Most Anticipated Reunion: Outkast
No act on opening day was met with more anticipation than Outkast, eight years after going silent at the height of their popularity and powers. When the big moment arrived, fans were packed on the grass and stretched nearly to the second stage as opening songs "B.O.B" (a.k.a. "Bombs Over Baghdad"), "Gasoline Dreams" and "ATLiens" flowed in an excited, frantic rush of classic rhymes. Janelle Monáe turned up for a funky "Tightrope," the first and best of several guests in what has become a tradition among Coachella's epic hip-hop headliners.
In other ways, Outkast's long-awaited return to the stage didn't exactly match the energy and inspiration of Coachella peers past like Jay Z, Kanye and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, but the high points were as great as you remembered them. "The Way You Move," "Ms. Jackson" and "So Fresh, So Clean" collided muscular hip-hop and flamboyant musical flourishes. Their live band (including horns) was tight and at ease with the warmest romantic R&B grooves, but partners André 3000 and Big Boi spent a lot of time onstage in a transparent cube, as wild images of tigers and disembodied lips were flashed onto its walls. It was an intriguing theatrical prop but kept the star duo in the dark and distant from the 60,000 fans desperate to see and hear them after waiting forever-ever.
"Hey Ya" was wild and joyous, arriving near the end of their planned 90-minute set, but Outkast ran out their time before the venue's curfew. The plug was pulled, and Outkast could only promise to "See you next week, Coachella."