Early on into OutKast’s set at OVO Fest last night, André 3000 started fibbing. “If you don’t know [OutKast] by now, you probably never will,” he told the crowd during the funk breakdown in “B.O.B.,” the first song the duo performed. It’s the kind of stage talk that sounds cool and right, but it would be such a shame if it were true that you have to dismiss it. This music won’t be lost to time. (And, anyway, all you had to do was take a look at the young faces in the crowd to understand that this set could double as education as well as entertainment.)
OVO Fest Day One With OutKast
Venue: Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Crowd: Young, draped in OVO Tour merch, with lots of visible of buttcheeks.
Setlist: "B.O.B," "Gasoline Dreams," "ATLiens," "Skew It on the Bar-B," "Rosa Parks," "Da Art of Storytellin' (Pt. 1)," "Aquemini," "Ms. Jackson," "Kryptonite," "Ghetto Musick," "The Way You Move," "Vibrate," "She Lives In My Lap," Prototype," "Hey Ya!," "Hootie Hoo," "Crumblin' Erb," "Players Ball," "Elevators (Me & You)," "Roses," "International Players Anthem (I Choose You)," "So Fresh, So Clean," "The Whole World"
Even before OutKast touched down in the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, opener YG and his DJ peppered their brief set with time traveling; YG danced and hyped up the crowd with some call-and-response action while his DJ played West Coast classics like Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” and 2Pac’s “California Love.” YG is placing himself and the stand-out songs from My Krazy Life, the best rap album of 2014, in a lineage of great, important music. “My N****,” “Left, Right,” “Bicken Back Being Bool”—the songs he had everyone shouting the words to didn’t come out of nowhere. That might sound so simple as to be not worth mentioning, but given André 3000’s comments, it bears repeating.
Above everything else, though, OutKast’s performance was fun. They have such an incredible, diverse body of work, and nearly all of it got its due. (I needed to hear “SpottieOttieDopaliscious” but it didn’t come to pass.) Big Boi, wearing a multi-colored short-sleeved button-up and shorts combo, danced and commanded the screaming, bouncing crowd like a rock star. All big shoulders and baggy knees, the boxiness of his outfit accentuated his movements like the MC enunciates his words: you don’t miss a thing.
As has been the case at earlier shows this summer, Big Boi and André often moved at opposite ends of the stage, putting lots of distance between each other. In a silver wig and black jump suit, André sometimes rapped with his back to the audience. He wandered close to the wings. You could lose track of him, especially given how much more movement his partner generated. André’s body was still: minimal rap hands, no dancing. But he spoke in between songs, grinned often behind white Ray-Bans, and brought some women in the crowd on stage for “Hey Ya.”
Both MCs took a turn performing solo, and during André’s portion he joked about tough dudes in the audience getting annoyed with his choices—“Vibrate,” “She Lives in My Lap,” “Prototype”—and wondered aloud about who invented panties. “Y’all don’t wanna hear me, y’all just wanna dance,” he quips in “Hey Ya,” and I don’t think I’ll ever hear the words the same way, now that I’ve seen André live. The lyric sums up his pose during these performances, the way he would play with the large price tag attached to his clothes like it was an indicator of whether a song played might’ve been too commercial. During the early material, it was flipped to the white side, where there was just a dollar sign. During big songs, like “So Fresh, So Clean,” it appeared red, with the word sold in all caps.
But “So Fresh, So Clean” sounded just as good as “Crumblin’ Erb,” and so everything was perfect. We heard “Elevators,” "International Player's Anthem"—complete with Bun B!— and “Da Art of Storytellin’ (Part 1),” where the stranger next to me, an older women gone off red wine, grabbed my arm and we both shouted about how it was one of the greatest songs ever. That was special. The night was special. It’s OutKast, and we’re continually lucky to have had them. To have them.
Ross Scarano is a deputy editor at Complex and even on his best days is not cooler than a polar bear's toenails. He tweets here.