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Prince Tried to Give André 3000 Advice on the Outkast Reunion Tour

INDIO, CA - APRIL 18:  Andre 3000 of Outkast performs onstage during day 1 of the 2014 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Club on April 18, 2014 in Indio, California  (Photo by Karl Walter/Getty Images for Coachella)

Arguably the biggest live music story going into the summer was that Outkast was reuniting for a large-scale festival tour. Then they played their first show at Coachella, and all that hype was swiftly brought down to reality, with reviews being generally negative, usually pointing out that their performance felt uninspired, like they were just going through the motions. It appears André 3000 agreed with the critics. In a very frank interview with the New York Times, André Benjamin described the evening: 

“Yeah, I think people could see it at Coachella, the very first show. It was foreign. My head wasn’t there. I kind of fluffed through rehearsals. A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through.”

Then, a couple days later, Prince called Benjamin to give him advice: “He said: ‘When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.’” When Benjamin pushed back, the Purple One replied, “I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do other things. After you give them the hits, then you can do whatever.”

Benjamin told the Times that he doesn’t “actually get anything from performing” and that he did it just for his young fans: “Let me do it now ’cause these kids [in the audience], it feels good to know that they’re happy.” However, when pushed, he was able to find one positive: “I feel good in being able to look at Big Boi and say, ‘Hey, man, we did it.’”

Photo: Karl Walter/Getty Images