Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Antawn “Big Boi” Patton was in town last night in support of one of the best albums of 2010, but when he, his DJ and hype man took the Terminal 5 stage around 9:35 they launched into a feverish medley of songs from at least a decade ago. Big Boi tore through a suite of classic Outkast tracks, barely pausing between “ATLiens,” “Rosa Parks,” “So Fresh, So Clean,” “Mrs. Jackson,” “B.O.B.” and others, much to the delight of a very young, very white and very drunk audience that seemed more familiar with Stankonia than Sir Lucious Leftfoot—I’ve honestly never seen so many fights at a hip-hop show before, not even at a raucous Alkaholiks show four years back. Last night’s set was a simple three-man show, spinning from early Outkast to recent solo material and points in between for just over an hour.
One of the most enjoyable things about Big Boi has always been his way of combining a Georgian drawl with incredibly quick delivery, an insanely smooth flow and improbable clarity, a distinctive voice that can easily be lost amidst not-so-great acoustics. Happily this only happened on a couple occasions last night, albeit at really unfortunate moments, like, during his legendary marathon second verse on “B.O.B,” where his words were reduced to a drum-like patter under the massive mix.
For the most part, though, the lyrics were front and center, and Big Boi delivered them superbly, performing about half of his incredibly deep solo debut. The George Clinton-featuring “Fo Yo Sorrows” and Andre 3000-produced “You Ain’t No DJ” proved to be the audience favorites amidst the new material, though the greatest sing-along moment, not surprisingly, was the “Mrs. Jackson” chorus—with “Elevators” a close second. Around 10:45, after performing bits and pieces from about twenty songs including an encore, and with roughly as many young female audience members on stage, Big Boi grabbed his winter jacket and Burberry scarf, and left the stage.