively his own. Of course, his set was chock full of originals such as “Angel On My Shoulder,” “Don’t Stop Dancing,” and “Lessons In Love,” and these throwbacks are what the crowd loved most. We also witnessed his special Atmosphere mashups, such as “Fire In Your New Rage,” and his famed remix of “Young and Beautiful.” His transitions were on point, and his countenance, during the entire set, roused fans’ energy to the max. But it was moments when tracks like “Center of the Universe,” “Boneless,” “Alive,” and “Boing Clash Boom” crept in, that took me aback. This is not to say that these are poor tracks; rather, they simply weren’t able to do Ryan justice. He doesn’t come to the District often, so when he does, fans want his set to be all about Kaskade, and no one else.
Despite this, the night couldn’t have been more perfect. For the most part we witnessed Kaskade, old and new, and this is precisely what people came to see. Aside from it being a completely sold-out show, one of the most notable aspects of Ryan’s show was the visuals. The contrast between dark and light, the highly saturated purple and pink lasers, the strobes, and the CO2 hoses at both sides of the stage. There were times throughout his set in which the LED screen would show the man himself DJ’ing live, as a mirrored image. Or, during “Atmosphere,” viewers would be taken on a journey through space, a cascade of white stars raining down on the stage against cerulean blue lights. The crowd’s response to “Atmosphere,” “Eyes Reloaded,” and “Room For Happiness” was by far the strongest, unifying us all as we proudly sang along to a couple of Ryan’s most powerful records. In closing with his latest mashup, “Turn It Down Animals,” fan reception was mixed, as some feel that combining a beautifully composed track with one that is more commercial, was a poor move. But for those who have dedicated themselves to Raddon since day one, his show at Echostage was one for the books regardless.