Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and skeletons alike flocked to the main stage at 2014 Voodoo Festival in New Orleans Friday night (Oct. 31) to see Outkast close out its reunion tour.
While the rap duo wasn’t scheduled to come on until 9:20 p.m., the costumed crowd began growing rapidly at 8:30 p.m., toward the end of Slayer’s performance. A witch’s hat blew away in the cool wind and nobody chased after it — the owner was likely one of the many people jockeying to get as close to the stage as possible.
When Andre 3000 and Big Boi did walk out, they did so with large grins and “hootie hoos” for the jam-packed audience. “Happy Halloween,” the duo told the crowd before launching into “B.O.B.”
Andre sported his signature white wig and sunglasses, with his black jumpsuit reading, “I don’t know what else to say,” and his sold-out tag dangling. Big Boi’s jacket had Stankonia (the title of the group’s 2000 album) written on the front with “Daddy Fat Sax” on the back. Organized Noize’s Sleepy Brown joined them on stage as a special guest for a handful of songs.
“I want to thank y’all for staying down with us for 20-plus years,” Andre said in between songs. “It don’t even seem that long, but we didn’t get here by talking y’all to death so we ain’t going to talk y’all to death tonight.”
The rappers were laughing and smiling at each other all night as they played the same set they’ve been performing throughout their reunion tour. “What a great way to end the year,” said Big Boi, pointing out, “Today is the 14th anniversary of Stankonia.”
And what an incredible celebration it was. One young man crowd-surfed as a Nemo and Pocahontas sat on friends’ shoulders and danced to the music. The crowd went crazy for “Ms. Jackson” and “Roses,” but also celebrated wildly for some of Outkast’s earlier songs. “You want to get in a time machine?” Big Boi asked. “We’re gonna go back to 1993, 1994,” Andre added.
Andre got the crowd involved by pulling up a few ladies for “Hey Ya” during his three-song solo set. “What are y’all for Halloween, a bunch of fine ass people?” he said before asking the crowd to repeat “Hey ya” in a string of different voices.
During Big Boi’s solo portion, he performed “The Way You Move” with Sleepy Brown, and told the audience, “Your energy is incredible tonight.”
As the night came to an end, Andre and Big Boi kept it simple. “We’ve got some good news and some bad news,” said Andre, before he and Big Boi joked that the bad news was the New Orleans Saints are winning the NFC South.
“Bad news really is we gotta go man. We gotta go home,” Andre said. “Good news is we are going to do one more song. We are the one and only Outkast. We don’t do this shit for black people, we don’t do this shit for white people. We don’t do this shit for gay people, we don’t do this shit for straight people. We do this for the whole world.”
The duo appropriately ended the evening — and their tour — with “The Whole World.” No big encore or jumping into the crowd for these two. “God bless each and every last one of you,” said Big Boi before hugging Andre and walking off of the stage. There was no mention during the evening about whether the duo would play more tour dates in the future.
And after two decades, that was that. A few crew members threw drumsticks at fans and the crowd petered out of New Orleans City Park, trampling fairy wings and glowsticks along the way on the chilly Halloween night.
It turns out that for Outkast, there was nothing else to say.