INDIO, California — To prove all the hype about their reunion was warranted, OutKast stormed the stage Friday night at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival with a hyper version of one of their most-frenetic tracks, “B.O.B.”
From there, everything the Atlanta hip-hop duo pulled out on their opening-night set — from the title track of 1996’s ATLiens to “Skew It on the Bar-B” and “Rosa Parks” — sounded so tight, they gave no reason to suspect they hadn’t performed together in nearly a decade.
Coachella was fans’ first chance to see Big Boi and Andre 3000 perform songs from their landmark 2003 double album, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, the best-selling album in hip-hop history, even a decade later. The duo never toured in support of the album and announced their indefinite hiatus just a few years after its release.
“It’s good to be back,” Big Boi said.
It seems producer Rico Wade’s efforts to land his cousin Future a Coachella guest spot were successful: Future performed “Same Damn Time” and “Ain’t No Way Around It” and played a new track to promote his upcoming April 22 release.
Janelle Monáe — who bounded onstage with her usual enthusiasm for her Big Boi-featuring “Tightrope” — proved she has enough swagger to play with the big boys and proclaimed, “This is my favorite music ever, and what we are seeing right here is history.”
They dipped into their individual tracks: Big Boi with his feature on Purple Ribbon All-Stars’ “Kryptonite (I’m On It)” and “Shutterbugg,” and Andre — whose often-flashy duds were toned down to a subdued dark hoodie and pinstriped overalls — for “Behold a Lady.”
The show was brought to a rousing close with a strong string of hits, including the “Ms. Jackson” singalong, “The Way You Move” and “Hey Ya.”
As 1 a.m. arrived, they welcomed Killer Mike to the stage — presumably for “The Whole World” — but it quickly became clear that the show was over when their microphones were turned off.
“They said we can’t do no more,” Andre 3000 explained, as Big Boi added: “We’ll see you next weekend.”
Marking 20 years since their debut album, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, OutKast have scheduled a string of festival dates around the globe, including Hangout (May in Gulf Shores, Alabama), Governor’s Ball (June in New York), Drake’s OVO Fest (August in Toronto) and a handful in Europe.
Although Queen Latifah, their former manager, said they’re working on new album , the duo denied that claim: “We’re just doing the tour only. Just for the fans. That’s all it is, a tour,” Big Boi said in February . “I got a solo record I’m working on, but this is the OutKast 20th-year anniversary — just a way for us to celebrate with our fans, but no album in the works.”
In addition to the solo effort, which he hopes to release by year’s end, Big Boi contributed the track “Mother of Dragons” to a “Game of Thrones”-themed mixtape, Catch the Throne, also featuring Common and Wale.
Saturday (April 12) at the Empire Polo Club, Lorde is scheduled for her first Coachella performance, alongside Pharrell, Nas, Skrillex, MGMT, Kid Cudi and Muse. Sunday’s lineup features Arcade Fire, Lana Del Rey, Disclosure and Calvin Harris.