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Big Boi thrills crowd at Carnival concert

Big Boi, whose birth name is Anton André Patton, is one half of the hip-hop duo OutKast. (credit: Courtesy of Guillermo Gomez) Big Boi, whose birth name is Anton André Patton, is one half of the hip-hop duo OutKast. (credit: Courtesy of Guillermo Gomez) Big Boi, pictured right, played a mix of OutKast songs and songs from his solo albums, and invited members of the crowd to come up on stage to dance with him. (credit: Courtesy of Guillermo Gomez) Big Boi, pictured right, played a mix of OutKast songs and songs from his solo albums, and invited members of the crowd to come up on stage to dance with him. (credit: Courtesy of Guillermo Gomez)

With all the activities going on during Carnival, some events slip through the cracks. The Big Boi concert, brought to us by Carnegie Mellon’s Activities Board, was one event that refused to do so. AB is no stranger to pulling off some stellar concerts. Its past Carnival concert successes include performances by The New Pornographers in 2009 and The Black Keys in 2010.

For this year’s Carnival, AB kept up the momentum of past success by introducing Carnegie Mellon to Big Boi, one half of the hip hop duo known as OutKast. The concert, which was almost relocated indoors due to weather misgivings, was held on the CFA Lawn. As concertgoers assembled around the stage, Hunt Library’s multicolored lights glowed in the background, adding to the excitement and heightening anticipation of the night’s performance.

When AB introduced the opener, Brother Ali, the crowd could barely contain its enthusiasm. Students from Carnegie Mellon, Pitt, and other schools welcomed the famous albino hip hop artist as he took the stage and performed some of his more famous numbers. Brother Ali, straight off his Fresh Air Tour, is no stranger to the spotlight. Armed with a microphone and his DJ, Brother Ali set out to show the audience why his latest album is in Billboard’s Top 100. After pumping up the crowd, he exited the stage to raucous applause, greeting and hugging fans as he left.

After Brother Ali, Big Boi, the long awaited headliner, took the stage. Right away, he opened with an OutKast classic. As the lyrics to “Ms. Jackson” rang out, the crowd went crazy and started singing along. Big Boi, or Antwon André Patton — also known as Daddy Fat Sax and General Patton — kept the audience going with oldies, new hits like “Tangerine,” and politically charged numbers like “Bombs Over Baghdad.”

His onstage antics proved he was a masterful performer, combining talent and personality to win the crowd. Some, like sophomore Madeleine Kelly, were converted into fans when roommates and friends took them to the concert. Kelly, a materials science and engineering major, said her favorite part of the show was when Big Boi played “Shutterbugg.” “He was just as good live as when I was just listening to his music,” Kelly said. “I definitely think he was a hit here, especially since there were so many people not from Carnegie Mellon that attended.”

Kelly wasn’t the only one who thought the performance was powerful. “I’m in love with Big Boi and really liked the concert,” Ruari Egan, a sophomore civic engineering major, said. “I loved when he played ‘Fo Yo Sorrows’ off his new album — that’s my favorite song.” The album, Sir Luscious Left Foot… The Son of Chico Dusty, was released in July 2010.

Big Boi continued to present his album during the Carnival concert and played a good number of songs from his new album, including “Shutterbugg” — one of the most popular songs on the album — “You Ain’t No DJ,” and “Shine Blockas” to name a few. He even let a group of girls from the audience go up and dance with him onstage for two or three songs, no doubt garnering some dedicated fans in the process. This crowd-pleasing tactic, along with the pulsating lights set up on the stage and the music videos playing on the left and right of the stage, all combined to form a well-planned and impressive concert spectacular.

Every year it seems like the Carnival concert is getting bigger, badder, and better. Congratulations to the coordinators of the AB Concerts and the Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh community for making this year’s Carnival concert something special. Next year will no doubt exceed expectations as well.