A month after their widely-panned first performance together in nearly a decade at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Big Boi and Andre 3000 sounded like they had worked out all the kinks in their live set last night.
OutKast brought their 20th anniversary reunion tour to Delaware on Saturday, when they served as the Firefly Music Festival’s first-ever hip-hop headliners.
A month after their widely-panned first performance together in nearly a decade at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Big Boi and Andre 3000 sounded like they had worked out all the kinks in their live set and even put aside the long-rumored personal divide between the childhood friends.
“We started this when we were 17,” Andre told the crowd at one point.
“That’s a teenage love,” Big Boi added.
OutKast opened their nearly two-hour, 24-song performance with “Bombs over Baghdad,” the white-hot anthem off of 2000’s “Stankonia.”
While the fast-paced speed rap seemed a little disjointed, the duo found their groove somewhere between “ATLiens” and a four-song selection from their third album, including “Skew It On the Bar-B,” “Rosa Parks,” “Da Art of Storytellin’ Part 1” and the title track, “Aquemini.”
The first major sing-along song came with “Ms. Jackson,” OutKast’s first major crossover hit, which they dedicated to “all the baby mommas” in the crowd.
Big Boi then took center stage with frequent support rapper Sleepy Brown for a three-song performance of tracks from “Speakerboxxx,”his half of the group’s 2003 double-album.
Andre 3000’s half of the same album, “The Love Below,” was notoriously spotty, a critical response reflected in the first mass exodus of OutKast’s set that accompanied his stand-alone performance of relative snoozers like, “She Lives In My Lap.”
Those who hung around were rewarded with “Hey Ya,” the most popular track from “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below.”
But the audience continued to thin as the second hour of the performance began with four songs from the group’s 1994 debut, “Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik,” which included the title song, “Hootie Hoo,” “Crumblin’ Erb” and “Player’s Ball.”
After returning to some of their bigger hits “Roses” and “So Fresh, So Clean,” Big Boi exclaimed, “The energy is so incredible Firefly!”
OutKast briefly left their own catalogue to perform their guest appearance on UGK’s “International Player’s Anthem,” before returning for the night’s finale, “The Whole World,” a song from their first greatest hits record, “Big Boi and Dre Present … Outkast.”
“Be honest with me,” Andre 3000 said between songs. “Are y’all having a good time this evening? Can we do one more?”
He then continued by offering up the motivation behind OutKast’s two-decades-long career, which has included gold recorcs, critical acclaim and a Grammy Album of the Year award in 2004.
“We don’t do this [stuff] for the black people,” he said. “We don’t do it for the white people. We don’t do it for the gay people, the straight people, the purple people or the flippy floppy people. We do this for the whole world.”