PHOTOS: OutKast, Diplo Mad Decent Block Party at Fiddler’s Green (review)By Ru Johnson | August 23rd, 2014 | 1 Comment »
“Replace your toothbrush.” Those are Andre 3000’s words of wisdom for Colorado. At OutKast‘s reunion tour this summer Andre 3000 has worn a variety of outfits with different, well, slogans. In New York, “Art or Fart.” In Washington state, “Everything is Temporary.” But for the duo’s first performance in Colorado since reuniting this year his message was one of oral hygiene. Why? We’re not sure. All we know is that Andre 3000 and Big Boi showed up to Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre on Friday to exercise their inalienable rights to rock a party.
Nearing the end of their 2014 reunion tour, Andre 3000 and Big Boi showed up to Fiddler’s and performed all their classic hits. Big Boi wore a light colored Sgt. Pepper’s style get-up complete with gold buttons. And the words “Replace Your Toothbrush” adorned Andre’s usual space-style jumpsuit.
The duo opened with “B.O.B” and closed with “The Whole World.” Everything in between was fodder for OutKast to once again reaffirm their status as one of the greatest hip-hop acts in history.
Backed by Keisha Jackson (daughter of Millie Jackson) and Joi Gilliam (you remember her from “Lick” fame), OutKast mellifluously rolled through the hits. This being one of their last tour stops, none of the kinks or awkwardness of their first Coachella show were present. They followed up “B.O.B” with “Gasoline Dreams” before getting right down to business with “ATL-iens.” Thousands of hands were in the air, regardless of one’s affinity for fish and grits and the guys couldn’t have been happier.
Though there wasn’t a lot of talking, the duo took a moment to greet the crowd and bask in the warm response before launching into “Skew It On the Bar-B” and “Rosa Parks.” The beat breakdown of the latter had everyone on their feet, dancing, clapping and cheering. By the time the first strains of “Da Art of Storytellin Part 1” blared through the speakers, a bit of the shock from seeing the two icons on stage together begin to subside in the crowd. Partygoers were rapping the lyrics verbatim, at times louder than the musicians on stage.
As they have throughout this tour, Big Boi and Andre 3000 were once again backed by a massive cube, which they entered during “Aquemini” on Friday. The sentiment here seemed to describe the vacillating decision-making around the future of OutKast at the time of the album’s creation. Vocally, the two were so present and succinct, almost renewing their vows to each other and the music in general.
Sleepy Brown emerged in a furry collared red velvet jacket, dark shades and black clothing for “SpottieOttieDopaliscious.” The horn section stole this part of the show with its laconic trumpet display and smooth movement before a brief skit that led to “Ms. Jackson.” Watching this song live was a bit anachronistic considering Andre and Erykah Badu (the song is presumably about Dre’s relationship with her mother) haven’t been together in years. Still, he took us back to that moment with incredible expression.
Their set ran about two hours long and naturally they broke ranks to perform individual sets. Big Boi was on fire for “Kryptonite” and he turned into the uncle you want to dance with at family reunions for the breakdown of “Ghetto Musick.” Sleepy Brown came out again for “The Way You Move” before Big Boi led the crowd in a chant of “Come back 3000!” He was, of course, calling his comrade to the stage but it felt as if he was using that opportunity to goad Andre back into the music world.
On “She Lives in My Lap,” Andre hit a lull, but the slinky verses and the gorgeous pitch in his voice pointed things in the right direction. There were girls shaking it like a Polaroid picture for “Hey Ya” before Daddy Fat Sax joined 3000 back on stage for “Hootie Hoo,” a historical hip-hop call and response. Though there was no smoking from the guys on stage, “Crumblin’ Herb” hit home in Colorado. They took us back to the beginning with “SoutherPlayalisticCadillacMuzik” and “Player’s Ball,” while “Elevators” reminded us about sitting on vogues. They took artful shots at women who rejected them with “Roses.”
The two stalked different sides of the stage with defiant swagger to the chorus before coming together in the middle to touch fists. After introducing their incredible band (including a super bad woman bass player) “Int’l Player’s Anthem” shook the arena so hard, if there had been a roof, it would be gone. Joi Gilliam and Keisha Jackson were positively epic in their vocal theatrics on the hook here, as the crowd gleefully sang “I choose you” back to them.
The show was coming to a close and while many voices in the audience were going horse from excitement, OutKast couldn’t have been in better form. They brought out Killer Mike for “The Whole World” and just to prove a point, Andre 3000 did push-ups during Big Boi’s entire verse. It was the perfect ending to an unbelievable show and was like one big hug from them to us.
Earlier in the evening, the block party got started in true fashion with Griz, Run the Jewels, a set from Waka Flocka and more. Mad Decent’s founder Diplo was undeniably gorgeous, fashionable and bass-heavy.
Ru Johnson is an arts and culture music writer living in Denver. You can follow her on Twitter here.
Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.